Cultivating Authenticity: Why It Feels So Unnatural to Be Real

autenticity on social media

You would think that being yourself would be the easiest thing in the world – after all, it’s you!

We, however, live in the 21st century, a world of social media and highlight reels. As we search through our news feeds, we often see our colleagues and friends on vacation, getting a new job, landing a big new client; but no one is talking about the REAL struggles of day to day life. Interestingly, but perhaps maybe not surprisingly, a recent study from Britain found that 75% of social media users exaggerate their victories on social media. In other words, it’s all a lie.

But why?

We are addicted to the “likes”.  We usually link the word “addiction” to substances, but the truth is that many things can cause the same reactions in our brain as drugs including caffeine, sugar and – you guessed it – social media likes. “It’s a reward cycle. You get a squirt of dopamine every time you get a like or a positive response on social media,” says psychologist Emma Kenny.  In fact, many studies have concluded that this addictive behaviour is harmful to our mental health.

This need for approval is driving all of our social interactions, keeping us striving for more digital likes and preventing us from showing the whole picture.

The problem is, the weight of constant approval can be too much. You may start to feel as though you are living a lie.

So how do you fix it? Do you just dump all of your personal problems on your Facebook page and call it a day? No.

The art becomes finding the perfect balance between over-sharing and highlight-reeling.

Follow these tips to find the authentic you on social media

Start Small

Most entrepreneurs work long hours – so while your highlight reel is showing your vacation, your authentic social media presence will show a late night or two. Choose a small piece of your life that isn’t necessarily pretty to begin breaking down the mask.

Hold Back

Authenticity is about letting people see the real you, right? So doesn’t this seem counterproductive? No! You may need to break the dopamine cycle to even have a chance here. The next time something good happens, just tell your friends and family. Keep something for yourself.

Trust Yourself

Learn your boundaries when it comes to sharing both your struggles and successes. How do you feel when you are more open and honest about your accomplishments and struggles? Take your starting point and continue to share more of your real life until you no longer feel comfortable. Only you know yourself and your audience at that level – you are the best judge.

Just think, if we all worked to discover our authentic selves, we would no longer be comparing our lives to a fantasy.

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