What does it mean to be true to yourself? This phrase is tossed around in conversations about authenticity. But what does it actually mean?
A common marital vow is, "I will be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life."
It's a little more straightforward when we think about our relationships to other people, but not so obvious in a relationship with self.
But you do have a relationship with yourself and it does matter.
You have thoughts about yourself. You make commitments to do things. When you don't honor those commitments, that relationship (and therefore your confidence) suffers just like any relationship would if you got stood up for an appointment.
So it's important to be patient and compassionate with yourself. It's helpful to speak kindly to yourself in your head. And be true to the person you are trying to become.
You've heard the phrase, "fake it until you make it." This assumes that acting in a way you normally don't is being fake. Unless you are lying about your circumstances, I don't see it that way at all. Acting the way you want to be is how you practice being true to yourself.
You can choose to be true to your future self or past self. Being true to your past self is believing that you are inherently flawed or unskilled because of a mistake you've made. You let past actions define you. This gives birth to shame because it assumes that there is something wrong with you that is inherent to who you are.
But you know what makes anything become natural and eventually inherent? Practice. "Faking it until you make it" is really just practicing being your future self, until you become that person. And that's real empowering authenticity. You get to choose who you want to be and be true to yourself by aligning your actions with that decision.