Counsellor Sarah Barr looks at the pressures we put on ourselves to fit in, and gives tips on how to be happy with what makes us unique.

Image result for authentic quotesHave you ever felt it difficult to be your true self? Find it easier to fit in with what is deemed ‘normal and not to stand out? Worried about being judged or talked about?

If so, you’re not alone. We all have felt like this or feel like this.

It can be difficult to be authentic in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations. You may believe that your “real” self is not good enough or appropriate. The fear of rejection can lead you to be a person that you believe is more “acceptable”.

When we do this, we are not being authentic. We are not being true to our real self.

We are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. Whether they are celebrities, other women, Facebook friends or our neighbours. We think that they have it all or are so confident. Yet maybe they are guilty of comparing themselves. We become blind in recognising what we have and we no longer celebrate our strengths and blessings.

Here are seven reasons to stop comparing yourself to others…

1. Comparisons are unfair
2. Comparisons waste your time
3. Comparisons create low self-esteem
4. Comparisons steal your happiness
5. Comparisons evoke jealousy
6. Comparisons derail your focus
7. Comparisons do not allow you to be authentic

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Authenticity is when you are being you, the real you.

Taking off your “mask” and being completely genuine.

What can stop you from being authentic…

  1. Fear of what others think of you:

Worrying what other people think of you, mind-reading and making assumptions (without any real evidence) can get in the way of you being authentic.

2. Trying to fit and be accepted:

The fear of rejection can really drive you to do what you can to fit in and be accepted. You may people please, say ‘yes’ to everyone often not prioritising your own needs. Boundaries become blurred and assertiveness disappears. It may lead to feeling anxious or overwhelmed as you’re not meeting your own needs.

3. Trapped by others expectations:

In your personal or professional relationships, you may find that you are given unfair expectations or labels. People try to label or put people into certain categories, determined by their social status, traits, behaviours or faults. When in are out in a certain “box” such as being clumsy or independent other people may re-affirm their expectation:“you’ve always been clumsy haven’t you”. ” you’re so independent”.

Expectations of who we are, as projected by those around us, can silently re-affirm our own beliefs of who we are. When we become aware of this, we can do something about it. By stopping others determine your reality.

If it is difficult for you to be authentic and you feel you define your self-worth by comparing yourself to others, I have listed some tips and techniques below that can you help be your true self.

  •  Forgive Yourself

Start by forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Show kindness to yourself and by accepting the past and realising that you no longer need to punish yourself will help you to forgive yourself.

  • Make a Change

Commit to making a change. This is the next step, own your past mistakes and let them go. You are no longer that person, things have changed and so have you. Write a list of everything positive in your life and ask yourself “what are you grateful for?”.

  •  Create a Daily Practice

By creating a daily practice that enables you to look after your mind and body will help you practice living authentically every day. Keeping a journal, meditating, walking, eating healthily and joining a group are all ideas that may have a positive impact on your mind and body.

  • Be courageous

Be courageous to live the life you want. This type of empowerment gives you inner strength to build your self-confidence. If you are focused on being true to you, your fears will no longer be the driving force in your life.

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  • Be Self-Aware

By observing yourself; your thoughts and actions and checking in with how you are feeling will help you to become more self-aware. If you are in a bad mood ask yourself “what has just happened to change my mood; did someone say something?did I hear something? or have I seen something?”

Leaning to be more self-aware will allow you to recognise when you are feeling uncomfortable and understand why you are feeling uncomfortable.

  •  Challenge your Self-Talk

One of the most common blocks to authenticity t is the temptation to focus on the other person in a conversation, and talk about their actions and feelings.This is a way of controlling the conversation, and protecting yourself.

To be authentic it is important to be aware of how you talk to yourself. Using ‘I’ more such as “I feel sad” or “I notice that I feel tense”.

  • Find Genuine Connections

If you find it difficult to be genuine, one option is to join a group or class in something you have an interest in. This enables you to meet like-minded people and make some genuine connections.

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Remember your uniqueness is your power.

For any further information on how counselling can help you live a more authentic life, I can be contacted on 098 4477867 or via my Facebook page:

Take Care ~ Sarah.