Embracing your authentic self: embodying confidence and owning your story

In a world filled with expectations and social norms, it can be challenging for women to embrace their authentic selves fully. Especially older women, who have been socialized to play far too small. However, the journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance is a powerful one that leads to profound personal growth and empowerment.

Shelley Audette Settles

8/25/20233 min read

Confidence and being comfortable with your uniqueness
Confidence and being comfortable with your uniqueness

Embracing your authentic self means celebrating your uniqueness, owning your life story, and cultivating unshakable confidence. Let's explore how women can embark on this transformative path and unleash the true essence of who they are.

1. Celebrate your uniqueness

Each woman is a unique individual, with her own set of talents, experiences, and perspectives. Don't compare yourself to others or try to fit into social molds. Instead, recognize your individuality as a strength and a gift that sets you apart. Your uniqueness is what makes you extraordinary.

2. Honor your Journey

Owning your story means acknowledging your life's journey, including both triumphs and challenges. Every experience has shaped you into the person you are today. Embrace your past with compassion, recognizing that it has contributed to your growth and resilience. Your life story is a testament to your strength and the hurdles you've overcome.

3. Cultivate Self-compassion

As you embrace your authentic self, practice self-compassion. Be kind and understanding to yourself just as you would be to a dear friend. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes and faces obstacles; It's all part of being human treat yourself with love and empathy, knowing that you deserve acceptance and forgiveness.

4. Unleash your True Voice

Let go of the fear of judgment and embrace your vulnerability. Your voice matters, and your experiences hold the potential to inspire and uplift others. Embrace the power of your voice and share your story with confidence. You are the only one who can.

5. Embrace Imperfections

Perfection is an illusion, and striving for it can be exhausting and disheartening. Embrace your imperfections as part of what makes you real and relatable. Embracing imperfections also allows you to show up authentically and connect with others on a deeper level. It's a beautiful reminder that no one has it all together, and that's okay.

Having said this, remember that the real you, your spiritual essence, is perfect, always has been, and always will be. Any imperfections that exist appear only in our learned behaviors, which can be improved.

6. Set Boundaries

Recognize your limits and communicate them assertively. Setting boundaries is an act of self-respect, and it protects your emotional well-being. By setting boundaries you create space for your true self to flourish without compromising your values and needs.

7. Practice Self-discovery

Self-discovery is an ongoing journey that allows you to explore your passions, interests and values. Take time for introspection aside from ego. Engage in activities that light up your soul and bring you joy. As you learn more about yourself you'll strengthen the connection with your authentic self.

8. Embrace Positive Affirmations

Embodying confidence begins with the way you carry yourself and talk to yourself. Listen to the self-talk script that runs 24/7 in your mind. Are you being kind? Or do you blame and criticize yourself? Become aware and catch yourself in the act of being negative. Never let yourself complete a negative statement about yourself. Flip it to something positive. These positive affirmations began to rewire your mindset and boost your self-confidence. Celebrate your strengths and encourage yourself just like you would a true loved one.

9. Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Surround yourself with people who love you and celebrate your authenticity. They will uplift your spirit. Seek out a supportive community that encourages you to be true to yourself. This will keep you encouraged and provide the validation you crave. If you need to, ‘rent a friend’ in a mentor or coach, a good one is worth gold to you.

10. Embrace Growth and Change

The spirit within you is always for expansion and growth. Embracing your authentic self is not a one-time event; It's an ongoing process. Allow yourself the freedom to evolve without judgment. Remember, when we are not actively growing, we feel stuck and we begin the decaying and contracting process.

I would argue that growth and change, as well as expressing your authentic self, is even more important for women 40 and older. That's because so many of us have begun to believe the lie that we are too old or ‘too something’ to live the way we want.

Some of us have pushed down our aspirations for so long that we no longer connect to our dreams anymore. We think we are fulfilled and just as happy as can be expected, but that’s not true. I know from seeing transformations in myself and in my clients that there is so much more available to us if we would only be open.

It’s not too late to reconnect with what makes your heart sing. And after years of meeting everyone else's needs, this is your time to stretch your wings and follow the dreams you've been hiding in your heart.