5 Reasons Why Many Struggle To Remain True To Themselves | Vietcetera
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Jul 21, 2023
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5 Reasons Why Many Struggle To Remain True To Themselves

Living authentically to oneself is not as simple as flipping a switch, nor does it guarantee a lifelong continuation of the same state.
5 Reasons Why Many Struggle To Remain True To Themselves

Source: John Diez/Pexels

There’s a good chance everyone has heard the phrase “live true to yourself” or “stay authentic to who you are” at least once. This topic has captivated my interest from an early age, but candidly speaking, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-twenties that I truly started to comprehend what it means to “live authentically.” And even now, despite having a better understanding of myself and aligning my life more closely with my desires, I find that I can’t always stay true to my inner self.

So, why is living authentically such a challenging endeavor?

Because, at times, we don’t fully understand who we are or what we want

During my school days, there was a class monitor who always inspired a sense of awe in me. She radiated the confidence of someone who knew what she was doing in the future. She often wrote something motivational in yearbooks or greeting cards, like “Always stay true to yourself.”

I felt adrift. My path seemed blurry and ill-defined especially compared to her unwavering certainty. This discrepancy induced feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. The encouragement to “live true to yourself felt more burdensome than empowering advice.”

If I were to give some advice to my younger self, I’d gently console her, “Chi, start by discovering who you are before you set foot on the path that’s truly meant for you.”

However, sometimes the opposite happens. You may understand who you are by following an undefined direction - the only thing you have and believe to be right at the time. This is when you journey through the fog, perceiving just a feeble glimmer of light in the distance, but still deciding to brave the unknown, to realize that life isn’t always a stark contrast of black and white.

Embrace the stumbles and falls to test the initial concept of “rightness” you hold, and gradually reshape yourself into a version that satisfies you.

Because we are social beings

To find our true selves, we need the presence of others. We require diverse experiences and encounters with contrasting perspectives, allowing us to slowly sift through and identify what truly resonates with our core being.

However, there are times when we find ourselves lost amid a labyrinth of diverse viewpoints. As everyone seeks to impact others, we passively soak up these influences and change constantly to the point that you have to question yourself, “Who am I?”

Inevitably, we are shaped by the impact of others on our lifestyles and thinking. Therefore, it’s vital to cultivate critical thinking - the ability to question the essence of things and events.

There might have been instances when you challenged your parents’ advice, only to realize later that their guidance wasn’t entirely wrong. However, your past doubts about the validity of their words don’t render your queries meaningless. The mere act of questioning reinforces your confidence in choosing a self-version that satisfies you in the present.

Because confronting ourselves instills fear

As humans, we all experience moments of envy, jealousy, and feelings of weakness. However, not everyone is brave enough to face these hard truths head-on. Perhaps it’s because each person carries their version of reality. Many choose to adopt a sugar-coated narrative to navigate through life more comfortably.

However, if we decide to live true to ourselves, the unavoidable challenge is to shatter these protective layers, accepting the intricate complexity of human nature and the world that surrounds us.

Because you haven’t yet discovered a community of like-minded individuals

I’ve expressed many times that one of the reasons I initiated blogging and podcasting was to share my thoughts with others. I deeply understand how detrimental the feeling of “seemingly being the only one...” can be to one’s mental well-being.

After blogging for a while, I realized it wasn’t just a few people, but many who shared my thinking and mindset. The Present Writer community thus gradually expanded, evolving into a safe harbor for numerous young individuals to voice their personal dilemmas.

With the advent of the internet, if you’re truly in pursuit, I am confident that you can at least find one group, or even just one person who has addressed your issues.

In the past, when I grappled with psychological concerns, I didn’t have the confidence to voice my thoughts to those around me, so I sought advice from a professional. We discussed many things, including my sensation of feeling different from others. She was taken aback by my sharings and informed me that I was the third person to express such feelings to her that day. And, of course, that day was not the only instance she had encountered such sentiments.

My feelings of difference, which felt significant to me, were, to her, an everyday occurrence. Everyone feels distinct until they venture out and discover their community. It’s important to note that a person can be a part of multiple different communities.

If you haven’t yet discovered your community, just try talking to someone. They might connect you with the right people, which thus makes you feel more confident to live true to yourself.

Because you haven’t yet tasted the sweetness of authenticity

When shrouded in darkness for a prolonged period, one’s eyes can forget the comforting embrace of light. If you have never experienced the joy of being true to yourself, it may be challenging to comprehend the motivations of those who have, and it might feel even more difficult to reach a similar state of mind.

However, living true to yourself isn’t like flipping a switch and doesn’t guarantee a lifelong continuation of the same state. As the world keeps spinning and life persistently evolves, you’re bound to face obstacles that prompt you to reevaluate and question, “What is it that I genuinely desire?”

But having tasted the sweetness of authenticity, you’ll find it easier to revisit and seek that feeling. You won’t lose yourself for extended periods on unlit paths, for you understand how dazzling the light of self-liberation can be.