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Be Who You Really Are

How to Increase Authenticity and Authentic Self-Expression

Because you can’t express your authentic feelings to others until you can identify them, engage in the fundamental mindfulness practice of recognizing your thoughts, sensations, and emotions. Don’t analyze them; simply acknowledge and honor them.

  • Take risks in sharing your authenticity with others. You will quickly learn that some people feel threatened by true authenticity—and you can cross them off your list of those with whom you can share your feelings. Others will open to you in very deep ways.
  • Practice assertively asking for what you want. If you’re in touch with your true feelings, you’ll be seen as assertive and likely to get what you request. But if you try to express yourself before you know what you truly feel, you may be seen as aggressive, abrasive, or ineffectual, and will be less likely to get what you request—and even if you get what you request, it could come at the expense of relationships.
  • Notice if you sometimes find yourself being nice to someone when you don’t feel a genuine positive connection. This behavior is inauthentic and disrespectful to both of you.
  • Living with authenticity means taking actions that are in harmony with your values. In this sense, the actions you take are expressions of your authentic self.
  • Whenever you are ambivalent about doing something, ask yourself how you will feel if you do it versus if you don’t do it; let that be your guide.
  • Practice saying “no” whenever it is genuine and appropriate.
  • Ask yourself throughout the day: How authentic am I in this moment? What am I feeling and needing in this moment? Am I being completely authentic in my interpersonal communications in this moment? Am I being nice or am I being real?
  • Find a good psychotherapy group to join. When facilitated by an experienced and skilled group psychotherapist, it will provide an exceptional opportunity to improve authentic self-expression. In fact, it is probably the very best way to improve authenticity as well as self-expression.
  • Set the intention to stay in touch with feeling states and authentically express yourself from those authentic states.
  • Hang out with people who are very authentic and accepting. That experience will engender those qualities in you.
  • Think of an instance in your life where you authentically expressed yourself to someone and were respected by the other person. Intentionally recall that incident throughout the day, every day. Doing so will give you confidence to practice that behavior again.
  • Look for every opportunity to share how you feel about something with someone you trust. Take risks in expressing to people close to you what you like and don’t like regarding their behavior.

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Be Who You Really Are

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Berkelhammer is a retired mind-body medicine psychologist. He writes about mindfulness-based practices with a unique emphasis on optimization of wellbeing and health. Dr. Berkelhammer also lectures at San Francisco State University and UC San Francisco, and is currently teaching a class in Marin County through College of Marin. He is the author of the book "In Your Own Hands; New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions".

See his extensive website:

In Your Own Hands: Mindfulness-Based Practices to Optimize Wellbeing - College of Marin Community Education

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APA Reference
Berkelhammer, D. (2016). Be Who You Really Are. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Dec 2016
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