Let me ask you a question: have you ever faked it to fit in?
On your social media or in real life, have you ever pretended to be something you’re not?
Has this faking instantly made you feel a little shoddy – or a lot unworthy – but you just couldn’t help yourself; the pressure to do so was too immense?
I think there’s way too much pressure on us these days to be something that we’re not.
Pressure from the internet and press, pressure from our peers and social media, to be air-brushed, highly edited versions of ourselves.
But we’re chasing a perfection that’s impossible to achieve.
It was this pressure that led me to write my non-fiction book, True Face.
I wanted it to be an antidote to the perfection police; a rallying call to ‘imperfectionists’ everywhere.
True Face has just been published in America and to celebrate I thought I’d create this handy five-step guide to rediscovering the true you.
Take some time when you won’t be interrupted and complete the exercises below…
STEP ONE: FIND A ‘TRUE YOU’ PICTURE
Search through your old photos for a picture of yourself looking happy and carefree; a picture that hasn’t been carefully filtered or posed. A picture where you are unguarded and at ease. Take some time to study the photo for signs of your true self.
This is my TRUE YOU picture. I picked it because it reminded me of how I used to be before I cared so much about what others thought of me. How I would spend hours outside, having adventures with my friends or in my imagination. It reminded me of how happy I feel when I’m in nature. And how free I used to feel, swinging high into the air, or when I was playing in the woods just behind me.
STEP TWO: WHAT DID THE TRUE YOU LOVE TO DO?
Next, I want you to take a trip back in time to when you were a young kid and think about all the things you loved to do. It could be that if, like me, you chose a childhood pic for the previous step, it will remind you of some of those things. Take some more time to delve back into your memories.
What did you love to play? Where did you love to go? Who did you love to be with? What did you dream of being when you grew up?
Use these questions to search for clues. Then ask yourself, which of these things you still love to do – or would love to do? Our passions are often planted inside of us early on, but sometimes we can lose sight of them as we get older and life gets in the way. Make a list of all the childhood passions that still light you up. These are all indicators of the real you.
STEP THREE: TAKE OFF YOUR MASK
I called my book True Face because so often fear can cause us to hide behind masks. In order to take off our masks we have to confront our fears. What does your inner voice of fear like to tell you? How does it hold you back? Take some time to compile a list of your fears when it comes to showing your true self. Fears that you aren’t good enough or clever enough or attractive enough or rich enough or enough enough. Know that you aren’t alone in having these fears. Everyone has them. The key is to learn how to ignore them. When you’ve written your list, go through and challenge each of them.
Ask yourself: is this absolutely, categorically true?
Then ask yourself what you would say to your best friend if she or he came to you saying the same thing about themselves ie; ‘I’m not good enough’. Decide to become your own best friend and reassure yourself in a similar way. By challenging your self doubts and fears it becomes a lot easier to take down your mask.
STEP FOUR: DISCOVER YOUR STAR QUALITIES
This next exercise is a great way to boost your confidence and remind yourself who you truly are and what you’re capable of. Write a list of ten things that you’re proud of achieving. These could be anything from academic or work achievements to something more personal, like being proud of being a good friend or family member or being proud of getting through a really tough time.
When you’ve written your list, make another list of all the qualities you needed in order to achieve each thing. So, if you’re proud of passing an exam the qualities you needed could include, intelligence, determination, discipline, creativity. Or if you’re proud of surviving being bullied the qualities could be bravery, courage, strength, hope. Once you’ve gone through all ten things study your new list. These are your star qualities – a reminder to have belief in yourself. Your true self.
STEP FIVE: CREATE A VISION FOR THE TRUE YOU
Once you’ve rediscovered the true you use your findings to create a vision for your future. How can you use the clues you’ve excavated to discover your true calling? How can you set some goals and build a life that feels more authentic and in keeping with what’s truly important to you? How can you play to your strengths and overcome your weaknesses? Use your photo and the exercises to guide you. And above all, enjoy the freedom authenticity brings you!
All of the exercises above are taken from my book True Face, which is out in America now.
“An important and inspirational book.” The Bookseller
“Inspiring, empowering and ultimately freeing. An incredibly important book.” Once upon a Bookcase
“A brilliant concept … I felt like a more confident, honest version of myself after I’d finished.” Teen Book Hoots
“Curham is a lovely writer who can make the obvious seem fresh and the negative manageable.” The Debrief
American readers, find out more and order a copy here.
UK readers, find out more and order a copy here.