Do you know how to be your authentic self? We’ve all heard the same piece of advice when feeling nervous about a big date or an important job interview: just be yourself.

It makes sense on the face of it. If you want someone to get to know who you are and what you can bring to a relationship or job role, you should show them your authentic self without any pretense or secrecy. But this is often easier said than done. We are guilty of caring too much about what other people think of us and change or hide aspects of our personality to fit in. And it happens all the time.

Have you ever pretended to have watched a popular TV show or worn an item of clothing that isn’t really you just because all your friends are? Do you find yourself toning down your personality in the office or refraining from voicing opinions that might be considered unpopular? If so then you’re not being true to yourself. No one should feel like they have to be anything other than who they really are, and hiding your true self only limits your freedom to enjoy life to the fullest

Learning to be your authentic self takes a lot of work. You may feel self-conscious and nervous at times but it will pay off in the end. To get you started on your journey of self-discovery, here are a few ways to be your authentic self.

Discover who you are

It’s impossible to be yourself if you don’t even know who you are. For this reason, it’s essential that you take some time to delve into your thoughts, feelings, passions, dreams, and goals. Defining who you are will make it easier to live your best life and achieve everything you want. You can do this through personality tests, mindfulness meditation, solo travelling, exercise, long walks, or getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. The world is full of limitless possibilities, so make an effort to have as many new experiences as possible to work out what makes you tick.

Accept your flaws

Nobody on the face of the earth is perfect. Even those stunning Instagram influencers whose lives look so perfect will have all kinds of problems and imperfections in their lives behind the smokescreens and filters. It’s natural to dislike your flaws, but you shouldn’t let them define you. Rather than fixating on your imperfect teeth or the mistakes you’ve made in the past, focus on your strengths instead. And above all, stop comparing yourself to others.

Find your style

When it comes to your look, you should never pander to other people. It doesn’t matter what your best friends are wearing or what the latest fashion trends say; follow your own style. From clothes to makeup to hair extensions, only wear what really makes you happy when you look in the mirror. Even if your look doesn’t fit in with everyone else around you, stop caring what other people think and embrace your individuality.