As human beings, we all have the tendency to present a version of ourselves to the world that may not always align with who we truly are. Here is where the concept of the actual self comes into play. The actual self examples refers to the real version of ourselves, the one that may not always be visible to others. It is the self that we may keep hidden due to fear of rejection, shame, or societal norms. However, embracing and accepting our actual selves can lead to a more fulfilling and authentic life.
Understanding who we are as individuals can be a challenging task, but it is an essential step in personal growth and development. The journey of self-discovery can be a long and winding road, but it is an opportunity to gain insight into our true selves, including our strengths and weaknesses.
This article explores what it means to connect with your authentic self and provides some tips for peeling back the layers to reveal who you really are. The journey may not always be easy, but discovering your true self is worth the effort. After all, you can’t become your best self until you know who that is. We help you by providing some ‘Actual Self Examples’ to make your journey a little bit easier.
So find a quiet place, turn your phone off, and ask yourself: “What does your true self really look like? You might be surprised by the answer.
Table of Contents
What is Your Actual Self vs Your Ideal Self
Your true self is who you really are your core values, beliefs, and personality. Your ideal self is who you aspire to be; it’s the image you have of your best self. The closer these two selves are, the happier and more authentic you’ll feel.
The gap between your true and ideal selves often comes from:
- Negative self-talk. The voice inside your head can be cruel, constantly criticizing you for your flaws and imperfections. But you are so much more than your perceived faults. Focus on your good qualities and all the things you like about yourself.
- Unrealistic expectations. Maybe you think you need to be perfect or always pleasing others to be worthy of love. The truth is, you’re enough as you are. Learn to accept yourself, flaws, and all.
- Lack of self-awareness. Spend time reflecting on what really matters to you and makes you feel alive. Pursue hobbies and interests that align with your values. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are.
- Fear of judgment. Do you feel pressure to act a certain way to gain others’ approval? Give yourself permission to be authentic. Those who truly care about you will respect you for it.
The more you practice self-love and acceptance, the closer you’ll get to becoming your true self. Make choices that honor your core values and needs. Do small things each day that boost your confidence from within. Learn to tune out self-doubt and focus on your inherent worth. With time and effort, you can achieve self-actualization and become your ideal self.
Actual Self Examples
The journey to your true self is challenging but rewarding. As the masks fall away, you’ll start to see your authentic identity emerge. And you’ll find that your real self is more than enough.
1. Removing the Masks You Wear
To find your true self, you have to take off the masks you wear for others. We all put on an act to some degree. Maybe at work, you have to be super professional; at home, you’re the peacekeeper; and with friends, you’re the comedian. But who are you really?
Start by identifying the different roles you play. Make a list of the masks you wear in various areas of your life. Then, think about which parts of those personas feel most authentic to who you are. Your true self is probably a blend of these different roles.
Next, examine what drains your energy and passion. The things that exhaust you are often tied to the masks you put on for others. Make an effort to limit or avoid these energy-sucking activities when you can. Spend more time on the things that ignite your spirit.
Also, listen to your inner voice. That whisper inside knows the truth about who you are. Pay attention to what it’s trying to tell you. It may be guiding you toward new opportunities to express your authentic self.
Finally, accept yourself. Learn to appreciate who you are, quirks, imperfections, and all.
2. Loving yourself for who you are
To truly love yourself, you need to accept who you are, flaws, and all. This means embracing your true self, not an idealized version of who you think you should be.
Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Everyone stumbles and makes poor choices at some point. The healthiest thing you can do is accept that you’re imperfect, forgive yourself, and move on. Let go of feelings of guilt or regret over things you cannot change. Make peace with your past so you can live fully in the present.
3. Appreciating Your Uniqueness
No one else is exactly like you. You have a unique set of experiences, talents, perspectives, and quirks that make you, well, you. Learn to appreciate what makes you different rather than compare yourself to others. Focus on developing your natural gifts and the qualities that make you uniquely you.
4. Surrounding Yourself With People Who Love You
Spend less time with people who criticize you or make you feel like you need to change to win their approval. Instead, nurture relationships with people who love and accept you as you are. Their positivity and support can help strengthen your own self-love and confidence from the inside out.
5. Practicing self-care
Make sure to schedule time for yourself. Do things that you personally find meaningful and fulfilling. Your authentic self needs nurturing through adequate sleep, healthy food, exercise, and downtime. When you feel rested, balanced, and recharged, it’s easier to gain perspective on what matters to you.
6. Practicing self-acceptance and kindness
Practicing self-acceptance and kindness is key to developing a healthy self-image. When you accept yourself as you are, you can build confidence from a place of truth rather than seeking validation from external sources.
7. Being gentle with yourself
Speak to yourself with compassion. Notice negative self-talk and try to reframe it more kindly. For example, instead of “I’m so stupid for making that mistake,” try “I’m human, and humans make mistakes. I’ll learn from this and do better next time.” Give yourself the same caring support you’d offer a close friend.
8. Focusing on your strengths
Make a list of your best qualities, talents, and accomplishments. Refer to it when you’re feeling down to remind yourself of the good in you. Play to your strengths and pursue activities that make the most of your natural abilities. Stop comparing yourself to others who seem to have it all together. They have weaknesses and insecurities too, even if they are not apparent.
9. Accept imperfections.
Learn to appreciate yourself, flaws, and all. No one is perfect, so don’t demand perfection from yourself. Your worth isn’t defined by a lack of flaws or mistakes but by your inherent value as a human being. Focus on progress over perfection. As long as you’re learning and improving, you’re doing great.
Be patient with yourself and maintain a positive self-image by speaking to yourself with compassion, acknowledging your strengths, taking good care of yourself, and accepting your imperfections.
10. Embracing Your Authenticity
To embrace your authentic self, you first need to identify what that looks like. Your true self is the person you are at your core—your values, priorities, interests, and personality traits. It’s who you are when no one is watching and all pretense is stripped away.
11. Look Within
The answers lie within you, not on social media or in the opinions of others. Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or journaling. What are your core values? What excites or interests you? What do you care most about? How do you act when you’re alone? These clues will help reveal your authentic self.
12. Don’t seek approval.
Stop worrying so much about what others think of you. Their opinions do not define you. Do not let the desire for approval dictate how you live your life or the choices you make. Instead, focus on living in alignment with your values and priorities.
13. Being genuine
In your interactions and relationships, be open and honest. Share your actual thoughts and feelings, not what you think others want to hear. Say no when you need to. Set boundaries to protect your time and energy. Do small things each day that feeds your soul. All of this helps strengthen your connection to your authentic self.
Loving yourself is a journey, not a destination. But by accepting your true self, surrounding yourself with a strong support system, and making self-care a priority, you’ll be well on your way to becoming your own best friend. But by looking within, rejecting external approval, being genuine in your daily life, and practicing self-care, you’ll find your true self emerging more and more. Stay committed to this process of self-discovery, and learn to fully accept yourself for who you are.
- Actual Self by Cristina Maroiu & Laurențiu P. Maricuțoiu published in Springer Link (https://link.springer.com/)
- The Effect of Self-Discrepancy on Online Behavior: A Literature Review by Chuan Hu1, Rui Cao1, Jiao Huang2* and Ying Wei1 –part of the Research Topic – Perspectives in Human-Media Interaction 2022 published in Frontiers
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