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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

How to Find Your Authentic Self

Back in September, I had a wonderful time speaking on a panel at British Beauty Week. The topic of conversation was confidence, and a happy hour was spent ruminating on where we find confidence and the context of that in modern society.

I adore a Q&A session at the end of events like these, and we got a wonderful question from an audience member; How do you find your authentic self when you are struggling?

It's a great question that many of us ponder upon, and my answer has helped me in the past, and I think would help you if you have ever wondered about finding your authentic self.

Authenticity can almost feel like a myth, how do we embody something we cannot quantify? It's something that I thought long and hard about when I was writing my book - more on that next year - but when our sense of self is so closely linked to authenticity, how do we feel at home in our bodies without it?

The first port of call to find the elusive authenticity so many of us crave would be to look at your childhood. Not in a soul searching tearful therapy way, but more a reflection upon the things that you deeply loved as a child. These are the things that many of us went on to hide from our peers as we feared we would be judged or perceived differently if we shared our passions openly.

The things that you loved, that filled you with joy and passion, that many of us went on to hide from society, that is who you are as a person. I remember loving high heels and jewellery at four or five years old - something that I cannot think I ever shared with anyone but the closest family, oh and there were my assertions that my future career would be as a ‘lady truck driver’!!!

Now I look back and I begin to see the origins of my unique expression of gender forming. Without the social filters we learn as we age, our childhood shows us true desire. These loves, enjoyments and passions may fade as we age, but they can still be used as a reference to remind ourselves of who we are.

Leaning into the things we may have hidden from the world, like long-forgotten hobbies, music, tv, books or films we loved will not only access some tender memories, but it will also act as an emotional battery charge. This will replenish some of your sense of self.

This may not create authenticity straight away, but it will set you on the right path, and help you on the journey of finding your authentic self!

Shot by Rachel Pechey


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