Want to Be Your Authentic Self? Get to Know Your Beliefs, Values, and Abilities

Being your true self means being present under trying circumstances, but that takes practices and a certain amount of self-knowledge. Here's what you need to know to get started.

If the only constant in life is change, as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, finding your true, bedrock self becomes a problematic idea. How do you know when you've found it? Hasn't the search for yourself changed who you are? And don't your experiences in life constantly shape you into a new person? Suffice it to say that being authentic does not mean reacting to life in easily predictable ways. So if you are looking to be yourself — indeed, your best and strongest self — it is important to understand what you believe, what you value, and what your abilities are, says Amy Cuddy.

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Self-Affirmation Doesn't Mean Talking Yourself up in a Mirror

Self-affirmation techniques are the butt of many jokes, including a famous Saturday Night Live sketch with Al Franken. But value affirmation is something different, says Harvard's Amy Cuddy.

Self-affirmation techniques are the butt of many jokes, including a famous Saturday Night Live sketch with Al Franken. But value affirmation is something different, says Harvard's Amy Cuddy. The last thing you want to do if you're looking for more self-assurance and confidence is lie to yourself (the conceit of Franken's sketch). Instead, says Cuddy, focus on your personal values: what they are, what makes them immutable, and why they're important to you.

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