If you want to become more authentic as you get older, say goodbye to these 7 behaviors

Striving for authenticity has been a constant pursuit throughout my lifetime, often challenged by patterns of behavior that seemed to hold me back. As it is for many of us. 

Despite my journey towards self-realization, I frequently find myself battling with old habits—from people pleasing, fear of conflict, to holding onto past grudges—each subtly hinting to let them go.

But why is it that I’m consistently wrestling with these behaviors?

Our society tends to encourage certain patterns of behavior, often pushing us into a mold that is far from our true selves. This results in an internal struggle rather than natural growth and self-discovery.

In this article, I’ll share 7 common behaviors you should bid farewell to if you wish to become more authentic as you get older.

By the end, I hope to make the point that there’s no shame in wanting to grow and evolve, just as there’s no shame in acknowledging our flaws.

Ultimately, our journey towards authenticity should stem from deep self-reflection, rather than societal expectations and pressures.

1) Let go of people pleasing

This was a significant challenge for me to overcome.

“Being nice” stemmed from the belief that my worth depended on others’ approval. But the reality is that this mindset only led to self-neglect and loss of individuality.

Let’s delve deeper.

Think about your interactions with others. You often nod in agreement, even when you hold a different viewpoint. You say “yes” to requests, even when you’re overwhelmed. You laugh at jokes that you don’t find funny.

All these actions are motivated by the fear of displeasing others.

If you’re striving for authenticity, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you can’t please everyone. You’re not a robot programmed to cater to others’ whims and fancies.

It’s important to let go of the people-pleasing behavior that stems from the fear of rejection and criticism. It doesn’t define your worth.

Your actions should reflect your true feelings and thoughts, and they are most meaningful when they align with your values, not others’ expectations. When you act authentically.

2) Stop avoiding discomfort

This may seem like an odd suggestion.

Most of us are taught to “seek comfort” and “avoid pain”. While this is commonly believed in our society, it’s not conducive to authenticity.

Instead, true growth comes from embracing discomfort. It comes from facing our fears and stepping outside our comfort zones. As my therapist once told me:

“Embrace discomfort. Don’t shy away from it, don’t run from it, and certainly don’t cower in fear of it. Discomfort is only a feeling, nothing more. Be a watcher of your feelings, observe them, but don’t let them dictate your actions. You just be a participant, and the miracle of participating is growth. As you embrace discomfort, slowly you become less afraid of it; but you are not becoming numb, you are becoming more resilient, more authentic.”

When you try to “seek comfort” all the time, you give too much power to your fears. You give up your intrinsic courage.

Now, I give less power to my comfort-seeking tendencies.

Sometimes I feel nervous about trying something new. Other times I’m anxious about confronting someone. However, I don’t avoid these feelings anymore.

3) Don’t be a slave to perfectionism

You may convince yourself that aiming for perfection is the path to success, but before long, you might find yourself trapped in the cycle of never feeling good enough.

You might even find yourself on the receiving end of self-criticism. Few self-images are strong enough to withstand that kind of constant scrutiny.

Perfectionism rears its ugly head in all aspects of life, but if you willingly put yourselves in a position to chase after an elusive ideal, you are asking for frustration and self-doubt.

Also, it’s important to ask yourself about the role of perfectionism in your life.

Perhaps you and your self-esteem are feeling bruised because you’re constantly comparing yourself to an unreachable ideal.

Often, we berate ourselves for not being perfect, as though it’s something that we should attain.

Perhaps it’s time to let go of these unrealistic expectations. They may be a sign that you’re holding yourself back from embracing your authentic self.

4) Neglecting self-care is not an option

I started this article by emphasizing the need to let go of certain behaviors.

The thing is, these behaviors also justify how we treat ourselves.

In my case, I often find myself consumed by my responsibilities. I become obsessed with ticking off tasks on my to-do list.

My intentions are good. I believe that accomplishing these tasks will lead to success and happiness.

But when I get so caught up, I can slip into the habit of thinking that my work is more important than my well-being.

I can lose touch with my needs. I become stressed and am probably not such a pleasant person to be around.

If I judged myself for my intentions, I wouldn’t question my behavior.

Instead, because I don’t focus solely on my intentions, I am more able to reflect on my actions and change how I behave. I am learning to slow down and prioritize self-care.

How you treat yourself is what matters, not just the intentions that drive your behavior.

People who constantly find themselves at the center of chaos and drama often lack these boundaries If you want to become more authentic as you get older, say goodbye to these 7 behaviors

5) Fear of conflict won’t help you

I always prided myself on being a peacemaker, always avoiding conflict at all costs.

This behavior stemmed from the belief that maintaining harmony was the most important thing.

But as I grew older, I realized this avoidance was not genuine peace, but a veneer that often masked unresolved issues and feelings.

I remember one instance where a close friend had continuously canceled our plans. I felt hurt but chose to avoid the conversation to keep the peace. However, this only led to resentment building within me, straining our friendship.

I realized then that avoiding conflict was not helping me; it was hindering my growth and authenticity.

I decided to confront my friend, and although it was uncomfortable, we managed to resolve our issues. Our friendship grew stronger because of that honest conversation.

Avoiding conflict may seem like the easier path, but it’s often just a detour from authenticity.

Embrace open and honest communication, even when it’s challenging. It’s an integral part of becoming more authentic as you get older.

6) Ditch the comparison game

In the age of social media, it’s common knowledge that comparing ourselves to others’ curated lives can lead to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction.

We see others’ highlight reels and judge our behind-the-scenes, which can distort our self-perception.

Here’s the key point:

This knowledge encourages us to reflect on our self-worth, to understand that it’s not defined by others’ achievements or possessions, but by our values and actions.

For those feeling inadequate, disconnecting from these comparisons can provide a sense of liberation. It’s a reminder that we are unique individuals, each with our own path and pace.

Ditching the comparison game encourages us to see our journey as independent of others’ and can provide a sense of authenticity and self-acceptance.

7) Holding onto past grudges won’t serve you

In navigating the journey of life, it’s inevitable that we encounter situations where we feel wronged or betrayed.

The natural response is often to hold a grudge, to harbor resentment towards those who have hurt us.

However, holding onto these grudges doesn’t punish the ones who’ve wronged us; it only restricts our own peace and happiness.

But here’s the thing:

Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting or condoning the wrongs done to us. It means choosing to free ourselves from the burden of resentment and bitterness. It’s about prioritizing our mental and emotional health over nursing old wounds.

Oddly enough, holding onto grudges can sometimes feel easier than letting go. It gives us a sense of righteous indignation, an identity of being the victim.

But in reality, this identity only shackles us to the past and obstructs our growth and authenticity.

Releasing past grudges isn’t about giving others a free pass; it’s about setting ourselves free. It’s a key step towards becoming more authentic as we get older.

Bottom line: It’s a journey of self-discovery

The complexities of human behavior and growth often weave into our personal narratives and life experiences.

One such narrative is the relationship between authenticity and letting go of certain behaviors.

This relationship, prevalent in many personal growth journeys, acts as a catalyst for maturity and self-realization, playing a significant role in our evolution.

For those seeking authenticity, these shifts in behavior might be the key factor in their journey towards self-discovery.

The process could potentially induce a sense of fulfillment and happiness when they immerse themselves in introspective activities.

Whether it’s confronting your fears, expressing your feelings, or prioritizing self-care, the underlying transformation might be enhancing your experience of life.

Each step you take towards authenticity, each behavior you bid farewell to, brings you closer to your authentic self.

As we grow older, this journey becomes less about reaching a destination and more about embracing the process.

The pursuit of authenticity isn’t always easy, but it’s a path worth traversing.

Picture of Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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