Communicating authentic self
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By Laura Hearn, Director of Marketing and Communications, Veritage International


Communicating your authentic self is essential to experiencing a fulfilling and meaningful life, as well as addressing universal human needs. However, many of us use counterproductive strategies in the pursuit of love, connection, and certainty about our futures. Everyone wants to feel a sense of inclusion and to meet the expectations of their peers or colleagues. When fear convinces us there’s more to lose by revealing our authentic self, it becomes easier, and even natural, to suppress our genuine thoughts, feelings, and personality.

While it may seem like a reliable method of safeguarding relationships, careers, or status, concealing our true selves can lead to consequences and repercussions. Friends, family, and colleagues may never genuinely know who we are as people, impacting our heartfelt desire to contribute and give back. Operating behind a protective facade also limits our ability to engage others openly and honestly, ultimately denying us the chance to learn from our experiences and negatively affecting efforts to grow our skills, friendships, businesses, or assets.

Authenticity comes from recognising your core values and staying true to them, especially when faced with external challenges or expectations. Defining authenticity can be difficult due to the wonderful and unique differences in everyone, but when you communicate directly and transparently, sharing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, you project your authentic self. This, in turn, demonstrates that you respect your identity and are unafraid to extend that same respect to others, fully accepting both the consequences and rewards that come from exchanges born from profound honesty.

Know who you are
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Here are Five Ways to Communicate Your Authentic Self:

1. Know who you are and what you stand for

Principles represent the foundational values that govern your actions and define your personal brand. Identifying these deeply held morals and beliefs requires honest self-reflection. Your principles are not what you think they should be, but what they truly are. Core values such as compassion, courage, honesty, generosity, creativity, and perseverance establish what’s important to you – both personally and in a business.

Whether it’s the conduct of a single individual or the activities of a multinational conglomerate, actions aligned with a set of principled standards show authenticity and integrity. Even in the face of challenges or opposition, knowing who you are and what you stand for not only conveys that you are trustworthy but also exemplifies why. This can be extremely difficult for “avoiders” – individuals who elude difficult situations, speaking up, and making decisions.


2. Be brave to speak your truth

Everyone wants to feel like their opinions are acknowledged and that they are genuinely valued for who they are as a person. For “people pleasers”, the desire to agree with everyone, no matter the cost, can mean giving up the value they bring as unique individuals for the return of attention or acknowledgement. Some people will avoid difficult situations altogether, withholding their truth out of fear of being judged or upsetting others. Avoiding opportunities to express yourself can not only lead to a lack of meaningful engagement but also trigger other behavioural patterns of withdrawal aimed at avoiding conflict.

To be fully seen and heard in both personal and professional contexts, you must be willing to speak your truth and accept the natural consequences of being recognised for who you are. Although this requires courage and practice, the rewards are authenticity, empowerment, and freedom.


Set clear boundaries
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3. Have clear emotional boundaries

The ability to set boundaries is a crucial social skill and essential to protecting your emotional well-being. Healthy boundaries define the limits you place on your time, emotions, body, and energy, reflecting your requirements to stay resilient, confident, and content. They also provide a sense of agency over yourself, acting as personal borders that protect you from being taken advantage of. Individuals who have an overwhelming need to rescue others and be everything to everybody benefit greatly from the transformative and regenerative effect of maintaining emotional boundaries.

While emotional boundaries can be based on and influenced by many factors, including culture, life experiences, and family dynamics, your instincts are the best guide you have in determining the limits that suit you best. Effective communication is key to expressing your boundaries, and it should always be clear and consistent. Many struggle with this, often fearing that any personal request will come across as demanding or confrontational. However, recognising when something isn’t healthy for you, and having the confidence to protect yourself, is vital to communicating your authentic self.


4. Feel comfortable saying “No”

Many people struggle to say “no” to personal commitments and professional requests, regardless of how much they don’t want to take part. However, while saying “no” can often feel uncomfortable or unnatural, it’s a crucial skill that can help you to focus on and prioritise what truly matters to you. Although the idea of disappointing a friend or colleague can be unpleasant, saying “yes” to something you don’t have the capacity for will benefit no one, including yourself. For individuals who have made playing “the victim” a dominant and even comforting part of their identity, learning how to say “no” can mean fostering a whole new level of respect for themselves, as well as from others.

When struggling with saying “no” in personal or professional settings, it’s important to remember that it is acceptable to prioritise self-care by passing on opportunities. Saying “no” not only supports your ability to create space in your schedule, and to rest and recharge – it also allows you to undertake activities that align with your current goals.


Meaningful engagement
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5. Be honest with yourself about your needs and wants; don’t settle

Honesty is something most people typically expect from others, but being honest with yourself is arguably even more important. Acknowledging your needs and wants, and refusing to settle for less, is crucial to living a passionate, purposeful, and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, however, many people instead apply strategies that minimise their feelings or even convince themselves they have less control over their lives than they actually do.

Failing to be honest with yourself and settling for what you have rather than what you want can have significant and far-reaching impacts on various aspects of your life, from career paths and relationships to personal growth. Being honest with yourself takes self-awareness and courage. It can be challenging to fully connect with the emotions that encircle your needs and wants, and even harder to act based on them. However, embracing self-honesty holds the potential to be truly transformative.

About Veritage

Veritage is a family coaching and advisory firm for wealth-owning families, that best delivers on building your family’s capacity to thrive emotionally and financially.

Veritage’s purpose is to help wealth-owning families create a culture of trust and respect, that enables unified decision-making and protects the legacy of the family, fortune and firm. We do this by enabling every family we work with to unlock their full potential, by creating a space of emotional safety that enables unified decision-making.