I am not interested in what you think

When my brother and I used to misbehave as kids and really push my mother's buttons, she would chase us with a wooden spoon threatening to smack us. I enjoyed the wooden spoon chase so much that sometimes I provoked my mother just so the spoon could come out. She would chase me around the house, down the long hallway, into the big back garden, and down the long driveway but would never come into the front garden. Why? She was worried what the neighbours would think.

This made me realise early on in life that there was great power in not caring what other people think of me.

I think you have two choices in life. You can either chose to be yourself or someone else. It is that simple. Many people become lost trying to be someone else. One person for work, one for home, one for in-laws, one for group A friends, one for group B friends....the list goes on.

Don't be a chameleon. Suppressing what you think and how you feel is a recipe for illness.

If you want to be accepted, loved or employed and happy, be yourself. Be authentic!

Being yourself is easy. Pretending is exhausting.

Here are some steps to start you on your path to authenticity:

1. Accept yourself for who you are. Embrace your strengths, quirks and flaws. They are all part of you. Increase your self awareness. Reflect on who you are and who you want to become. Clarity will result in action. Follow your interests. Over time, you will meet people who have the same interests.

2. Support your self-esteem. It is difficult to be genuine if you lack confidence. Don't behave in a way that you think confident people behave. Inauthenticity is obvious a mile away. Don't "fake it till you make it". When you do so, you subconsciously tell yourself that you actually aren't good enough. Be yourself. Wear what you want to wear. Do what you want to do. If you have emotional baggage, go and talk to a therapist who can help you work through it.

3. Act on your own personal beliefs. Authentic people have their own moral compass and live by it. Basically, if you talk the talk, then walk the walk. If you believe you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, then don't do so in your daily life. If you believe that grit and hard work is the key to attaining a goal you are striving towards, then roll up your sleeves and knuckle down.

4. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Sharing personal information about yourself shows others that you have flaws and you trust them. It helps build relationships. Don't take yourself too seriously. Think of yourself as a first, second or third draft of something you're writing. There is always room for improvement. If you can laugh at your flaws, you won't worry if other people do it. Laugh with them.

5. Be completely present in any situation you find yourself. If you are chatting to someone but you are not fully present or engaged, it shows. People appreciate you being 100% focused on them. Ignore your mobile notifications, and turn off the voice in your head.

6. Express your thoughts and feelings in situations that matter to you. Authentic people are comfortable speaking their mind. Trust your intuition in relationships and interactions.

7. Ask for help when you need it. Authenticity means you appreciate the skills and experience of those around you. This is a sign of humility and being genuine. After all, no one can do or be good at everything.

Remember, being authentic might be a little scary but it is also the most liberating thing to be and the easiest. As Oscar Wilde said “be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”