Many of our greatest thinkers wrote about the importance of understanding ourselves and living authentically.

But living authentically isnt as easy as it seems. Starting in childhood,were told to cover up our feelings little boys are told to stop crying and little girls are told to be quiet. Well-intentioned parents sometimes try to mold us into who they want us to be, rather than who we really are. Some of us become people-pleasers and some become stoic and cut off from our feelings and inner experiences.

If you feel like youre pretending to be someone youre not or youre not sure who you are, these quotes will help inspire authentic living and greater self-understanding.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Aristotle

To find yourself, think for yourself. Socrates

To thine own self be true. Shakespeare

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. — Mother Theresa

No one man can, for any considerable time, wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. –Carl Jung

Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good. — Alan Cohen

I learned to be with myself rather than avoiding myself with limiting habits; I started to be aware of my feelings more, rather than numb them. — Judith Wright

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” –May Sarton

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. – Bren Brown

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. — Bren Brown

“Be yourself — not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” Henry David Thoreau

Dont be confused between what people say you are and who you know you are. Oprah

Finding your passion isnt just about careers and money. Its about finding your authentic self. The one youve buried beneath other peoples needs. — Kristen Hannah

And my personal favorite….

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. E.E. Cummings


2017 Sharon Martin, LCSW. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.