Unleashing Your Inner Unicorn: A Women’s Guide to Authenticity
April 12, 2023
unleashing inner unicorn

Written By Stacey Inal  MA, MBA,
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Women’s Life Coach

Unleashing Inner Unicorn: A Women’s Guide to Authenticity

Let’s begin the discussion about being authentic. It’s a buzzword that’s been thrown around a lot lately, and for good reason. Being authentic means being true to yourself, and let’s be real, that’s easier said than done. We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with messages and advertisements about who we should be, how we should act, and what we should look like. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. What matters is being true to yourself, amazing imperfections and all.

So, how do we go about being more authentic? Well, first things first, we need to stop caring so much about what other people think. I know, easier said than done. But here’s the thing, people are going to judge us no matter what we do. So, why not just be our true selves and let them judge the real us? Plus, trying to be someone we’re not, can feel very exhausting.

Trust me, I tried being someone else in my younger years. I used to act like nothing bothered me and I would say yes to everything afraid of displeasing others. I once said yes to moving someone’s refrigerator by myself on a hot summer day because I didn’t want to let that person down.

I used to try to assimilate into other’s lives and “act happy” about the most boring stuff but it turns out I hated doing those things and afterwards, I often was resentful and exhausted. I felt like a fraud and had a miserable time. As I’ve aged, I’ve realized it is better to just be yourself. It’s much easier that way and often a much happier route.

Another thing we can do to be more authentic is to embrace what others more see as our quirks and oddities. We all have behaviors and habits that make us unique, and that’s a good thing. They say no unicorn is alike, they are all a bit different. Personally, I have a weird obsession with collecting dollar store reading glasses. I love the design and colors of them. It’s not too unique but it is fun thing and it makes me happy. And isn’t that the point? Embrace your quirky self and quit caring what others think. As my mother used to say, “Life is too short to be boring”.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “But being authentic means being vulnerable, and vulnerability is scary!” You are not wrong. Being authentic does require some vulnerability, and that can be intimidating. But here’s the thing, vulnerability is also incredibly powerful.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open ourselves up to deeper connections with the people around us. Plus, vulnerability can be hilarious. Have you ever had a job interview or met someone knew where everything that could go wrong did go wrong? Sure, it was embarrassing at the time, but now it’s a hilarious story to share with others.

Speaking of being vulnerable, let’s talk about social media. I know, I know, it’s a touchy subject. But hear me out. Social media can be a great way to connect with people, but it can also be a breeding ground for inauthenticity. It’s easy to get caught up in a friend or influencer’s stories and reels and feel like we’re not measuring up. But here’s the thing, no one’s life is that perfect. We all have bad days where we just don’t feel great about ourselves and experience moments of self-doubt. Don’t compare your real everyday life to someone else’s social media post.

And if you’re feeling brave, why not post a picture of your messy apartment or your #nomakeupselfie? It might just inspire someone else to embrace their own imperfections. I once posted a makeup free video on my business Instagram page as I was doing an early morning walk. It was one of my most liked videos and I realized I too enjoy viewing social media posts with people who seem to own who they are. There is something about being authentic and the power of self-confidence that comes with it.

Speaking of confidence, I’ve got some good news for us all. According to a study by the University of the West of England, women’s confidence levels tend to skyrocket after we hit the big 4-0. That’s right, it’s time to break out the champagne and celebrate our newfound sense of self-assuredness.

The study surveyed over 1000 women and found that those of us in our 20s and 30s tend to be more self-conscious and concerned about what others think of us. But as we approach our 40s and beyond, we become more comfortable in our own skin and less worried about external validation. Finally, a reason to look forward to aging!

And for those of us who have children, the news is even better. The study found that becoming a mother can lead to a boost in confidence, thanks to all the assertiveness and decisiveness required to navigate the world protecting and helping them. Who knew that wiping noses and changing diapers could make us feel like Wonder Woman?

But wait, there’s more! The study also found that women who have gone through tough times, like divorce or the loss of a loved one, tend to come out the other side with even more confidence than before. It’s like we’re all superheroes with secret powers that only come out in times of adversity.

Now, you might be thinking that all this confidence is tied to looking like a supermodel. But fear not, my friends, because the researchers noted that it’s a more holistic sense of self-assuredness that comes with age and experience. So, go ahead and enjoy that extra piece of cake or skip the gym for a day. Your confidence will still be soaring high.

What is the secret to all this newfound confidence? The researchers couldn’t say for sure, but they did suggest that it might have something to do with shifting priorities. As we get older, we become more focused on pursuing our own goals and passions, rather than worrying about pleasing others or conforming to societal norms. Basically, we stop caring so much about what everyone else thinks and start doing what makes us happy. It’s like the ultimate mic drop moment. In that, we get to live out the vision we have for ourselves and be more authentic and comfortable with ourselves.

The 2016 University of the West of England study provides evidence that supports the idea that women’s confidence levels tend to increase as they age, particularly after reaching the age of 40. This increase in confidence is likely due to a combination of life experience, shifting priorities, and a growing sense of self-assuredness.

In my work sessions, I often share this message with my younger clients to reassure them that aging is not something to fear, but rather something to embrace. It is a gift that brings with it the ability to feel more comfortable in one’s own skin, to block out the noise of external validation, and to live more authentically.

So, to all the women out there, it’s time to celebrate your age, your quirks, your uniqueness, and embrace the confidence that comes with it. Don’t let societal pressures or external expectations hold you back from living your most authentic life. It’s time to prioritize your own goals and passions, and to be unapologetically yourself.

As women, we should feel empowered to embrace our inner unicorns and live authentically, free from obscure judgement and unrealistic expectations. Trust me when I say, being true to yourself and embracing your individuality can lead to a much happier and more fulfilling life. It’s important to celebrate our uniqueness and fearlessly pursue our passions. Remember, the world needs more unicorns!

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