How to Ground in Your Authentic Self

picture of islands in blue sea with clouds in sky as analogy for authentic self by Suzanne Marie

This blog post explores building strong foundations to ground into our authentic self for personal growth and personal development.

Relationships

Our relationships with others start with our relationship with ourselves. As we journey through life – from childhood and adolescence to adulthood – we develop many different types of relationships. Some may last a lifetime, while others may be temporary.

How we relate to ourselves sets the tone for all our other relationships. Having a healthy relationship with ourselves sets the foundation for solid and healthy relationships with others.

Quotes to Live By (Suzanne Marie)

We all have relationships with other people that are important to us. Whether it’s a romantic partner, a family member, or a close friend, these relationships can teach us a lot about ourselves. This blog post will explore some of the intimate relationships we have with others and how the important lessons from these relationships can help us grow. 

Premise

The examples presented are from my own journey in intimate relationships. My journey in close relationships has been full of lessons about the importance of grounding myself in my authentic self. Through this process of personal growth and personal development, I understand the immense value of being true to who I am. 

In the long run, it’s crucial to maintain a balance between being true to ourselves and choosing to be in a relationship. This article aims to provide information about avoiding unproductive compromises in relationships and improving communication and interaction in close relationships by making better choices for a better life.

Grounding

We need a grounding of our authentic self in relationships. Grounding is a powerful tool that makes everything last for the long term. Through grounding, we bring the core sense of ourselves from a soul level into our relationship experience.

When we feel grounded, we remain present and calm despite the challenges and distractions of daily life. When our connection to our authentic selves is strong, the opinions or emotions of others are not of high regard and do not easily influence us. As a result, we feel a sense of peace and stability.

The Context of Relationships

When in close relationships, it is not uncommon for us to feel like we are losing ourselves. When we are in relationships with others, it can be easy to lose sight of who we are and what we want. As a result, we may compromise our values and preferences to fit in or please others, experience a lack of confidence or low self esteem, or end up with mental health issues like depression or anxiety. However, this can lead to feeling unhappy and even resentful over time. Instead of feeling comfortable and at ease within the relationship, we experience tension and stress. 

Tension and Stress in Relationships

  • Feeling bad about yourself.
  • Feeling resentful towards the other person.
  • Feeling trapped in the relationship.
  • Escalating conflict between you and the other person.
  • Engaging in more arguments.

Personal Growth and Personal Development

Relationships are complex. An important thing to consider is our needs change over time, relationships are dynamic and constantly in a state of change. As we experience personal growth and personal development, a lot of people often find themselves in a relationship that is no longer supportive and fulfilling. In these cases, we also discover we may be stuck with an unsupportive or unfulfilling relationship because of our investment of time, focus, and energy. Feeling stuck is a clear indication of being detached from our authentic self. It is vital to stay true to ourselves in relationships, so we feel fulfilled and content.

A Fulfilling Relationship

To have a happy and fulfilling relationship, it is crucial for both partners to feel they can be themselves. They need to have the freedom to be their own person and not have to constantly change their identity to fit in with the other person.

We achieve a happy and fulfilling relationship through strong foundations in our authentic self and the freedom to continue growing as individuals—these strong foundations in our authentic self transfer over to our relationships. Therefore, to maintain a healthy relationship and continue to grow, we must make it a point to reconnect with what is important to us.

Authentic Self

Journaling to uncover our authentic self is a helpful first step. Sitting in a quiet place and asking questions like these below helps to cultivate the information we need to navigate our relationships:

  • What are my values? 
  • What makes me happy? 
  • What brings me joy? 
  • What makes me feel proud of myself? 
  • What or who do I appreciate in my life? 
  • What have been my greatest triumphs? 
  • What do I like about myself?

Having a strong sense of self is essential for engaging in healthy relationships. Carving out time in a busy schedule to spend time with ourselves is a gift of knowledge, compassion, and empathy. We uncover our true strengths by looking at ourselves, our journey, and the lessons we have learned along the way.

How to Reconnect with Our Authentic Self

Our authentic selves are the core of who we are as individuals. Taking simple steps to uncover your authentic self is the best way to find self-love inspiration and set goals for positive changes. The following exercises can help you discover your true self.

  • Write down your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Look at pictures of yourself as a child, teenager, young adult, and parent. Then, reconnect to those versions of yourself by describing critical points of each stage of your personal development. 
  • Journal how you would describe yourself to another person.
  • Remember a time when you felt most excited about your life? What did you do? What did you wear? 
  • Who have been the most significant influences in your life?
  • What are the turning points of your life?
  • Write a passionate and detailed love letter to yourself. 

It can be easy to lose sight of who we are and what we want for ourselves as individuals in relationships. We may find ourselves compromising our values to accommodate others or going along with things we don’t enjoy to keep the peace. It’s essential to take a step back and remember what grounds us as individuals. When we’re grounded in our authentic selves, it gives us a solid foundation from which to approach all of our relationships.

Grounding Authentic Self in Relationships 

We all want to be in happy, lasting relationships. But what does it take to make that happen? One crucial ingredient is grounding. Grounding ourselves in our authentic selves helps create a solid foundation for our relationships. Relationships fall apart when relationships are out of balance, and people are out of touch with their true selves. The sense of peace, security, and love that was once there can quickly fade. 

When we’re grounded, we’re more likely to act from a place of authenticity and integrity – two critical ingredients for any healthy relationship. The problem is that sometimes we may start to compromise our values and preferences to fit in or please the other person, which leads to feeling unhappy or resentful over time.

Influences on Our Authentic Self

It takes a lot of effort, hard work, and courage to stay grounded in our authentic selves. Most of us have been conditioned for our entire lives to be someone other than who we are. For example, messages we’re told like, ‘act like a lady, or ‘big boys don’t cry’ create changes in our beliefs around what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior. Being expected to change our behavior from the essence of who we are as individuals cause us to walk around in a fog, not even knowing who we are or what we want in our own skin. As a result, we lose our sense of connectedness with ourselves and others. 

Tips for Grounding in Relationships

Most of us have had the experience of losing ourselves in a relationship. And without realizing it, we end up giving our power away or losing ourselves in trying to gain the other person’s approval. So if you’ve been in a relationship for a while and you’re not feeling grounded in yourself, it’s time to do some self-evaluation.

  • Be consistently you. Do not expect other people to change according to your needs. This applies to you as well. We are who we are, and we should not change ourselves according to others’ needs. It is not acceptable to change your identity or who you are just so that you can be in a relationship. Be true to yourself, so you are happy, whether in a relationship or not.
  • Always be kind. Treat the other person with kindness and respect. That way, you retain some sensitivity for the good qualities in that person and do not feel negative about your perceptions of their shortcomings.
  • Know what matters to you. If we don’t know what’s important to us, we will likely compromise in a relationship. We will allow our partner or friends to be right when we should follow our hearts. But, on the other hand, if we know what the essential things in life are to us, it will be easier to go after them.
  • Be yourself. You must be true to yourself before you can be your best self. If you are not honest, or if you lie to yourself and the other person, you will keep feeling like something isn’t quite right. Be your unique, beautiful, magnificent, magical, and magnetic authentic self, and you will attract similar people to your life.
  • Know what you want to say. If you’re with someone you care about, like a friend or a loved one, make sure you know what you want to say before you say it. It’s easier if you have a plan of action, so you don’t have to feel anxious about your words. Practice speaking what is in your heart out loud before you communicate it to others.
  • Express your feelings. Expressing how we feel about a situation is a form of emotional intelligence. Practice emotional intelligence through healthy expressions of emotions. 

Grounding as Self-Care

Grounding is also a powerful testament to the importance of self-care. Grounding allows us to be more present and available to others, make healthy choices, and view ourselves and our relationships in a state of appreciation. 

A daily practice of appreciating your authentic self is a powerful way to take care of your own needs. Exploring the essence of who we are and what makes us tick is a great way to practice unconditional love with ourselves, check our mental wellbeing, and reflect on the critical lessons we have learned.

It is essential to stay true to authenticity so that you feel fulfilled and contentment. It can be easy in our relationships to get swept up in the other person and lose track of ourselves. As a result, we may start neglecting our own needs and wants or putting aside things that are important to us. 

We must stay grounded in who we are to create lasting, fulfilling relationships. When we are grounded, we bring our authentic selves into the relationship experience. This makes us feel contentment and fulfillment because we stay true to ourselves.

My Story

I was doing divorce practice for just shy of 14 years. I had my mediation practice for court-sanctioned mediation. Court sanctioned divorce agreements are for shared parenting plans for dependent children. Shared parenting plans include access by creating a visitation schedule and financial arrangements like who would pay for what and who would give the kids driving lessons when needed, and how time is shared between parents regarding raising their children they had together.

Over the years, I realized I would consistently see couples in similar anniversary years of their marriage. The consistent years where couples were seeking a divorce or separation with a parenting agreement were three years, seven years, twelve years, and twenty-one years. My number was twenty-five.

Divorce Trends (2022)

My Reflection

In reflection on my number of twenty-five, I decided to consider what that meant. My ex-husband and I spent a quarter of a century together. More than half of our lives at the time of our divorce. Being in relationships together for so many years, I can say some of it was good, and some of it was essential for my personal growth to become a better person. 

As we moved through the growing edges of our learning, we both became better people in terms of how we parented and the decisions we made together in our lives. We had financial abundance, we had material possessions, and we had lived the life that many people aspire to and never achieve.  

No Room for Individuality

Looking back and reflecting on that time in my life, I realized that there was no grounding in our individuality and no grounding in our authentic self in our relationship because there wasn’t room for it. There wasn’t room for individuality because we had roles we needed to play out. These roles transitioned from girlfriend and fiancé to wife and mother. We also each had roles relating to the work we were doing.

I was a student when we were married, and we had already been together for several years. We had rules to fulfill our roles as they related to our marriage. When I reached out for what I wanted for myself, like business development, or continuing education, these activities had to fit within the context of our relationship and expectations. Regardless of what we each individually desired, there were expected or required actions when engaged in our relationship and family.

When our relationship started to deteriorate, we each had our perspectives on the causes. Sometimes they were diverse, and sometimes they were similar. What we didn’t do was ground into individuality and the authenticity of ourselves to make those essential components a part of the equation.

Re-Bound Relationships

Later on, after my divorce, I was immediately in a series of other relationships, and I recognized similar patterns in each connection. Again, the common denominator was me, which was hard to take, but there was also a clear distinction between three separate entities within an intimate relationship. 

Discovering Three Entities to Relationships

These three separate entities need to be considered, and I contextualize them as islands. I love the sea, and anybody who knows me knows I love water, nature, and islands. So, I contextualize this insight as three little islands. These islands are like Relationships for Life Islands. They include You Island, Me Island, and We Island. This concept is applied in any relationship. When exploring this idea, we can look at our place of work, our family of origin, and our friend groups. 

In my case, We Island is where we ground into our home, family, expectations, and everything that keeps We Island going. But You Island and Me Island are vital to the survival of We Island. It’s like an ecosystem. You Island and Me Island each need to ground into each person’s authentic self on We Island. If we don’t ground ourselves into our authentic self, we’re on We Island, and we think that’s who we are. This is the source of conflict that arises between couples.

Conflict and Relationships

Conflict begins to manifest and grow when we don’t have a clear sense of ourselves. For example, it’s like the oxygen mask on the airplane analogy. We’re on the plane going to We Island, and on our journey, something happens. The oxygen masks come down, so we immediately take the mask in front of us and put it over our spouse’s mouth and nose and our children’s mouth and nose, and then we suffocate. Likewise, putting all of ourselves into a relationship, without maintaining clear boundaries between where we end, and the other person begins, we lose ourselves. 

Maintaining a clear sense of ourselves to ground into ourselves in a purely wholehearted and courageous way means we put on our oxygen mask first. Then, we help our loved ones if they need help. 

Navigating Relationships

When coming together with another to travel to our destination of We Island, we present our authentic selves. Then we start to navigate and negotiate our trip to We Island. Until that happens, I believe in my experience, education, and research, that if we don’t ground ourselves first, we miss opportunities to grow into healthy relationships. Then, one day, we get married, we’re all happy in the honeymoon phase for the first few years, and then the pivotal years come into sight, and we see a way out. Sharing my story is intended to offer insight. It is not my intention to promote marriage or divorce. This system of thinking is applied in any relationship and a lesson I have learned to engage in healthy relationships, starting with my relationship with myself on Me Island.

Risks in Relationships

If we don’t have a solid grounding in who we are and don’t present that to the world from a space of authenticity, we risk engaging in relationships that aren’t necessarily healthy for us. That’s the risk. I don’t know about you, but who wants to live their lives pretending to be somebody else or accommodating to suit roles that we think we need to fit? Living throughout our lives and waking up at the end of the day and asking, “why did I do that?” or “why did I have to wait until awakening to become who I truly am?” 

Strategies for Grounding Ourselves

There are three essential steps to ground ourselves into our authentic self:

  • Step 1: Choose Love
  • Step 2: Set Boundaries
  • Step 3: Communicate

Step 1: Choose Love

To start, we need to have a clear sense of ourselves. Then, we must do the work to face the uncomfortable and the messy to get through to cultivating the beautiful and true strengths within who we are. We achieve this by committing to choosing love first. We choose love to explore different parts of ourselves, our interests and needs, our values, what we desire, and who we hope to become.

Next, we decide how we want to handle ourselves. Deciding how we want to conduct ourselves is a way for us to ground into who we are as a person. We protect ourselves vehemently by choosing love first, then deciding how we want to handle ourselves. I don’t mean to defend ourselves by pushing other people away, shutting down, or closing into ourselves. Instead, we consciously decide to set boundaries around ourselves by protecting ourselves. As a result, we are confident, empowered, and comfortable saying, “this is Me Island.” 

  • We don’t let the opinions of others influence what we choose to do or how we spend our time. Likewise, we don’t let how other people feel about our decisions or choices affect us.
  • We don’t let other people determine how we choose to spend time with ourselves, other people, our work, hobbies, projects, and activities. 
  • We don’t let the opinions of others influence any of our relationships or activities we’re involved in, especially when it’s something that’s truly aligned with what we want ourselves to achieve in our personal growth and personal development goals.

Step 2: Set Boundaries

Step two is when we have done our self-exploration and start to set boundaries around ourselves. We set boundaries around ourselves, and we safeguard ourselves. Safeguarding ourselves means setting boundaries around our time, our energy, our focus, and everything that we want and need to be able to achieve what we want to achieve and become in this life. 

Step 3: Communicate

Step three is all about communication. Setting boundaries is a form of social skills. Throughout our lives, setting boundaries is mainly undeveloped. Part of being undeveloped is because we need to listen to our parents and caregivers when we’re growing up. Our parents’ and caregivers’ role is to have our best interests in mind to keep us safe and healthy to grow. During this time, we must follow the rules, which carry on into other aspects of our lives. So when we start to look at setting boundaries, we must first ensure that we have the necessary communication skills. 

Setting boundaries is necessary to exercise social skills, and communication skills are essential to set boundaries effectively. Some critical communication skills and social skills we need to consider:

  • We carve out sacred space to prepare what we want to discuss with the other person. 
  • We take time to reflect so we know when we do present it to the person, we are consciously aware and living through our values, our needs, and our interest in the relationship
  • We’re mindful of the emotions that emerge and how to manage those to be able to present what we want to talk about with the other person that respects ourselves, the other person, and the relationship 

Active Listening Skills

Practicing active listening skills presents us with opportunities to develop robust capacities around how we manage ourselves. Some critical strategies for active listening include:

  • “I” Statements
  • Assertive Communication
  • Open-Ended Questions

The following blog post shares specific active listening models and examples for developing these essential communication skills:

Summary

Throughout our lives, relationships come in many forms. Grounding in our authentic self is necessary to engage in healthy relationships. Grounding into ourselves includes:

  • Communicating honestly.
  • Being aware of what we need emotionally and physically.
  • Setting boundaries.
  • Staying true to our values.

References

Brené Brown Quotes (Author of Daring Greatly). (n.d.). http://Www.goodreads.com. https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/162578.Bren_Brown

Honoryouressence. (2022, April 6). Top 10 Personal Growth Reads for 2022. Honor Your Essence. https://honoryouressence.com/top-10-personal-growth-reads-for-2022/

Provisional number of marriages and marriage rate: United States, 2000-2020. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/national-marriage-divorce-rates-00-20.pdf

Petryshyn, S. (2015). TAKE CHARGE OF THE TOUGH TALKS : seven truths about conflict management. Createspace Independent P.

Welcome

If you are an educator, parent, or grandparent and looking for practical strategies to use with children, concepts to understand, and ideas that can be easily implemented about how to create space for self and others, you have landed in the right spot.

Start Here

Children learn how to solve problems the same way they learn how to read, write, and add. Like reading, writing, and adding, there are three specific components to solving problems. These are teachable skills children can learn at any age.

Published by suzannemarie

Educator and published author of conflict management and children's books. Living life to its fullest. I believe in courageously honouring my truth and living my legacy. Lover of meaningful conversations, coffee, food, art, and building connections. I love writing about my fascination with culture, food, adventure, self-love, and living a healthy and fulfilled life!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply