The Slow Fade
The idea of "authentic self" relates to a person's essence. It is frequently defined as a person's innermost being. And it is commonly associated with authenticity, honesty, and vulnerability.
In this week's podcast episode, I spoke with Patrece James about the Slow Fade. Patrece is the founder of the Journaling Starter Kit and the Ambitious Women Academy and hosts the Ambitious Women By Design podcast.
The authentic self is frequently concealed under layers of social conditioning, acquired behaviors, and other outside influences. These external factors can influence how we show ourselves to the world and behave in certain situations. They do not, however, always represent our actual true self.
When we are connected to our true self, we feel authentic and confident in our values, beliefs, and goals.
As a result, we can express ourselves more honestly and openly and feel more secure and happy in our lives.
“I lost myself and I didn’t even realize it.”
When the Slow Fade begins, though, and we lose touch with our inner self, we may feel detached or unfulfilled. We may find it challenging to make decisions consistent with our principles, or we may feel like we are leading a different life. Reconnecting with our authentic self might be challenging. Still, it is a crucial step for supporting our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
The Slow Fade Today
Social media plays an essential part in how we show ourselves to the public in today's society. But unfortunately, people are frequently pressured to create a specific image or identity online, which can cause them to lose touch with their authentic self.
Work and family life can frequently consume a significant amount of our time and energy. This might make it difficult to prioritize our wants and needs. For example, it's normal to want to be liked and accepted by others. Yet, this desire may often lead to us compromising our values or beliefs to fit in.
Negative self-talk or a lack of self-worth can disconnect people from their authentic self as well. Moreover, it might be tough to feel secure in our thoughts and ambitions when we frequently tear ourselves down or don't trust ourselves.
Losing touch with your authentic self can negatively influence your happiness and wellbeing. Finding purpose or meaning in life might be difficult when we are detached from our authentic selves. As a result, we may feel lost and overwhelmed, and need some help reconnecting with our dreams and things we love doing.
Losing touch with your authentic self can lead to an overall loss of authenticity. We may feel as if we are living a life that is not entirely our own or as if we are hiding behind a mask. When we are detached from our true self, we may experience feelings of poor self-worth. We may believe we are unworthy of love, pleasure, or success.
Disconnecting from our authentic self can also cause tension and worry. We may be leading an unauthentic existence or constantly attempt to people-please to satisfy family, friends, and co-workers.
How do you Recognize the Slow Fade?
The Slow Fade might happen over months or years. Because the process can be so slow and gradual, it is sometimes hard to tell that the Slow Fade is happening in your life.
Feeling Empty and Disconnected
Disconnection or emptiness might indicate losing touch with your authentic self. Detachment is a sense of disconnection or separation from yourself. In contrast, emptiness is a sense of hollowness or lack of fulfillment.
Disconnection may be caused by many circumstances, including a disconnect from your values or beliefs, a lack of meaningful connections or activities, or a sense of not living an authentic life. We may struggle to find a sense of purpose or meaning when detached. We may feel like we are going through the motions without genuine connection or engagement with the world around us.
Emptiness can also indicate a disconnect from your inner self. When we feel empty, it might suggest that we are not living a full or meaningful life. We may need something, or there is a gap in our life we are not filling at the moment.
Loss of Passion or Interests
A lack of passion for your interests or hobbies can also indicate you have lost touch with your authentic self. For example, if you are no longer interested in anything, and are just trying to get through each day, you may be experiencing a disconnect. You might also have lost interest in doing things you used to love, like hobbies or sports.
A lack of time or energy, a disconnect with our values and beliefs, or a sense of alienation or emptiness can all contribute to us losing touch with our passions and interests. However, when we lose touch with our passions and interests, it may indicate that we are not living in accordance with our authentic self.
Loss of passion or hobbies can negatively influence our general happiness and wellbeing. We may feel unsatisfied or unhappy if we are not involved in things that provide us joy or fulfillment. We may also struggle to find meaning or purpose in our lives.
Losing a Sense of Purpose or Meaning in Life
A loss of feeling of purpose or meaning in life may indicate that you have lost touch with your authentic self. If you no longer feel you have reasons for doing anything in your life, you may have lost your sense of purpose.
A loss of connection with your values or beliefs, a sense of alienation or emptiness, or a lack of involvement in activities that bring you joy or fulfillment can all contribute to losing your purpose. It may be difficult to find direction or drive when you lose touch with your sense of purpose. And overall, it might lead to feeling dissatisfied or unhappy with life.
Losing meaning or purpose can negatively influence your general wellbeing. We may only find pleasure or joy in our daily lives if we do something fulfilling and meaningful. We may also believe that we need to live up to our full potential or that we need to make a constructive contribution to the world. Becoming disconnected can not only affect your mental wellbeing. It could also manifest in physical difficulties, like headaches or digestive issues.
Difficulty Making Decisions or Standing Up For Yourself
If you have difficulties making decisions or standing up for yourself, it might also indicate the Slow Fade. When we are disconnected from our authentic self, it can be difficult to make decisions consistent with our values and beliefs or advocate for ourselves in challenging situations.
Various issues might lead to difficulties in making decisions or advocating for yourself. A lack of self-confidence or self-worth, a fear of failure or rejection, or a lack of clarity about your values and beliefs are all typical reasons. It might be tough to make decisions true to your authentic self, or to assert yourself in challenging situations, when you are dealing with these additional difficulties.
Not making congruent decisions, and not setting boundaries for yourself can negatively influence your general wellbeing and happiness. You may end up feeling disappointed, unhappy, unfulfilled, or resentful and angry. You may also struggle to find meaning or purpose in life.
Ways to Counter the Slow Fade
Once you become aware of the Slow Fade, there are things you can do. Losing yourself can be reversed and you can slowly return to leading a happy and fulfilled life.
Take Time for Self-Reflection
Making time for introspection and self-reflection is vital in reconnecting with your authentic self. Introspection and self-reflection can include looking inward and evaluating your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Journaling, meditation, or engaging in activities that allow for some alone time and quiet thinking are all ways to get started with self-reflection. We may get insight into our values, beliefs, and aspirations by thinking about and studying our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can help us understand ourselves better and uncover places where we have disconnected from our authentic self.
Especially in times of change and upheaval, when it is easy to lose touch with our authentic self, self-reflection could be a helpful tool. It can also be helpful when we are under a lot of stress or facing difficult decisions or problems.
Practice Self-Care and Prioritize Self-Love
Self-care and self-love are vital steps in reconnecting with our authentic self. Self-care refers to our actions to care for our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. In contrast, self-love refers to demonstrating kindness, compassion, and acceptance of ourselves.
Self-care can be practiced in various ways, including getting enough sleep, exercising frequently, eating a clean diet, and engaging in hobbies that offer joy or relaxation. Self-care can improve our general wellbeing and help us feel more energized and focused.
Prioritizing self-love is also an essential component of self-care. This might include engaging in activities that promote self-acceptance and self-worth, practicing positive self-talk, and setting boundaries. We can better accept ourselves as we are and treat ourselves with warmth and compassion when we emphasize self-love in our lives.
Set Boundaries and Prioritize Your Needs and Wants
Setting boundaries and prioritizing your wants and needs is critical in reconnecting with your authentic self. Creating effective boundaries can safeguard your feelings, energy, and overall wellbeing. Making our wants and needs a priority helps us express what we need to feel balanced and recharged.
Setting boundaries is crucial to self-care because it allows us to preserve our wellbeing. This might include limiting the amount of time we spend with specific individuals, the sorts of activities or obligations we accept, or the types of interactions we have with others at home or at work.
Prioritizing our wants and needs is another crucial step in reconnecting with our authentic self. This can include taking some time to actually determine your own needs and wants and living in alignment with them. Especially if you have already compromised a lot for work or family, this might be a challenging step.
Seek Support From Friends, Family, or a Therapist
Seeking help from friends, family, or a therapist may be vital to reconnecting with your authentic self. Getting support from people you trust can help decrease loneliness and offer us the direction and motivation to make significant changes.
There are several ways you can connect with friends, family, or a therapist. Some possibilities include discussing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend or family member. You could also ask for advice from a mentor or coach. Or you might work with a therapist to address any underlying issues that may lead to losing connection with yourself.
Friends and relatives may offer emotional support as well as encouragement and direction. A therapist may provide a safe and supportive environment to explore your ideas and feelings and assist you in identifying any underlying issues contributing to your loss of connection with your authentic self.
Anyone can experience the Slow Fade over time. Therefore, checking in with ourselves frequently is critical to ensure we're keeping true to who we are at our core. This might include reflecting on our thoughts, feelings, and activities to ensure that they are consistent with our values and beliefs. If we miss this step, it can greatly affect our happiness and wellbeing.
We may discover areas where we have become disconnected from our authentic self and make efforts to change them. This can include doing things that offer us joy or fulfillment, establishing boundaries to safeguard our wellbeing, or getting help from friends, family, or a therapist.
Regular self-reflection may also assist us in identifying instances where we may be sacrificing ourselves or our principles to satisfy others or to fit in. We can live a more authentic and satisfying life if we stay true to ourselves. Our feeling of meaning and purpose is linked to our general wellbeing. So, to maintain a sense of inner happiness and satisfaction, we need to pursue what we consider to be our purpose or path.
Over time, it is easy to lose ourselves in the many identities we create.
In the morning, we might be functioning as the mom in the family. During the day, we take on the role of cleaner, caretaker, and cook. If you work, you may also function as the breadwinner or wear the hat of an employee or business owner. And at night, you might go back to being "mom" and whatever else your family might require.
The Slow Fade can make it difficult to realize you are losing yourself in all these identities. So, take a close look and retrace your steps to your authentic path.