top of page

5 Steps to Opening Up, Being More Yourself, & Unleashing Joy

How much of the time is the authentic YOU showing up in the world?

Do you have a different persona for your work, home life, friends, strangers, and the check-in person at the airport?

Stress, grief, past or current pain or trauma, illness, or anxiety can cause us to retreat inward.

Just like preparing a house to survive the impact of a hurricane, we can close the shutters, protect fragile points of entry, conserve resources, stock up on necessities, and retreat inside.

If you have found yourself hiding the real you from the world, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Unless you are age four or under, crafting an ever-shifting-persona is a natural protection mechanism.

We learn as we grow-up that opening up and being authentic can lead to a slug of pain and a slap of heartache. Intuitively we find out what psychologists have tested to be true: people like those who mimic or mirror their body language. People also find it easier to like those who are similar or share the same interests and passions.

So is it any wonder that all at once everyone is wearing the same color of teal or using the same slang? Is it a surprise that individuals in a group can converge in dress, tastes, interests, and values?

The question is: do you want to open up and be more yourself at the risk of getting hurt and losing friends?

Step 1: Find Your Joy

Can you name five concrete experiences that bring you joy?

Joy is delight fused with serenity and evokes a sense of connection to others, nature, or the divine. Joy is playful and generous.

The first step towards opening up and being authentically you is to uncover what brings you joy. List at least five experiences that bring joy into your life daily.

Next, you can explore and remember what caused a flash of unexpected joy in the past few months. Recall moments of bliss from your life and write them down too.

List at least five surprises that bring joy into your life sporadically.

Be warned against ascribing to your cultural or familial imprinted definitions of delight.

Whereas joy for everyone around you could be a rainbow sprinkled ice-cream cone, for you, it could be a cup of tea and dramatic rainclouds shifting across the sky.

Looking for some daily joy-list inspiration? Here’s my daily joy-list:

  1. The first sip of espresso in the morning.

  2. Strolling barefoot through the dew-covered grass and examining my garden.

  3. Laughter or delight (anyone’s around me, or mine).

  4. An unexpected bright dash of color and white space.

  5. A smile from a someone I don’t know.