9 subtle signs your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self

We all strive for authenticity. But that begs the question: Are we truly aligned with our inner selves?

Because more often than not, it feels like we’re haplessly running on a hamster wheel, chasing goals that don’t quite resonate with our hearts. We work tirelessly and hustle every day, but we still can’t shake off that nagging feeling of dissatisfaction.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Many of us find ourselves in this predicament, pursuing ambitions that don’t truly align with our authentic selves.

But it might not be as doom and gloom as you think.

You may be closer to your true self than you believe, with just a few subtle signs to guide you back on track.

In this article, we’ll uncover some subtle signs that your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1) Your goals feel forced

If your goals are set because you think they’re what you “should” do, not what you want to do, those goals are forced.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

I remember chasing a promotion because it was the “next step,” not because it was what I truly wanted.

The result? Burnout and dissatisfaction.

If your goals feel more like obligations than genuine desires, it’s a red flag that shows your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self.

2) You’re constantly seeking validation

I used to be notorious for seeking validation.

I’d strive for achievements, not for my own gratification, but for the validation and approval of others. The applause, the recognition, the pats on the back – they were my driving force.

But here’s the thing: if you’re constantly seeking external validation, it could indicate that your motivations aren’t truly your own.

They might just be influenced by societal expectations or the desires of people around you, not your own dreams and desires. 

It’s only when you stop chasing after validation and the approval of others that you will start to realize what you truly want.

3) You feel drained, not energized

When your motivations align with your true self, they fuel you with energy and passion.

But what if they don’t?

According to the Self-Determination Theory, when you’re not able to make your own choices or manage your own life, you end up feeling consistently drained.

To avoid this, you need to be able to take the helm of your own life—to chase after your dreams and achieve the goals you’ve been striving for.

That way, life doesn’t feel mundane or dull. You’re going to feel more motivated as you change your life into something that you want—something that makes it worth living.

4) You’re uneasy about your achievements

Achieving a goal should bring a sense of fulfillment, a joy that resonates deep within you.

So, if you find that even your biggest achievements leave you with a hollow feeling, it’s a sign that the goals you’re pursuing may not be in harmony with your true self—they may be milestones on someone else’s path, not yours.

This lack of inner peace is your soul’s way of telling you something isn’t right, urging you to reassess your motivations and realign them with your authentic self.

5) You’re living in the future

I used to be the person who was always planning, always looking ahead. “Once I achieve this, I’ll be happy,” I’d tell myself.

But you know what?

That happiness was always just out of reach, always in the future.

If you find yourself constantly living for tomorrow, it could be a sign that your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self. 

Because here’s the thing: didn’t your past self dream about finding happiness in the future—in where you are now?

This means you should learn to find happiness in the here and now. Don’t waste your time dreaming and waiting for the perfect moment—instead, work your way toward making today the “perfect” day, whatever perfect means for you.

When you learn to do this, you’ll find joy and contentment in the journey, not just the destination.

6) You’re not excited about what you’re doing

Ever wake up in the morning and dread what’s to come?

I know I have.

It’s a sinking feeling—realizing that what you’re about to do for the day doesn’t excite you. It makes it hard to get out of bed. It feels like you’d rather be sleeping than doing literally anything, because dreaming that you’re somewhere else is better than anything.

If you feel this way, that’s a clear sign your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self, because when they are, you’ll wake up eager to tackle the day because you’re working towards something that truly matters to you.

7) Your intuition is trying to tell you something

If you’ve ever had a gut feeling that something just isn’t right, that’s your intuition talking–and it’s wise to listen.

And if it’s telling you you’re living a life that’s wrong for you, you should listen to it.

Why?

Because our intuition often knows before our conscious mind does when something is off. So, if your gut is telling you that your motivations don’t align with your true self, don’t ignore it.

Take some time to reflect on what your intuition might be trying to tell you, and it will point you in the right direction to pursue the life you’ve always wanted to live.

8) You’re constantly comparing yourself to others

If you find yourself constantly measuring your success against others’, it could be a sign that your motivations aren’t truly yours.

You see, when we’re aligned with our true self, we realize that everyone has their own unique path. We understand that comparison is not only unhelpful but also irrelevant.

But don’t fret — this constant comparison might just point you to what you want, to the life you dream of living. 

Because underneath the feeling of envy is the feeling of desire. 

So when you catch yourself feeling envious of a friend, perhaps it’s worth learning what you’re envious of — that way, the envy turns into something productive, something that shows you what you truly desire.

9) You feel disconnected from what you’re doing

When your motivations align with who you truly are, there’s a sense of connection in everything you do.

But if you feel a disconnect or like what you’re doing doesn’t really matter to you, it could be a sign that your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self.

Personally, when I used to work a job that I only chose because I needed the money, I felt soulless. Every time I sat on my desk and stared at the dozens of Excel sheets on my screen, I felt empty—like I’m not living at all. 

If this resonates with you, that means you feel a disconnect between you and what you’re doing, and your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self.

Final thoughts

Finding our true selves is perhaps the hardest quest of all. It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight because it’s a constant, lifelong process. 

So if you feel your motivations aren’t aligned with your true self, don’t worry—it’s not too late. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you to figure it out.

Good luck!

Feeling Adrift? Pinpointing Your Values Guides You Home

Do you sometimes question what really matters most in life? Feel unclear on the principles that should steer your decisions and path ahead?

It’s so easy to lose sight of our core values. Those essential truths that align our outer world with profound inner purpose.

That’s why life coach Jeanette Brown designed this simple yet illuminating values exercise. To help you define the 5 values most central to who you are.

In just a few minutes, this free download leads you to:

  • Discover what matters to you more than money or status
  • Clarify the ideals your choices should reflect
  • Create a guiding light to inform major life decisions

With your values crystallized, you’ll move through the world with intention, confidence, and meaning.

Stop drifting and download the Free PDF to anchor yourself to purpose. Let your values direct you home.

 

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