Enjoy Wellness

Shaping Your Authentic Self With Dr. Sara Kuburic

Haley Paskalides  |  November 8, 2023

All of the small decisions we make contribute to who we’re becoming. Dr. Sara Kuburic explores who we want to be.

How many times have you met up with a friend for coffee or over dinner and been asked, “How are you doing?” We all know the response we’re supposed to give – Fine! Good! – but what if you’re really not doing okay at all? What if you’re simply feeling like it’s taking everything in you to wake up and go to work every day?  For many people who suffer from depression, Dr. Sarah Kuburic says it can be tough to share that you’re really not doing well — for a whole host of reasons. Truthfully, it’s sometimes even more difficult to acknowledge it to ourselves. 

Kuburic, author of the new book: “It’s On Me: Accept Hard Truths, Discover Yourself, and Change Your Life” knows all about this feeling because she experienced it firsthand. “I was so surprised by a moment where I looked in a mirror. I couldn’t recognize myself and I asked myself, whose life is this? Because it does not feel like it belongs to me,” Dr. Sara Kuburic says. “One of the most surprising aspects of the self is that it’s so easy to construct an inauthentic self almost passively, almost accidentally, almost well intentionally, and then to wake up and realize how much harm you’ve done.”

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You might know Dr. Kuburic as “the millennial therapist” on Instagram, where she doles out psychotherapy advice every day to her 1M+ followers. She says that for younger generations, some of the loss of our sense of self is due to the fact that we have more options than ever before. We can live wherever we want, and pursue whatever path we desire. 

“We should be happy about that, but freedom induces anxiety,” she says. “If I’m unhappy, that is horrifying, because no one forced you to be a content creator… No one forced you to be an accountant.” She also attributes some of these internal stresses to the societal pressures of having a “perfect life” on social media. “So what we’re doing is we’re trying to curate our lives rather than live them, and we get lost in the curation,” Kuburic says. 

LISTEN: How Your Generation Affects Your Financial Decisions

Dr. Kuburic says If you’re struggling to figure out who you are (and what kind of life you want to live) it’s time to look at all of the little decisions you make every day and be open to making mistakes. She says there is no “neutral self,” and the small decisions we make every day help define who we are — even if that is constantly changing. 

“So whatever you choose to do to save your money, to spend your money, to become a minimalist, to buy that house, all of that shapes who you’re becoming. And either that’s an authentic self or that’s an inauthentic self,” she says. “So it’s not just about ‘I’m making a bunch of mistakes.’ It’s actually using them to your advantage to get you a bit closer to creating the sense of self that you want to be.”

In Mailbag, we hear from a listener who wants to meet with a Certified Financial Planner but is finding it difficult to find someone she trusts and a recently retired widow who’s wondering when to start taking Social Security to minimize her tax bill in the long run. For our money tip of the week, we offer advice on how to minimize the growing cost of car ownership


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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