What does it mean to be authentic?
Being authentic, in short, is just being real, genuine. I can’t say that in every situation I am authentic, but I am in most. 90%. Don’t get me wrong, being authentic does mean voicing your annoying opinions every chance you get or wearing clothing that you feel “comfortable” in with total disregard for the occasion. Ahem, sweat pants out for dinner.
Being authentic means knowing and accepting yourself. Understanding that you have flaws and strengths. Being authentic is not needing to seek external approval to support your self-esteem or believe in your self-worth. Being authentic is always striving to become a better person and connecting with the present by learning from the past.
When you are super concerned about your self-image and the judgement of others you start to make decisions that don’t necessarily fit your values and beliefs. You start to do things that do not feel natural. It’s easy to be afraid of other’s judgement, but it is also pretty scary to attempt to be someone you aren’t. And, might I add, It is equally disheartening to do something you do not believe in.
I have to add that being an authentic person and living an authentic life isn’t hippy garbage. Hippies seem to do it well, but living your life in a way that is true to you isn’t lollipops, good energy, and sunshine. Sometimes being authentic means saying “no” or making an unpopular decision. Sometimes it means disappointment. Other times the person who is pulling in a million dollars a year as a consultant to Halliburton is more genuine than that guy selling you prayer beads at a Farmers Market.
3 Being Authentic really means
- Accepting Your Flaws
- Understanding Your Limits (Intellectual, Physical, Emotional, Sexual, etc)
- Taking Responsibility for Your Actions
Living By Your Values
- Define What Is Important To You
- Live By The Road Map You Have Provided For Yourself
Keeping An Open Mind
- Be Open To New Ideas (this doesn’t mean you have to accept all new ideas, but do you best to consider that particular view point)
- Be Open to Changing Your View Point
Always Trying To Improve Yourself
- Working On Your Weaknesses
- Becoming At Peace With Yourself
The most important part, I believe, is being self-aware. Who you are and how you relate to the world may not please other people. That doesn’t matter. As long as you accept yourself for who you are and understand your reactions in situations you can focus on improving yourself. I feel like I have no place telling others what to do, but I have learned a lot through examining why I react in particular ways. I have also become a happier person, by accepting my short-comings and celebrating my strengths. These days, I don’t do things to please others. Don’t get me wrong, I will do nice things for people I love, but I would never go out of my way to impress someone who doesn’t care about me.
As I said earlier, I don’t claim to be authentic 100% of the time. I am still working on myself. I am still figuring out what my true values and goals are. I do my best to refrain from dismissing people and their ideas immediately. I also constantly try to improve myself in the many aspects of my life. Perhaps, I will never live a 100% genuine life, but at least I can try. Maybe you can too.