Have you ever had a conversation with someone and when it was your turn to talk, the other person just walked away? Although they may have asked you a question, they clearly didn’t care about your answer. This happened to me a few weeks ago and trust me, it did NOT feel good!
This experience got me thinking about authenticity and what it means to be authentic. They are words that are often tossed around but what do they actually mean?
Authenticity is a difficult term to define because for me, it’s a way of being. It’s how you carry yourself and go about your daily life. I know it when I see it. And it feels good. It feels real.
The dictionary definition of authentic is “not false or copied; genuine; real”. It’s representing one’s true nature or beliefs.
“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
~ Rene Brown
Authenticity doesn’t come from social status, material goods or the size of one’s pay check. Unfortunately, many people place way too much worth on these things. They care about what kind of car they drive or the brand name clothing they’re wearing.
It’s sad that we live in a society that puts so much pressure on looking and acting a certain way. I think social media plays a huge role in this. I’ve been at parties where people cared more about getting that perfect group selfie than having honest, down-to-earth conversations. Why is it that some people care more about how many likes they can get on Facebook or Instagram than how their friends’ day was?
When you meet truly authentic people however, it’s like a breath of fresh air! They radiate real energy and speak with kindness. It’s actually pretty amazing!
So what are some traits of authentic people?
Authentic people say it how it is, yet with compassion and awareness. These are the people we trust in life because they are real. They ask you about your day because they actually care. They compliment you and truly mean it. They listen to you. They don’t have a hidden agenda or talk just to have their own voice heard.
These are the kind of people you want in your life!
It’s not always easy being your true self. Actually, sometimes it’s really fucking hard. Especially in the years when you’re still trying to figure out who you really are.
Here are ten lessons I’ve learned on my personal journey towards authenticity. I hope they deeply resonate with you. And maybe they can even help you live a more authentic life too.
#1 Stop Seeking External Love and Approval
From a young age we grow up and want to impress our parents, our teachers and our friends. As we get older we begin to seek approval from our boss or our partner. Don’t let this desire for external approval define you. Rather than wasting your time trying to match what you think is the most acceptable, spend that time accepting exactly who you are. I’ve learned that only I can give myself the love and approval I’m truly seeking.
#2 Stay Genuine
I always try my best to truly understand the people that surround me. I ask thoughtful questions, and listen intently. I make eye contact with the person I’m talking to. When you are genuine and honest people can sense your integrity. This builds a relationship built on trust and makes people feel safe around you.
#3 Authenticity Takes Courage
The fear of not being liked, wanted, or accepted is what keeps us from being our true selves. It takes courage to be yourself so be proud of how far you’ve come!
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
~ E.E. Cummings
#4 Follow Your Intuition
This is a big one and some days I definitely struggle with it. Listening to your gut instinct can be really hard when you are constantly bombarded with outside influences about how you should live your life. Try to ignore all the external factors and focus on your internal alignment.
#5 Find Your Tribe
A long time ago I realized the importance of having true friends. The ones that you can have real conversations with and that will offer straight-up advice. Even if you might not always want to hear it! Surround yourself with people that encourage you to be your true self.
#6 Cherish Authentic Moments
I like to cherish authentic moments when they happen throughout the day, no matter how small. Meaningful moments can be as simple as someone making you coffee in the morning or giving you a heartfelt compliment! Think about how these experiences make you feel and you will realize the value in giving love to others.
#7 Leave Your Ego at the Door
Sometimes we let our ego rule our actions and it’s never a good outcome. Try to instead lead from a place of balance and gratitude.
#8 Be Yourself
Listen up! No matter how hard you try, you will never be better at being somebody else. Likewise, nobody will ever be better at being you. So be yourself because it’s the most beautiful thing about you!
#9 Share Your Gift
I strongly believe that everyone has a a gift to share. Maybe that gift is being able to make people laugh. Maybe it’s being a great listener. Maybe it’s just showing up and being present. Whatever it is, the world needs us to show up and share our gift.
#10 Authenticity is a Process
I’ve come to the conclusion that living more authentically is a lifetime process. There are moments when I truly express my authentic self and then there are moments that trigger inner wounds. My ego interrupts me and I find myself acting in a way that’s out of internal alignment. When this happens, I have to remind myself that nobody is perfect and that authenticity doesn’t happen overnight!
Lastly, there is no shortcut to authenticity. It requires commitment and real inner work. I hope you are ready to put in the work and create a more fulfilling life!
With love and courage,