Are You Authentic Enough
Do you genuinely and honestly live a truly authentic life? There is only one correct response to this query. In recent times, the concept of authenticity has extended beyond art, luxury items, and jewelry to encompass individuals. Authenticity in a person is now regarded as a crucial trait and is portrayed as essential for a well-rounded and wholesome existence. The push for authenticity takes various forms, including encouragement to conquer our fears, embrace vulnerability, and freely express our genuine selves. It is evident that many of us place great value on authenticity, considering it a liberating force that empowers us to pursue a life in alignment with our true identities. We aspire to be authentic and hold admiration for those who embody authenticity. After all, what is the alternative? Striving to be deceitful? Dishonest? Insincere? Fake?
Definition of Authenticity in a Person
Authenticity involves aligning one's actions with their genuine self, while being authentic entails behaving in a manner consistent with one's values, beliefs, motivations, and inherent personality traits. Undeniably, striving for authenticity raises additional inquiries. What exactly constitutes my true self? Is the self I perceive genuinely authentic? What if aspects of my true self remain hidden from my consciousness? Must I always embody my true self? What if there is a discrepancy between my perception of my true self and how others perceive it? Does that render me inauthentic? Or does it imply that those who deem me inauthentic have misunderstood? Perhaps gaining a clearer understanding of authenticity in a person can be aided by considering what it is not.
Authenticity in a person differs from honesty. Honesty refers to the quality of being truthful, indicating our willingness and ability to convey the truth. However, there are instances when we opt to withhold the complete truth. We may selectively share certain aspects while concealing others. Sometimes, we may "shape" the truth to make it more acceptable or present it in a manner that suits our purposes. On occasion, we might even tell a small falsehood—a harmless white lie—if we believe it is necessary to safeguard ourselves or others. Have you ever taken a sick day without actually being ill?
Authenticity should not be confused with consistency. Consistency implies that our identity, demeanor, reactions, and responses remain unchanged across different situations. It suggests that our behavior is reliable and predictable. Like honesty, we appreciate consistency because being predictable fosters reliability and being reliable allows others to trust us. This is how we establish secure and beneficial social connections.
Authenticity In a Person
In the psychological literature, numerous definitions of authenticity emphasize a crucial element: awareness. This encompasses being mindful of our inner experiences, motives, beliefs, values, and individual traits. However, even this definition faces challenges when we acknowledge that awareness is an aspiration for most individuals, with varying degrees of success in achieving it. Gaining true insight into ourselves can be elusive. Research has demonstrated that we often possess limited self-awareness, contrary to what we may believe.
Does this lack of comprehensive self-awareness render us inauthentic? Should we be held accountable for our perceived inauthenticity due to our limited self-knowledge? Regardless of our shortsightedness, aren't our actions consistent with what we genuinely know? Furthermore, how can our subjective experiences be objectively judged?
Upon further exploration of authenticity, we started contemplating whether it is not merely a personal quality or personality trait but perhaps an emotion itself. Authenticity in a person exhibits several characteristics commonly associated with emotions:
It evokes positive reactions: Being authentic generates positive emotions and elicits a sense of well-being
It varies in intensity. There are moments when we feel authentic and other times when we do not
It is unpredictable: We cannot accurately anticipate when we will experience authenticity in the future
It is influenced by our progress towards goals: Feeling authentic arises when we successfully act in alignment with our values, beliefs, and motivations
It can be self-referential or directed towards others: We experience positive emotions when we perceive ourselves or others as being authentic
It can coexist with contrasting emotions: Feelings such as fear, threat, disappointment, or disgust can arise alongside authenticity
It is predominantly subjective: We experience authenticity only when evaluating a situation justifies that emotional response. For instance, we would not describe someone engaging in disruptive, vulgar, or violent behavior as authentic
Is Achieving Authenticity Easy?
Achieving authenticity involves aligning your actions, choices, and behaviors with your true self. Here are some steps that can help you in the process:
Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your values, beliefs, passions, and goals. Understand what truly matters to you and what drives youSelf-Awareness: Cultivate self-awareness by paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and reactions in different situations. Understand how your inner experiences shape your outward behavior
Embrace Vulnerability: Authenticity often requires being vulnerable and embracing your true feelings, even if they may be uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be genuine and transparent in expressing who you are
Overcome Fear: Fear of judgment or rejection can hinder authenticity. Recognize and challenge these fears, understanding that staying true to yourself is more important than seeking approval from others
Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness practices to stay present and connected with your authentic self. This helps you make conscious choices aligned with your values and avoid being influenced by external pressures
Remember, achieving authenticity is a personal process, and it may look different for everyone. Stay true to yourself, be kind to yourself along the way, and embrace the unique expression of who you are.
Authenticity As a Personal Value
Authenticity can be considered a personal value for many individuals. It is a value that reflects the importance placed on being true to oneself, embracing one's genuine identity, and acting in alignment with one's core values, beliefs, and motivations.
For those who prioritize authenticity as a value, it becomes a guiding principle in their decision-making, behavior, and relationships. They strive to live authentically and value honesty, transparency, and congruence between their inner experiences and outward expressions. They may prioritize authenticity in their interactions, seeking genuine connections and avoiding pretense or deception.
However, it is essential to note that values can vary from person to person, and not everyone may prioritize authenticity as a core value. Individuals may hold different values and prioritize personal growth and self-expression aspects. It is subjective and can differ based on personal beliefs, cultural influences, and individual perspectives.