Constantly dealing with people is tough, especially when it’s a part of your work. But does it hit you particularly harder than everyone else? When a problem arises, everyone bands together to solve it, but while the rest can easily move on afterwards, you’re zonked.
Have you ever wondered why that is? Well, it’s probably because you’re not being true to yourself. You’ve put on a mask to help you fit in with the rest of the group, so when something happens that threatens to uncover that mask, you have to put in a little extra effort to keep pretending that all is well. And that requires more energy.
What Does it Mean to Be Authentic?
Simply put, to be authentic means to be true to yourself. It is knowing who you are, what you need, what you want, and being unafraid in asking for them.
Being authentic means you are unwilling to compromise your values for the sole purpose of trying to please someone else. Say you want to get married and have kids someday, but your partner doesn’t. Don’t try to pretend otherwise just to keep him from leaving. You’ll regret it in the long run, grow to resent your partner, and just end up wasting each other’s time.
Authenticity also involves getting in touch with your feelings and being unashamed to act on them. When a coworker says something that offends you, don’t just laugh it off as if it’s nothing important. Be open about how you feel and explain why her statement was off-putting to you.
What Are Some Ways You Can Be Authentic?
As you might imagine, there’s more to being authentic than simply being real. So here are some helpful tips to become a more genuine version of yourself.
Face Your Fears With Courage
The fear of being ridiculed and shunned for simply being ourselves is a very present and real feeling. This is why we seek to hide who we really are in the first place. Perhaps when you were a child, you decided to try on your mother’s lipstick and got scolded for it. This incident taught you that being curious and exploring new things is wrong. So you told yourself that you didn’t like makeup and that you shouldn’t take any risks.
Well, you’re no longer that helpless little child. Get in touch with what you used to love before life came and shut the door on you, and have the courage to try them again on your own terms.
Discover Your Values
What you value says a lot about who you are. Think hard on what brings you happiness and contentment. Is it spending time with your family or your friends? Would you rather have smooth-running plans or are you more spontaneous? Do you prefer a quiet Friday at home compared to partying? Knowing what’s important to you will prevent you from doing things you don’t want to do just to fit in.
Lastly, be tolerant towards differences. While you may value honesty, another person may value resourcefulness and play to his strengths by developing ways to get around the system. We all grew up with unique ways of learning and living our lives, so keep that in mind before you start judging the actions of others.
I’m not talking about answering exams, but the way you communicate your values, feelings, and beliefs to others in an open manner. If you believe that raising children requires a firm hand, control, and discipline, then don’t relent when you meet a parent who says otherwise.
Acknowledge that you both have a different set of values and respect your differences. What matters is that you were able to express your views without having to yield to another’s. You might even learn a thing or two from engaging in an honest conversation with someone whose beliefs are vastly different from yours.
Identify Your Life’s Purpose
Peer pressure is something everyone can relate to, especially growing up. To avoid being the bullied kid in school, you learned to join the bullies instead. It’s a survival mechanism that’s totally understandable. But now that you’re fully grown, is that still the case? It’s normal to want to fit in at first, but as you go through life, you’ll find that being at peace with yourself is far more important. Your actions and decisions will feel more natural.
So go ahead and be open, meet people and find yourself a new set of friends. It won’t be easy, but to belong in a crowd where you’re welcomed and celebrated just for being you? That, in itself, is a great reward for being authentic.
Monitor Yourself Continuously
You’ll doubt yourself sometimes, and that’s ok. In the heat of anger, you might say or do things that you’ll end up deeply regretting minutes later. In this day and age where social media is so rampant, where people can hide behind anonymity, it’s easy to fall prey to online rudeness.
So when something happens that makes you feel bad, ask yourself why. What are your feelings trying to tell you about yourself? And what can you learn from this experience so that it does not happen again? Constantly keeping yourself in check will make you more accountable for your growth and actions.
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”William James
“Be your unapologetically weird self.”Chris Sacca
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”Lao Tzu
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”Friedrich Nietzsche
“Man’s ideal state is realized when he has fulfilled the purpose for which he is born. And what is it that reason demands of him? Something very easy – that he live in accordance with his own nature.”Seneca
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”Bruce Lee
“The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.”Rita Mae Brown
“[I]n all my research, the greatest leaders looked inward and were able to tell a good story with authenticity and passion.”Deepak Chopra
“Authenticity is about being true to who you are.”Michael Jordan
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”Oscar Wilde
“Be yourself—not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”Henry David Thoreau
“Originality is the best form of rebellion.”Mike Sasso
“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 out true selves be seen.”Brene Brown
“Live authentically. Why would you continue to compromise something that’s beautiful to create something that is fake?”Steve Maraboli
“Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good.”Alan Cohen
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”Carl Jung
“Aspire to be authentic.”Yann Martel
“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”Christopher Morley
“If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”Brene Brown
“We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.”Barbara de Angelis
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
“This above all; to thine own self be true.”William Shakespeare
“Just be what you are and speak from your guts and heart—it’s all a man has.”Hubert Humphrey
“We are constantly invited to be who we are.”Henry David Thoreau
“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”Eckhart Tolle
“To find yourself, think for yourself.”Socrates
“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.”Coco Chanel
“Authenticity is your most precious commodity as a leader.”Marcus Buckingham
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”Herman Melville
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”Oscar Wilde
“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.”Chris Guillebeau
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.Steve Jobs
Frequently Asked Questions About Authenticity
What does it mean to be authentic or have authenticity?
To be authentic means to live your life by your own truths, on your own terms. It is knowing who you are as a person and making choices based on what’s important to you, rather than doing what other people tell you to do.
Why is it important to be authentic?
It is important to be authentic because by knowing who you are and by listening to your own voice, you grant yourself the freedom to live the kind of life you want. You no longer need to keep up appearances for the sake of others. You need only be answerable to yourself.
Why is authenticity attractive?
Authenticity is attractive because it is genuine. Nobody likes a flaky person, who says sweet things to your face only to stab you in the back the moment you’re out of the room. Your authenticity can be felt by others. Your honesty and confidence will make people admire and trust you.
A Final Word
To live authentically is to live a life filled with your own personal truths. Seek out what’s important to you, be firm in your beliefs, and be respectful towards differing opinions. Surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are, and I guarantee you’ll live a happier and freer life.
Have any other quotes about being authentic you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
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