What It Means To Be Your Authentic Self And Why It’s Important
The one thing you can do better than anyone else in this world is to be yourself. Why then isauthenticity and being your authentic self so elusive for so many people?
Surprisingly, for many, showing up in the world as yourself can confusing, uncomfortable, and scary. This is especially true for younger generations who are steeped in social media and incessant cellphone texting. Previous generations were spared the onslaught of digital technology as well as a false sense of belonging to massive digital communities of individuals they barely know.
Add to this, the stark and ubiquitous social and political divide created by the current all-or-nothing, us-versus-them American mindset. The truth is few people truly fit squarely in either extreme.
Definition of Authenticity
Most dictionary definitions of authenticity emphasize true product qualities so they don’t apply well to people and their inanimate qualities. But, the idea and use of the word are not new. It is, however, notoriously difficult to define, precisely measure, and tease out causal relationships between closely related factors such as well-being, confidence, and self-determination just to mention a few.
Nevertheless, a useful and succinct definition of authenticity is living your life according to your own values and goals, rather than those of other people.
The idea is that when you work from your inside out, from what you feel or sense inside yourself, you’re true to yourself. That’s authentic. For example, follow your gut or your heart, which are both associated with the whole felt sense of the choices you make and actions you take.
When you’re being authentic, you speak for yourself and stand up for yourself. In fact, it happens more naturally and with greater ease. And, it’s less effortful than mimicking and justifying some kind of persona. This is because when you are being genuine, you get a full embodied sense that you’re acting on what you believe is true and what has value for you from your life experience.
Authentic Versus Different
Sometimes people equate authenticity with being different or iconoclastic. In fact, this is incorrect. It’s only true when you sincerely have different opinions and preferences. If, however, you know you’re like someone else in particular ways or you agree with some popular beliefs and behaviors, then acting as your authentic self would likely yield agreement or consistency in these cases, not contrast.
Standing Your Ground Verus Simply Getting Your Way
Another misconception about authenticity is that being your true self means you always stand your ground and get your way. This is also untrue. Most reasonable and amicable people consider others’ wants, needs, and preferences. They consider options and compromises. You can still be authentic and feel good about going along with others.
10 Reasons Why Authenticity Is Important
There are many benefits to knowing who you truly are and acting from that understanding.
- Greater clarity about your wants, needs, and aspirations
- Better knowledge about and appreciation for yourself
- More confidence and self-assuredness about who you are and the choices you make
- Less vigilant and worried about others’ choices and opinions and how they reflect on you
- More apt to feel more at ease and open
- Improved balance, health, and well-being
- People trust and respect you more because you’re notably genuine
- More true passion as you act according to who you really are and what you really want
- Better self-esteem and honest (non-egoistic) self-pride by following your passion, confidence, and integrity
- Greater chances of living the life you personally want
So, be more authentic and reap these benefits. Resist getting pulled into fads and trends or copycatting personas on social media. Step out of the game of share and despair. Allocate more time to self-reflection and getting to know yourself. Then cultivate your own identity and perspectives, behave in ways that are consistent with who you really are, and stand up for what you think and do.