Being authentic is not easy. Especially in a society that adores perfection and masks over authenticity. Let go of maks to be yourself in a fake world. This might seems like a brave move or something that is almost impossible. Because rather than asking ourselves “Do I like myself?” “Do I like the person I have became?” We tend to ask ourselves: “What if they won’t like me?”; “What if I will be me, they won’t accept it?”

Our society tells you: “Be yourself.” But what does that mean?

Furthermore, we want to be authentic, even if we don’t know what it is. That’s the paradox of the modern version of ‘be yourself.’ Rather than searching within, people are trying to match what ‘authentic’ means to others.

Be yourselfeveryone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde

We’ve turned inner exploration into a guessing game.

Although, being yourself is not about standing out or being different from others. Being authentic is following your path, not comparing yourself to others. When you try to be ‘different,’ you disconnect from what you want.

When being yourself becomes the new fad, self-development is no longer a meaningful journey. The mandate to become different turns you into anything but authentic.

Authenticity is about staying true to what you believe, not about your image— to be brave to express your genuine feelings and opinions.

What “being authentic” means?

“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude, and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”— Brene Brown 

Moreover, authenticity is about presence, living in the moment with conviction and confidence, and staying true to yourself. An authentic person puts the people around them at ease, like a comforting, old friend who welcomes us in and makes us feel at home.

There’s never any doubt or questioning the integrity of an authentic individual. Their behavior, in terms of ethics and morals.

Authenticity has faced something of a public relations crisis in recent times. It seems the word has lost meaning because it’s now ubiquitous in business, on personal blogs, and even in style magazines. Everyone wants to be authentic. Though the people who preach its virtue often don’t understand exactly what the word means.

Being authentic is defined as: “not false or copied; genuine; real.”  “Representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.”

Hard work? Really?

So, being authentic might seems like a hard job, but to be honest I personally think it is actually far more difficult to be trying somebody that you are not. It must be exhausting, the constant pretends, constant worry whether how you act is acceptable. By wearing such a mask all of the time, you are losing connection with yourself. You are losing yourself… in the name of what? FEAR?? Think about it, is it really worth it?

For me, far more scary is losing myself and the connection with myself in order to try to please somebody else. If I would be trying to be somebody I am not for other people’s acceptance, I wouldn’t be feeling that I am living my life. It would feel like a trap. I would be trapped in a body and a life that isn’t mine! And that is a really scary place to be! Even the thought of it makes my hair stand.

However, I am not saying that being authentic all the time is easy, it is not, because you will meet critique, but that is ok. Not everybody will always like you and you won’t always like everybody. Allow yourself for this luxury. Stop trying to please everyone all the time but yourself! You are living your own life, start claiming it as yours! Moreover, the life you have belongs to you! Don’t be afraid of life! Life can be a wonderful adventure. But remember it is up to you what life you are going to live.

Tips on how to stay authentic

So when you have reevaluated yourself and your life… Here are few tips that can help you stay authentic and real with yourself:

  • Engaging your authentic– self. Accept yourself for who you are. Accepting yourself often requires a mental attitude adjustment. Try to be slower to criticize yourself or see yourself as inferior to others. Focus on accepting and appreciating who you are as a unique individual. This will lead to authentic behaviors in line with your personality.
  • Support your self-esteem-  Every person has valid thoughts and ideas and is gifted and intelligent in unique ways. It is hard to act in a way that is genuine to your personality if you doubt yourself or lack confidence in yourself. People who lack self-esteem often try to act like people they perceive to be confident or preen and act as if they’re overly confident. This is a key sign of inauthenticity.
  • Act on your personal beliefs and values. Authentic people are in touch with their moral compass and their personal set of beliefs. This includes religious beliefs, moral beliefs, and beliefs of any other kind. These beliefs should be evident in your daily behaviors. Many people unthinkingly adopt a partner’s, parent’s, or friend’s beliefs without figuring out if they are right for you.
  • Put time into personal growth. There is a great deal of authenticity to be found in growing yourself and pursuing interests that fulfill you as a person. This can be done through classes, volunteering, or hobbies. 
  • Be fully present in whatever circumstances you find yourself inBeing present will lead to greater authenticity because you’ll be able to fully focus on the experiences, conversations, and interactions you’re having in the present moment. The people you’re engaging with will be able to tell you’re engaged and present and will perceive this as a sign of personal authenticity.
  • Trust your intuition when it comes to behavior and relationships. Intuition is the inner voice or gut reaction which helps you make decisions and informs your behavior. In terms of ethical decisions, your personal intuition can also form a “moral compass” to help guide you in making personal decisions.
  •  Express your thoughts and feelings. Talk about your opinion when it matters to you. Authentic people are comfortable speaking their minds and communicating when they have a problem or are appreciative of something. If you feel inhibited to speak your mind or realize that you frequently only say what you think those around you expect to hear, you’re likely behaving in-authentically.
  • Ask people for help when you need it. Genuine people accept that they aren’t perfect and ask for help when needed. Authenticity is not the same thing as perfection. Asking those around you for help is a sign of humility and authenticity, and shows that you respect the skills and talents of the people in your life.
  • Be vulnerable. Share personal information about yourself and be open about your flaws as you start to trust others. Don’t reveal everything if you don’t need to. If you keep your true self hidden, you’ll find it hard to build an authentic relationship.
  • Don’t put on a different face or personality for social functions. In order to be authentic, simply be yourself in all social and interpersonal contexts. It can be tempting to act the way you think others want you to act, or to posture and act like you have an inflated ego in order to impress new acquaintances. However, these behaviors are not authentic, and other people will see through them quickly.
  • Don’t tell lies unless they’re absolutely necessary. Honesty is a key component of authenticity. If lying is a routine part of your behavior, eventually your friends and other people in your life will catch on. Most likely, they’ll find your lies very inauthentic.
  • Maintain long-term relationships. Build trust and respect with other people. A key sign of authenticity is the ability to form and maintain lasting friendships, as well as romantic and professional relationships. Long-term relationships are not built overnight but are rewarding and self-affirming.

With love always,

Horizon Mental Health Clinic

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