How to be Authentic in an Inauthentic World
There is a real push to be ‘authentic’ in society at the moment. And yet, society itself is far from it. I can’t help but wonder if we fully grasp what it means to be authentic. I believe being truly authentic is our greatest strength. But, are we seeing true authenticity or just more masking up? A different version of inauthentic behaviour? Do we even know how to be authentic? I’d like to hold the magnifying glass up to authenticity so that we can really understand whether the road we are on is leading us to our freedom or into a different set of boxes.
My worry is that the society we live in is so focused on hearing its own voice that it forgets that everyone else has a voice too. If we fight for our own authenticity doesn’t that need to extend to the authenticity of others? If not, isn’t it slightly hypocritical? I get to be 100% me, but you have to be like me too. Doesn’t sound right when you put it like that, does it? Our understanding of how to be authentic needs to encompass compassion for the authenticity of others, or there’s a serious double standard going on. And, fair is fair, right!
Why don’t we know how to be Authentic?
We are not taught to be authentic. Far from it. We are taught to sit, hands in lap, waiting for approval and instructions on how to behave. We are generations deep in good behaviour. But, the good behaviour has seen us stray from our own story, our own truth. We seek approval to the point of losing a piece of ourselves and our identities. And then we become bitter and angry because deep down we want to feel free. We flare up when we see someone else expressing their authentic self because we want to be able to do the same.
We don’t know how to be authentic because we get mixed messages. And, sadly, the new version of authenticity we are seeing in the world today brings with it a whole new set of mixed messages. At the end of the day true authenticity is not only allowing ourselves to be true to who we are, but also allowing it (and accepting it) for those around us. We cannot go around with a double standard on authenticity. Being authentic has to be being open, loving and accepting of all. We don’t get to decide what the standard of authenticity is, or how to be authentic based on our set of rules. Being authentic simply means being true to your original nature and not putting up a facade for the benefit of others. This applies to everyone, in their own way. No ifs, buts or maybes.
The Bar is too High
This society wants so much of us. We must be over-achievers but never brag. We must be perfect parents and never lose our temper. And, along with a million other things, we must show the world we are good enough as we are while being pushed down for not being good enough. It’s a ridiculous struggle to figure out what to do, how to do it and where you’re going wrong. No wonder we haven’t got a clue what it would even mean for us to show up authentically! And on top of that it’s compare, compare, compare! Are you as good, as polite, as professional as the person next to you.
So, what happens? We stop showing up as our true selves for fear of being rejected. We start believing that who we are will not be accepted. This programming has to be deleted and we need to start again. Being who we are should never be questioned or judged. In fact, the more we are honest about who we are the easier it will be to find our own likeminded tribe of people. Instead of trying to be like the people who don’t ‘get you’, you can open up to those who do. They are the ones that will help you thrive.
Accepting Authenticity that we don’t Understand
I am a believer in the simple principle of living life from a state of love. Love for all. That includes love for yourself and everyone around you. We will never understand what makes our neighbour, cousin or colleague tick, but we need to respect it. To me we should always be looking at ‘how would this make me feel’. Why am I talking about how we react to the authenticity of others? Because, the more we open up to understanding where others come from with their quirks and idiosyncrasies the more we can relate them to our own experience of life. And, when we understand their need to be authentic, we slowly release our own authenticity.
Unfortunately, we are programmed to judge others! Whether they dress like a goth, a hippy or a jock, there will always be someone judging. We judge what we don’t understand. If we learn to look beyond the surface and see a soul trying to express itself, we will find we have more in common with them than we think. We are meant to be unique. We are each designed for our own life purpose, and they are vastly different, just as we are. This is part of the magnificent plan of this world. We are part of the magnificent plan. So, see the similarities instead of the differences. Then, allow yourself to be excited about your own authentic value. In simple terms, how can we expect to be accepted for who we truly are and then judge others for who they truly are?
Love them without Needing to Please them
In other words, you don’t need to be anyone for anybody. Let’s be absolutely clear here. This doesn’t mean not caring. In fact, being authentic should always come with a level of respect for all mankind, because you understand what it means to be respected for who you are. But, you don’t have to: mind your tone, straighten your tie or only speak when spoken to. You are your own beautiful creation and you don’t need to fit into anyone’s box. As long as you remember that everyone around you has their own way of seeing the world and you respect that too.
Sadly, we feel like being authentic is going to offend someone. How awful! And, as mentioned before, there will always be someone judging you. But, you have to arrive at a place in your life where you know you are deserving of love and respect. You have to know in your heart that showing up as your true self is the only way to live a happy life. With or without approval.
Authenticity and a Spiritual Connection
Personal growth has led me more and more towards my spiritual side. This is because the more I open up to learning about who I am at my core, the more I see how we are all connected. The more I know we are more than a body. And, the more I know we need to step into our spiritual truth to find our true selves and to set ourselves free in this life. I find a strong connection between spirituality and being true to yourself.
What I’m trying to say is that I believe to be truly authentic you need to be connected to your soul. To the essence of who you are. Otherwise, who are you showing up as? You want to show up free from it all, raw and unique and loving it! This is who you are on a soul level. That is why practises like mindfulness and meditation bring you closer to your true self and allow you to open up and show yourself to the world. These practises bring you to a place of knowing that you are more than enough as you were created. Connecting to your truth can only bring freedom and authenticity.
Seeing a Shift in Society
Haven’t we come far enough as a society that we can let our hair down a little? I’d like to think that we have. I mean there’s no one measuring our skirts or making us walk around with books on our heads. But, we still have a long way to go. And I believe we need to lead by example. Embrace who you are, quirks and all. Show the world your unique contribution. The more people that step out and show that our differences are what make this world grow, the more people become informed and understand the benefits of authenticity.
There are many brave souls out there that have fought to be seen for who they are. This isn’t easy when you’re seen as different. But, the more we set an example of love and truth the more we become accepting of each other. Society is slow to catch on and we need to keep reminding it that the more people live a life true to themselves, the happier we all can be. I’d like to believe we can heal, one step at a time, until we accept and love ourselves and each other.
Make sure it’s Real
I wouldn’t be able to finish off this blog without pointing out the obvious. Make sure you’re being real. The great problem out there is the push to be accepted. Realize that trying to create a persona that appears ‘free’ is not true authenticity. Look within and allow yourself to just ‘be’. Know that freedom means removing all the masks once and for all. Listen to your truth and show up as a beautiful, loving soul, without placing yourself into another box. Just one with a different colour or pattern this time.
Say you were once shy and quiet, and you realized making people laugh got their approval so you changed your entire personality to ‘fit in’. This is just one example of someone who is not being true to themselves. Acceptance is one of the most important things as a human because we need community, but your community is out there for you without having to be someone you’re not. Be honest with yourself about whether you are actually being authentic or whether you’ve created an illusion of authenticity. Remember, the illusion shows up for you just as much as it does for those you think you’ve created it for. Honest self-observation will help you know if you are being true to your self or not.
Set yourself Free
To me being authentic means setting yourself free. Laughing out loud instead of obsessing over decorum and ‘polite conversation’. Accepting your truth as enough. We will quite simply never be good enough for everyone and we need to come to terms with that, as difficult as it may be. We are different for a very good reason and once we accept that we can seek out those that resonate with us. The one’s that help our light shine brighter instead of dimming it.
Know that accepting yourself as you are not only sets you free it also influences those around you to set themselves free. Yes, it may be a long road ahead, but why start tomorrow when you could start today! Let’s light up the world with our true, authentic selves. Wishing you laughter, freedom and pure joy!
Thanks for reading,
If you enjoyed this blog, head over and check out this one: How To Find Truth, And Love, In The Stillness
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