Authenticity has become a buzzword in recent years. However, it’s still underrated and not well understood.
It’s more than being honest with the world. Authenticity is primarily about being honest and compassionate with yourself.
There are many advantages to being authentic. The biggest one is that you can stop feeling the need to change your words and actions to impress others.
You can relax and be yourself.
Before you can be authentic, it’s important to know yourself. This includes your values, strengths and goals. Authenticity becomes possible when you know what’s important to you.
Here are some keys to embracing authenticity.
1. Give up the need to appear perfect
When you don’t need to look perfect, you’re in the position to be honest. Since no one is perfect, no one can be both perfect and honest at the same time.
Avoid putting on a show for the rest of the world. It might make you look good, but it also makes you seem aloof. It keeps others at a distance.
It’s okay to be less than spectacular. Be the best you can at being yourself.
2. Know your values and live by them
Values are like the guiding principles for your life. They might be things like being helpful or kind, spending time in nature, healthy eating, or honesty.
If you know your values and live by them consistently, you’ve got a head start in the authentic department.
Make a list of your values and select the five that are most important to you. Revisit the list regularly to see if you’re living your life according to these values. Would it be obvious to others that you hold these values,
Make your decisions based upon your values. Be willing to share your values with others.
3. Notice when you’re not being authentic
It’s not easy to be authentic all the time. You might find yourself changing based on the situation.
A first date or a job interview is a good example. Of course, everyone wants to put their best foot forward. The key is not to cross the line to pretending to be someone you’re not.
Take note of those times your authenticity starts to wane.
Be gentle with yourself. You can notice something about yourself and even look to change it, without judging yourself for it.
4. Know your goals and have a vision for your life
What do you want out of life, Do you know, Are you willing to let others know,
By knowing your goals and having a vision for your life, you can you live your life accordingly.
Make a list of your short-term and long-term goals. How well do they align with your values, If they don’t, consider the problems this might create.
5. Embrace your defining characteristics,
Describe yourself honestly. Now ask yourself if a casual acquaintance would describe you the same way, How about someone that knows you well, How about your closest friend,
How many people know you well, If there aren’t many, ask yourself why. If you’re living authentically, it should be easy for someone to develop an accurate opinion of you.
What are your negative characteristics, Are you impatient or messy, Maybe sometimes you don’t make careful decisions or isolate yourself. Are you willing to allow others to see these characteristics or do you attempt to hide them,
6. Tell the truth
If you’re being authentic, why would you need to lie, This pertains especially to anything you say about yourself. Admit your mistakes, weaknesses, and frailties. Share your opinions honestly and freely.
Of course, being tactful is important. Some disclosures require care in choosing the best time and place. Different degrees of honesty may be called for in different situations.
In the end, though, honesty is the best policy.
The curious thing is that in the long run being honest will draw others to you more than changing who you are to please people. People respect and appreciate honesty, especially when mixed with sensitivity and tact.
7. Simplify your life
What if you got rid of everything that’s not essential for who you are, Imagine keeping only what truly represents your preferences and your true self.
I learned how helpful this can be when I sold my large home of 17 years, got rid of 90% of what I owned and moved to a much smaller, simpler home.
You can find your true essence by stripping away the non-essentials. Start with the clothes you never wear, the things you never use, and the activities you don’t enjoy. Only keep the things that mean the most to you.
8. Do what you say you’ll do
Keep your word and follow through on your promises. If you don’t want to do it, don’t agree to do it.
For some, that’s where the problem lies, in saying no. The good thing is that saying no is a muscle that gets stronger with practice.
When you say no to things you don’t want to do, you’ll be more comfortable with yourself. Others will trust you more, too.
When your words and actions match, you’re demonstrating authenticity.
Authenticity expands happiness and intimacy
Life becomes easier when you’re living authentically. You’ll no longer feel the exhaustion that comes from constantly changing your opinions, attitudes, and personality to please others.
You’ll no longer feel the need to protect yourself from others. As you become more authentic with your thoughts, words, and actions you’ll feel the emotional freedom it brings.