Authenticity, it’s such a buzzword for years now. Did you ever think about what that really means to you?
There are a number of things that contribute to authenticity for me:
- Honesty with myself to be conscious of what is really me: my likes and dislikes, my strengths and weaknesses, my beliefs and values, my feelings and needs, etc.
- Self-esteem to honour the thoughts and feelings I have and to express them outwardly
- Willingness to let go of values, beliefs, goals and behaviour that are not authentically mine
- Courage to show up as my true self, as it not only connects me to my vulnerability, but it becomes visible for others, too
- A sense of my life’s purpose, which helps and guides me to move towards authenticity
- Open-mindedness takes away the judgment of what is the right thing for others as well as me to say, do or feel
- Love and compassion for daring to be authentic and failing sometimes
Brené Brown speaks to authenticity not being something we inherently have, but something that needs to be practiced: “I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.“
Now let’s look at least at one thing authenticity is not: uniformity. It doesn’t look the same each day! In that respect authenticity is like potatoes. Think fries, mashed potatoes, potato soup, tater tots, potato salad, hash browns or baked potatoes topped of with anything you find in your fridge. Potatoes are so versatile you can roast them, fry them, bake them or even juice them raw. Every dish has the same ingredient. Still they are so different. The potato is always authentically the same, yet the outcome is different each time.
Just like a potato dish can look and taste different depending on what it’s mixed with I will behave different according to the circumstances while still maintaining my authenticity. It is expressing our divers aspects of self that really indicates true authenticity. When you feel free to be who you are at any given moment that is ultimate genuineness.
What it comes down to is Oscar Wilde’s “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”, so don’t think authenticity, simply be it.