Being authentic means being true to yourself, but how can you learn to be authentic and what does that mean anyway?
Authentic is a word that is bandied about a lot these days. You're probably often asked, Are you authentic? Authenticity appears to be a requirement from everyone, and yet we rarely see it in the media, social or otherwise.
What does being authentic mean? I’d say it’s being yourself. Which is kind of weird as what choice is there but to be ourselves?
We always have a choice, and it’s the same with being authentic. We, like everyone else, choose how we present ourselves to the world, but we are surrounded by images and text about people who are probably not being themselves. After all, Instagram and Facebook are full of people showing their ‘best’ side - their airbrushed bodies and happy faces. Deep down we know it’s a front, but we get swept up in it and start comparing, and then perhaps copying, and before long we’re also adding the layers of pretence!
We try to be someone we’re not and we become inauthentic.
So how do we start being authentic once more?
Let’s start with defining inauthenticity. It’s the feeling of not being your true self.
It’s pretending to be someone you’re not. You don’t need to add anything to be authentic because the key is to take away what isn’t real.
Let me repeat, to be authentic, you need to take away what isn’t real.
Lower the mask you’ve been wearing.
Stop agreeing to anything that feels wrong.
Don’t compare yourself with others.
Don’t feel you only have to share the positive.
Do you remember the TV sitcom ‘Keeping Up Appearances’? We laughed at Hyacinth Bucket, but how much happier she’d have been if she decided not to ‘keep up appearances’ but be happy in her own skin? She could have kicked off her shoes, invited the neighbours round and poured a very large gin and tonic. Hyacinth would enjoy her life instead of being in a constant state of stress.
When you can be yourself, without striving to present a different image, life becomes easier! Being you is so much more relaxing. You also feel freer when you stop trying to be something else – what other people think you should be, who your parents taught you to be, or what your job demands.
There’s more joy in just being you. Stop working hard to be ‘perfect’ and enjoy who you are and what you have. You can stop judging yourself as being inadequate, and flaunt the talents that make you unique. You learn to trust, and revel in, your own intuition, when you stop listening to everyone else.
As humans we recognize authenticity and are attracted by it. When you can be authentic, people will be drawn to you. They will recognize someone who trusts themselves, believes in themselves and doesn’t try to be anyone else. Sometimes it means being vulnerable and admitting that you’re not perfect. But others will love that because none of us are perfect either, and we recognize another very human, being.
There is no-one else like you, so embrace that and be YOU. After all, as Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”
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About Karen Burge
I found my passion in using my experiences and training to help others through whatever life threw at them. I have studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), Breakthrough Coaching, the Thrive Programme and the Desire Map. This means I can draw on a number of tools and pathways, creating coaching sessions that are completely bespoke to you.