Being authentically yourself is something that should come naturally. We should just grow up that way and never have to give it a second thought…….shouldn’t we?
We’re living in an inauthentic world
Sadly we’re moulded by a world that favours the inauthentic. From office politics in traditional jobs, to false information in news feeds and celebrities pretending to be anyone but themselves, we are surrounded by the inauthentic.
How often do you pretend to be someone you’re not? Or mimic people around you? Or compromise on what you feel is right? If you’re being inauthentic you’re likely to feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
Think ‘Hyacinth Bucket’ from Keeping up appearances……if you’re old enough to remember it of course!
Why is authenticity so important?
Apart from the fact that as humans we’re set to spot authenticity, and so we can tell when someone isn’t being authentic, it generally doesn’t make us feel good when we’re not being ourselves. Speaking as someone who has been inauthentic at times throughout my life, I know that it’s exhausting trying to mimic someone else or pretend that I’m something I’m not. And if that inauthenticity breaks your values too, the emotional load can be overwhelming. Basically what you’re saying to yourself is that you’re not quite good enough. And that generally comes from a lack of confidence.
The price of inauthenticity
When you’re being inauthentic you’re generally at odds with yourself and so you won’t be feeling very good. You’ll be full of self-doubt; you’ll be trying to blend in an not draw attention to yourself; often you’ll be fearful of being judged; and your self worth will be defined by comparing yourself to others. None of which is easy or comfortable to live with. And none of which is necessary!
Are you inauthentic?
Do you have a few worrying, niggling thoughts right now and you’re wondering if you may be inauthentic, even just at times? Can you identify with any of these:
- Do you do things you don’t like or believe in just to please other people?
- Do you put a big emphasis on material things?
- Do you believe that everyone should think and act the same?
- Do you play down the importance of life experiences?
- Do you withhold your love and wonder what the big deal is?
- Do you even really love yourself?
- Do you talk over the top of others and never really listen to them?
- Do you think everyone else is always at fault?
- Do you ignore your inner voice or gut?
These can be real tell-tale signs that you’ve been affected by the environment and are no longer truly, authentically, amazingly you.
Being truly authentic
The good news is that we don’t need to learn how to be authentic; we just need to unlearn how to be unauthentic!
True authenticity comes when interior skills/beliefs and exterior image are in perfect alignment. So you do what feels right; you do things to make other people feel loved; and you express your thoughts, feelings and views unapologetically.
The first step in this is actually quite hard……well, it’s ben quite hard for me anyway. I’ve been so ill over the last few years that I’ve hidden myself away and become quite scared of the world. Of the judgement and disapproval that so part of every day life these days. That people with my illness are wide open to on a daily basis. But slowly I have learnt to accept myself and stop seeking approval from others. And if you’re thinking you may be a little inauthentic then that’s where you need to start too.
It requires real vulnerability to be authentic. You’ll be judged for who you are and not the for the facade you’re wearing or the role you’re playing.
Your external look and actions must match your internal feelings and values. Individual style and personality become very important right down to making sure you’re wearing clothes that suit not just your body, but also your personality. The smile you wear when you greet people must come from within. It’s taken me time to work on all these things and I know from experience that you don’t have to suddenly switch everything overnight. Choose one thing and do it differently; do it from your heart. And work up from there.
Isn’t that better than being full of self doubt? Blending in so to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Fearing that judgement that is unavoidable these days (although I hope humanity moves past this phase into a more accepting and understanding phase). And comparing yourself to others to define your self-worth?
After all, why would you want to be like anybody else? You are unique. You are amazing. You are you! So choose to be the best you can be, commit to yourself and don’t compare yourself to anyone! (and that’s as much of a reminder to me as it is to you!)