There are many ways to define authenticity, according to Merriam- Webster to be authentic is to be worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact. Sometimes definitions can truly limit the full capacity of which a word can represent. Webster’s definition can be interpreted as a board or a limited definition when thinking about authenticity in terms of human interaction.
A better-suited definition when thinking of human connection, comes from Brené Brown a renowned author and research professor at the University of Huston. Brown has devoted the last thirteen years of her career to studying vulnerability courage, worthiness, and shame. Throughout her research, she has written three # 1 New York Times Bestsellers, which all perpetuate the importance of embracing vulnerability and living a wholehearted life. And in order to do so, an individual must embrace their authentic self. In the words of Brown, authenticity is:
“A daily practice. Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strengths and struggle and connected to each other through loving and resilient human spirit; nurturing connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.”
With such an in-depth perspective on human interaction and connection, this definition best suits the term authenticity, because it deconstructs the elements in which one must shape to live more authentically.
Along with this engaging definition, one must also realize that authenticity requires self- knowledge and self-awareness. By accepting one’s strengths and weakness they are able to hold themselves more accountable because they are connected to their values as well as their desires, which can reflect their way of life.
Authenticity is about being genuine and real, says Mike Robbins, a corporate trainer and the author of “Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken.” It allows us to connect deeply with others because it requires us to be transparent and vulnerable. “It is important because it liberates us from the pressures of always trying to be something else, always trying to be perfect,” Robbins says.
Understanding that one must not aim to be perfect can be difficult, because of societal, familial, or even personal expectations. Authenticity begins when one decides to live more genuinely in every aspect of their lives. Instead of trying to prove themselves to everyone, a genuine and authentic person aims to act on what they value most about themselves and their level of self-awareness.
“Authentic people feel better,” according to researchers on authenticity. They are more resilient, less likely to turn to self-destructive habits for comfort. They tend to be purposeful in their choices and more likely to follow through on their goals.
When you find yourself feeling fragmented, unhappy, bored, stressed, stuck, or uninspired, it could be a sign that you aren’t acting authentically. Living more authentically is no 3 step process, like Brown defines, it is a daily practice that one must uphold within themselves to live more authentically.
As mentioned, living more authentically is no 3 step process, but there are ways to get this process started. Here are 5 tips on creating an authentic life, tips comprised by Polly Campbell a writer on living more authenticly.
5 Tips on Creating an Authentic Life
from Polly Campbell
- Redefine your values
- Reevaluate what feels right to you and align our actions around those things. Get clear on what you care about and authenticity will take hold.
- Foster an open mind
- Rigid, good/bad thinking keeps us trapped in judgment and limitation, which causes us to shut down our vulnerable, authentic self. Challenge yourself to look at all sides of the situation. Be open.
- (Fill in the blank) “If you really knew me you’d know this___________.”
- A prompt Robbins gives to seminar participants. Not only does it prompt introspection and allow people to reveal essential aspects of themselves, it also builds trust, credibility and confidence with the person you are sharing it with.
- Notice when you are being inauthentic
- When you are insincere in your speech, or when you are acting in a way that doesn’t align with your core values. Then explore the fears and beliefs that may create those barriers to your authenticity.
- Trust your instincts
- Often, we feel out of sync when we are acting inauthentic. Things just don’t feel right. Pay attention to those hunches, physical sensations, and impressions.
With a better understanding of what authenticity means and the implications, it has on improving your way of life I suggest you read Part 2 of this article series to gain more knowledge on 10 guideposts, developed by Brené Brown to wholehearted living.