22 Oct What Does it Mean to be Authentic?
“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
– Brené Brown
Being authentic means feeling comfortable sharing your flaws and failures as much as your triumphs and successes, and that you don’t need to be liked by others to feel as though you matter. It is a true recognition that you matter regardless of what others think, and being able to embrace your weaknesses as much as your strengths.
Being authentic means not striving to be what others expect us to be, or even what we think we are supposed to be, but rather loving the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. It means knowing that we can form opinions on our own, and to voice those opinions in a way that holds true to our values. Most importantly, being authentic means staying true to our core values, even when they are different from someone else’s.
We have all had those moments where we faked being happy when what we really wanted to do was fall apart. Why do we do that? Because we have been programmed to believe that who we are isn’t enough, and that how we feel isn’t ok. We are taught very early in life that people will only truly like us if we present them with something that feels good to them. This fear often holds us back from being authentically ourselves.
Imagine arriving to work, and when asked “how are you today?” you actually respond with how you are feeling; “I am feeling awful, my kids were having complete meltdowns” or maybe it sounds like, “my morning was horrible, my husband and I got into an argument”. Most of us would never say these things, even though they are exactly what we are experiencing and feeling. Of course there may be some people you aren’t willing to share that information with, and that’s okay too! Being authentic means doing and sharing what we feel when we want to, and with whom we want to share that with. Being authentic means not being scared to share those feelings in order to make others more comfortable, and sharing what we want to based on what we may need in that moment.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that being authentic isn’t something that we have to search for, it is being exactly who we are. To each person this will look different, and that is what is so beautiful about authenticity!
Written by Bliss therapist Tammy Benwell. Learn more about Tammy and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.
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