Being authentic is good, isn’t it? In my line of work people are striving to be authentic and celebrate authenticity. A few months back, I had a conversation with a teenage boy who was giving his parents a really difficult time. He was unhelpful around the house, rude in his interactions, not doing his homework assignments for school, etc. When he came to me for a coaching session, he said, “I am being my authentic self.” I giggled in my heart when he said that..after all this is what a teenager would tell you!
Now seriously, what does being authentic mean to you? A rude person in the post office can be authentically themselves. A kind cashier in the supermarket can be authentically themselves.
Does being authentic carry with it a positive connotation to you?
I think it depends on how we define authentic. One of the definitions in the Merriam Webster Dictionary for the word authentic is “not false or imitation, true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.”
What if a person is a short-tempered, angry human who walks around the house/workspace intimidating everyone? Would you say that being authentic means continuation of what this person’s behavioral traits are? Is it simply to continue to be who they show they are? Is being authentic simply a concept of “What you see is what you get?”
I think that for some of us, being authentic means behaving in the way that is familiar, like falling back on the patterns we are used to. If being authentic means having a sense of victimhood and carrying on our forehead a sign that says, “Oh, me oh my, life is this way because everyone else is causing it, and I am the unlucky person in the wrong place at the wrong time,” than that is what we show as our authentic self.
Maybe the question should be, if we follow the explanation above – is the goal of being authentic what we should always strive for?
Let’s look at the word from a different language, shall we? As in many times previously I turn to the Hebrew language. The word authentic in Hebrew is mekori, מקורי which also means original. The word makor מקור means origin. Now HERE is something we can work with.
Being authentic is in truth searching deep into the origin of who you are. The way you are initially created.
The essence of your authenticity is in your origin. I think most of us will agree that our original self does not include rudeness, anger, fear, sadness. In our original being, we are happy, we are kind, we are innocent, we are resourceful, we are curious about the world around us.
But through life’s journey we learn certain behaviors, some because of the impact of our childhood, other behaviors from our current surroundings or our circumstances. And yet some of our characteristic traits are ours from the moment we took our first breath. We are born with predisposition to some traits and not others. C’est la vie, that is life!
Being authentic does not mean just showing the outside shell of our beings. Sometimes, being authentic means embracing the vulnerability to show the world what is deep down in our core and all the positive qualities we dream of. People do not find true connection to others just through learning the highlight reel of their life; true connections form when we expose and explore our origin. Our makor. Humans have amazing capability to become what we wish to be. A rude person does not have to remain rude. A controlling person does not have to make their life or the lives of the people around them miserable. The challenge is to expose who we truly are and bring it to light; to make it shine as bright as a sunlight, warming us to the true authenticity embodied in each one of us.
Being authentic means loving who we are and being true to who we are, and at the same time remaining open to what we need to change and modify so we leave a positive impact on this world. Now that is the authentic you, isn’t it?
When you think of yourself as an authentic being- what are the key traits that the world sees in you? Does it resonate, similar with how you view yourself?
In what areas do you have to grow/mature so your authenticity lines up with who you truly are?