Be authentic. Be genuine. Initially seems simple, yet so many seem to struggle with being so. That’s what today’s blog entry is all about – learning how to be authentic.
“Authenticity” is all about being real. Genuine, not an imitation.
Have you found yourself truly motivated to do something great? To achieve a goal you have set for yourself? You’ve written down the goal. You have a plan of action set in place. You say to yourself, on Monday I’m starting this plan. Then Monday comes nothing happens. You know why? Because perhaps Monday never really comes.
You find yourself researching, watching videos, reading articles, taking notes, checking your emails and you tell yourself you’re not as good as him or you can’t do what he does. So you wait for everything to be exactly right and perfect to the letter, and you realise it’s two years later and you’re still here. This is a scenario I had explained to me by a client recently and it is one I have seen many times before. We started to examine how he could start taking action and the thing which really got him motoring was examining what it meant for him to be authentic. He had been attempting to be someone else, to imitate a life he felt he should be leading and it lacked authenticity.
Much of enabling oneself starts with finding out who you are as an individual, what you want out of life and knowing who you are here to serve. You might find this additional article useful in that regard: What Is Your Life Purpose? 5 Ways To Discover It Today.
Why be Authentic?
“Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good.” – Alan Cohen.
Think of someone you know who is really authentic. How do you feel when you’re around them? You might feel pretty good. That’s because being genuine not only improves your life, but also the lives of those around you.
Authenticity can sometimes mean being vulnerable, but the reward is that with a certain amount of vulnerability comes connection. When you do come from a place of authenticity, you have the ability to draw to yourself the people, love, career, relationships, and experiences that match who you truly are. Once your life is in alignment, you enter a flow where life just feels easier. And who doesn’t want that?
Right now you may be thinking, “that’s easy to say, but I can’t do it.” It is understandable that being authentic can often make you feel scared, but in order to get the bigger rewards, you need to take the bigger risks.
The Effects of Being Your True self:
While being truly authentic is a powerful experience, taking the initial steps to get there can initially be difficult and feel a bit scary (though I’d be inclined to say that you can actually tweak that to be excitement!). It’s usually no problem when you’re belting out your favourite song alone in the shower, or dancing in your living room like no one’s watching because no one’s watching, but start adding other people into the equation and authenticity suddenly becomes a lot more elusive.
Being someone else is safe because then the real you is protected. But at what cost? Let’s take a look at the effects of being, and not being, yourself:
The potential effects of being inauthentic? Authors on this subject tend to suggest that when you are not authentic it can result in loneliness, insecurity, emptiness, pain, lack of connection, unfulfilling relationships, unhappiness, uncertainty, frustration, and struggle.
The potential effects of being authentic however are as follows….
Let’s be honest– it’s hard to truly get to know someone when they are completely preoccupied with looking the right way and/or saying the right thing. We connect when we step out of our “conforming” bubble and let ourselves tell or show others who we are. Authenticity humanises us. It gives people unspoken permission to approach us, to ask us questions, and to ultimately to connect with us.
Fallon Taylor, a former actress and world champion barrel racer, is a fabulous example of authenticity and connection. Taylor is known for her flamboyant style both in and out of the arena. In fact, she has started a new trend in the rodeo world of wearing tie-dye shirts, bright coloured Wranglers, and sparkly cowboy hats. She is unapologetically herself – and people love it. In addition to her traffic-stopping style, Taylor is also a fan favourite because she is truly herself. It’s easy to connect with people who know who they are and what they want from life and aren’t afraid to say it or show it.
Authenticity sets you apart. Just as Taylor’s neon pink pants say “I’m different,” showing who you really are will send a message and secure a place in the mind of others. Making a great impression is everything in everyday life, and genuinely conveying your message will help you establish a strong presence. Read this article for more on this point: Why and How To Express Your Individuality and Uniqueness.
Good for Wellbeing:
Human beings naturally have a desire to ‘belong’ in our societies and communities. This is a survival strategy which exists to help us get on with others and move further through life.
However, seeking belonging can sometimes mean it’s hard to express or stay connected to the values and beliefs we hold personally. Fears of being judged or rejected are usually the reasons we choose not to go with our instincts.
Research in positive psychology emphasises that being yourself relates positively to wellbeing as we feel more satisfied with ourselves for sharing heartfelt opinions and doing what we feel is right for us. This also means we do not experience destructive emotions such as guilt and disappointment when we have gone against our better instincts.
When we are authentic, positive qualities such as integrity, honesty, and courage are promoted and these lead to our overall character strength. Therefore, we are less likely to succumb to external pressures and feel more comfortable with who we are and being independent.
The spread of social media is promoting distractions at a level we’ve never witnessed before. On a societal scale, when we make efforts to stay true to ourselves we are indirectly promoting equality, tolerance, empathy and acceptance which are fruitful for all societies to flourish. You are contributing to a better world!
The more we practice being true to ourselves, the more aware we will become of our personal attributes and have the ability to apply this to honest relationships with others. Overall, this contributes to a happier lifestyle and feelings of contentment with ourselves. You’ll trust yourself more, you’ll be more trustworthy and others will trust you more – that is some way to live.
What Role Have You Been Playing?
“No one man can, for any considerable time, wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne.
When others are around, you might find yourself becoming who you think others want you to be, or someone you think they will approve of. In that way you play a role and become someone else, no longer showing up as your genuine self. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Personality, by Wake Forest University psychologist William Fleeson found “being true to yourself” often means acting counter to your own personality traits. In addition, the research showed that authenticity or feeling like you are being the real you is consistently associated with acting emotionally stable and intellectual, regardless of your traits.
Which parts of your personality are not truly you? Take some time to identify the different aspects of yourself, which you have created for the sake of pleasing others, or for protection. Where in your life, and in which relationships, are you not being authentic?
Make a little inventory of the inauthentic parts of yourself which you would like to shed. This may take some thought since after a while we often go about our role-playing in a very unconscious or automated way.
Recognise (and celebrate) the Real You:
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” – William James.
Once you’ve identified what isn’t you, it’s time for the fun part. What does it mean to be you? Who are you underneath it all? Explore your values, beliefs, passions, goals, quirks and all your wonderful eccentricities. Feel the pressure lift as you take some time with the real you. Be compassionate with yourself, and know that you are whole, complete and lovable just as you are – and yes, this applies to everyone, including you!
Show Others Who You Really Are:
“Just be what you are and speak from your guts and heart – it’s all a [wo]man has.” – Hubert Humphrey.
The real pain is in others not seeing who you really are, so show yourself off! Communicate from your heart, rather than your head. You’ll find you worry less about what people think, who you “should” be, and what you just said. Instead, you will be sharing your true self and building connections that go far beyond the superficial. This why I have written before of my love of being a geek in a number of areas of my life.
Listen to Your Heart:
Over the years, we make decisions based on our current circumstances. We know from the beginning what the consequences may be, yet we go with what looks good and feels good for the moment. Doing this will get you in trouble every time. Listen to what your first instinct told you when you first came across the problem. Walk in faith knowing that what you do is a direct reflection of you. Holding yourself back from what is right will change the true essence of you and what you stand for. Lead with your heart and not your situations. Please note, I said “listen” – do not have blind faith in your gut feelings and instincts, they are not a benevolent force within you and can often be wrong, but do examine what feels right for you in life.
Accept Your Challenges:
Everything we’ve been through has become a motivational story for others. The hard times, the down moments, and the rough patches in our lives are here to prepare us for all that we ask of ourselves and all that’s in store for us to come. Accepting a challenge for what it is, crates an inner strength that we may then find very useful in later years. It creates resilience.
Connect with the right people:
“Good leaders attract, and surround themselves with the right kind of people.”
It is true that man is known by the company he keeps. A leader who is constantly surrounded by, and encourages people whose personalities, values, and behaviours are at odds with what the leader supposedly extols, is incongruent and disingenuous. On the other hand, a genuine leader seeks the company of those who challenge him, inspire him, and help him grow as a person. A true leader is confident in his own skin.
But Being Authentic is Scary!
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” – Mother Theresa.
Yes, being authentic can feel scary. By opening up and being genuine you may feel you are making yourself vulnerable to judgment, assumptions, and criticism. If you show up as yourself, and someone turns you away, the rejection can really hurt. Dissenting perspectives of others can be painful, but often speak more of those individuals than you. It’s risky. It’s easier to take rejection when you’re playing a role because it’s the character that’s being rejected, not the real you. Chances are though, you’ll experience less rejection when you’re being yourself than when you’re being someone else. When you’re being yourself, you’ll end up being more resilient anyway, and the joy you derive from it will ultimately be so much more rewarding.
Do it Anyway:
“To be nobody but myself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else – means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting.” – e.e. Cummings.
Here’s the thing: If you show up as yourself, chances are the other person will do the same. And if you play a role, staying in the persona you have created for yourself, the other person will likely stay in theirs. Two people interacting, both playing roles, does not create a connection, it creates distance.
The choice is yours. If you decide to take the initiative and show up as your authentic self, you will attract the same, it’s inevitable. So gather up your courage, experiment and practice (and then practice, practice, practice some more). Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move!
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
If you make it your goal to authentically help people, something special happens. Never underestimate the power of pure motives. We all have individual talents and abilities, and many times those cannot be maximised without the help of others. Be authentic in your pursuit to help others, not just doing it specifically for your benefit. People can feel when you genuinely care about meeting their needs versus when it is being faked only to meet yours. The key is a balance between the two. Go and be authentic and you’ll find it one of the most worthwhile things you ever did. Don’t go creating an imitation of life. Speaking of which, I’ll leave you with this…..
Have some of these themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support to stop comparing yourself or in another particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist who is looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book, it’ll help you to be authentic!