1. not false or copied, genuine, real
2. representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself
3. reliable, trustworthy
Have you ever encountered an authentic person?
Somehow we just know when we are in the presence of an authentic person. They are aware of their limits but live in spite of them. They don’t let the things that aren’t perfect about them slow them down. We feel really good when we are around such a person. We even start to act a little more authentic. We say more meaningful things and we are kinder to others. It’s a good thing to be in the company of an authentic person.
So how do we become an authentic person?
I am not an expert. I’m not even very knowledgeable on this subject. I am however very interested in living an authentic life. This is very closely related to contentment, but not in the “what type of possessions do I own” sense. It’s more of a “how is that person so content with who they are even though they struggle with this and that” sense.
I know this is going to be a really personal topic. There is no one like you out there so whatever your strengths, weaknesses, and struggles are, they going to be much different from mine.
My plan with this post is just to list some observations I’ve had about authentic people that are not specific to circumstances or social standing. It’s more like a very brief and very basic outline of some characteristics of authentic people. I hope you find them interesting and maybe even the nudge needed for you to live your own authentic life.
That being said, I do believe that being authentic is more than wearing a risky outfit or a bold lip. It’s more about personality and attitude and belief than it is about body image.
Traits of an authentic person.
The first thing I noticed about authentic people is that they really don’t care if you think they are weird or not. They don’t appear to be worried whether or not their humanness is going to deter you from being friends with them or not.
Being authentic is about saying what you want to say even if it will rock the boat. It’s not about being intentionally rude, or bossy, or mean. It’s about saying the right thing at the right time regardless of the repercussions that may result.
Fear doesn’t stop them.
Another thing I noticed about being authentic is that it’s not being fearless. It’s about being aware of the fear, pushing through it and still doing whatever is causing the fear anyway.
It’s also about admitting that you are struggling and asking for help. That I think is the biggest and the best way to be authentic. If you doubt me, go to a close friend and say, “Hey, I’m really struggling with this and I need help. Do you have any ideas on what I should do?” That angsty feeling you get just from thinking about divulging a secret to a friend, that’s called authenticity.
None of us like to admit that we have limits. We believe that we can do it all and be it all. Deep down we know that isn’t true. From the moment they were born we’ve been telling our kids that they can be, do, and have anything in life. This is a lie. We all have limits. Some of them are under our control and some aren’t. But there they are stopping us from doing certain things. Or at least stop us from doing them well.
My biggest takeaway.
We live authentically when we realize our limits, play to our strengths, and let others fill in the gaps. That’s being an authentic human. Being willing to get in the trenches and do life with other imperfect beings, letting them see your messes and you get to see theirs. That is a beautiful picture of an authentic life.
The first step to being authentic: Admit you have limits. Don’t be afraid of the backlash. Let’s be honest, some people will hate you for daring to be real, for daring to admit that you aren’t perfect. And they will only hate you because they don’t want to see someone living the life they want but feel they can’t obtain.
Go ahead, take that first step. Even if you admit it to yourself, you will be thankful that you took all the pressure to be perfect off your shoulders. It was never your burden to bear.
Until next time,
P.S. What else have you noticed about people who live authentically? I’d love to know in the comments!
P.P.S If you found this post interesting you might also like to check out this post about comparison.