True authenticity requires vulnerability, a willingness to heal and acceptance of ourselves, just the way we are.
The concept of authenticity can be an interesting dichotomy in that; masks can allow people to behave freely and to be themselves, for a short amount of time. But here’s the thing, after some time, be it a year or a lifetime, it doesn’t take much effort to forget that the mask exists. We become clothed in a veil of false perceptions, and our identity may be concealed but not the truth of who we are. We begin to forget that the mask, is in indeed a cover and not the authentic self after the mind has accepted it as truth.
The message we get from society says, “Be authentic, simply be yourself.” But what does it actually mean to be authentic?
Being authentic is following your path, without comparison to others.
And I’ve found that authenticity is a flourishing in the acceptance of your own journey because it’s what you believe. It’s also about embracing and accepting life now, not for how it may be in the future. Authenticity is also a willingness to step out of any preconceived boxes or notions, placed upon us by ourselves and by others.
When it comes down to it, almost everyone is susceptible to inauthentic behaviors especially when placed in an environment that isn’t conducive to, or that does not support authenticity. And when we find ourselves placed in these types of unfamiliar and unpleasant settings, we can worry that our genuine identity is lacking or isn’t suitable and that we will be dismissed or rejected for showing up with authenticity. So instead of bringing our true selves to each moment and situation, we show up as the person we think we should be, wearing a mask. As a result of this, we live for the expectations of others and reject our authentic self.
Real-Life Experience: In the past, I didn’t realize that my authentic self had been watered down by the need to please others and I began to base my internal value from this approval. Did I choose my career, path, and life or was it heavily influenced by external factors and inauthentic perceptions? As I began to question my own inherent truth, I devised two methods to add to and to maintain my own sense of authenticity.
Here are two ways that can help on the path to regaining and reclaiming authenticity.
1. Forgo the need to be perfect. Perfection is rarely attainable or sustainable. Consequently, the act of seeking constant perfection can be disingenuous in its own right and it’s exhausting. Start to embrace imperfections and view being less than perfect as a beautiful and real strength. Another positive side of “being real” is that is can automatically make way for more genuine behaviors and feelings.
2. Increase Self-Awareness. Another powerful way to increase authenticity is through deep awareness and introspection of our automatic behaviors. In each instance that we question any ingrained beliefs or inauthentic behavior, we bring increased self-awareness to all situations and interactions and set ourselves free to live with more authenticity. It can also be helpful to question where beliefs and perceptions came from and whether or not these viewpoints are supportive and positive or negative and contradictory.