By Anda Ene
Why is it so important to be authentic? One might say that you have to be sneaky and skillfully display a lot of roles in order to be successful, to be versatile or even leery, subtle at the limit of deceitfulness to make it in today’s world. Well, maybe these were the prerequisites of success until recent times, but more and more the collective mind is moving in another direction, where even “success” as a concept understood up until now, is questionable.
I found a good definition of authenticity given by Brené Brown, in her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who you think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”. According to the author, 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.” Quite a different point of view from the “recipe” of success that we’re taught.
But who needs authenticity? Our society today needs authenticity, we all need it, more than ever. Because: we get tired of playing roles we don’t fit anymore, we get bored and depleted with the games that no longer make sense to us. We become disheartened that life has no more magic, some get depressed that they can’t find a purpose or meaning in life. Many people find life these days very complex and confusing and long for a quiet place to live. A place where they can find peace, where there isn’t change after change and so many choices to make… maybe you know what I’m talking about. But where to find this place? Everywhere we go, we carry the mindsets with us and the burdens of our lives. There is no escape, not even on a tropical island or in a remote village on a mountain top. We find temporary relief, but then, when we’re back, we get on the same roller coaster and here we go again: getting stressed, frustrated, anxious, depleted, even depressed.
The sages and some philosophers from the ancient times, found that quiet place and they invite us to find it, as the ultimate and the paramount goal of our life. That peaceful, unchangeable and unlimited space is in us and this is what we need to discover.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are” found the prodigious psychotherapist and scholar C.G. Jung, who passed himself through the process of iindividuation, or self-actualizing, as we name this process today. If we trust Jung and the other sages that walked the way before, becoming authentic is a process of recuperating yourself and meeting yourself for the first time, not the persona that was programmed by the parents, conditioned by society and shaped by own limitations.
We all manifest to some extent, authenticity, but we can consciously decide to make more steps to build this muscle of authenticity, using as lifting weights, interactions and banal facts of any day.
Here are some ideas to start with:
• Be sincere when you pay a compliment, if you don’t really believe it, don’t say it;
• “Walk your talk”, do not duplicate;
• Liberate yourself from others’ opinions about you;
• Say your truth or if you’re not ready yet for that, just shut up;
• Let go of the expectations you have of people behaving with you in a certain way;
• Respectfully refuse, when you don’t feel like going or doing what others want you to go to or do
• Accept yourself the way you are;
• If you behave badly, apologise, as soon as you can;
• Let yourself be seen by others, not only as a rational person, but also as an emotional being.
Last, but not the least is what the wise men teach us, to receive what others tell about us, as if they show a hidden treasure. It just might be a blind spot for you. Pay attention, check, it maybe the truth… or maybe not.
“It’s not dangerous, I’m not putting myself in a position where I could lose everything?” Well, we take it smart and easy and especially in these situations, a coach can be a great companion. Is not easy “to dance to the beat of our own drum” and it’s not going to happen all of the sudden, but bit by bit, we can introduce the practice of living in authenticity. Your life circumstances may be simple or more complex. Perhaps you’re less open to drastic change, no matter how much you yearn for it. What is certain is that we can always take further steps and make changes according to our own unique life landscapes and make the thing work again for us.
Authenticity asks for courage and inspires respect because it’s hard to own who you really are, good and bad, truly accepting one’s human condition. What is also true is that it’s only from our authentic selves that true connections are made and love can bloom and life can be vibrant again.
Anda is a coach and entrepreneur. Working with both private and corporate clients, she manage to orient her coachees towards a positive approach and achieve the desired results.