To be authentic is to be genuine. It is allowing your true self — the self that emerges from the soul — to be seen. “To be authentic is to feel at home in your body, accepted into a particular group, and to feel true to our sense of values. It is a kind of confidence that doesn’t come from attaining something outside of ourselves, but knowing deeply we are enough whatever our particular feelings, needs, or skills are and that we add to the greater whole of life and matter. We can be true to our own personality, spirit, or character despite external pressures.” Read more. There is no holding back because you fear judgment, ridicule, or unacceptance. It requires you to allow vulnerability. Fear, to me, is the biggest obstacle to genuineness.
Just as stress can lead to gray hair, stifling your authentic self can lead to ailments on multiple levels. The following are examples only and are not intended as advice or medical diagnoses:
- Being afraid to speak your truth so you swallow your words, and you may develop laryngitis and other throat issues.
- Fearful of moving towards the path that calls to you? Experience hip problems.
- Pretend to be someone or something you’re not in order to please others and end up with an ulcer.
The point is that you can experience your healthiest physical self by being your most authentic self.
Sadly, people occasionally use authenticity to explain poor behavior. They utter hurtful words and then claim “I was just being honest.” As I mentioned above, you don’t want to swallow your words. However, letting compassion infuse your words allows you to be authentic rather than abrasive or arrogant.
Brené Brown says “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.” American writer and artist Brian Andreas had a collection of prints known as Story People. There is one on my living room wall which has a message similar to Brené’s. The print says “I’ve always liked the time before dawn because there’s no one around to remind me who I’m supposed to be, so it’s easier to remember who I am.” One reason why I try to meditate early in the morning is because that meditation sets the tone for the day. I am reminded to speak my truth, to be genuine, to embrace my authentic self. I highly recommend that you give it a try.
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” ~ Mother Theresa
“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
“We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” ~ Barbara de Angelis