Are You For Real? Being Authentic In An Inauthentic World

It`s not easy being real in a world that constantly pressures you to be just like everyone else.  It takes a certain amount of courage to show your true colours in a society that does not generally value the different shades and nuances in personalities between people but rather encourages sameness among all.  We do want to be authentic, we desire it, but there’s a battle involved and a fair amount of discomfort.  

One of the great rewards of heading towards the summit on our journey towards self-actualization is the attainment of a more authentic self.  A real self that makes no apologies for what it is, and one which is truly comfortable in its own skin, holding nothing back that resonates true within, despite the judging eyes of others.  This is the genuine self that is guided by its own internal compass, is self-scripted, and makes decisions based on what feels real and true, and not by what is expected by outside forces.  The sooner in life we can greet our authentic selves, the sooner we will be free of the societal ligatures which bind us and oblige us to conform to standards dictated by others.  The authentic self knows and accepts its limitations and is not ashamed of its vulnerabilities.  It is in comfortable alignment with its core beliefs and values, and congruent in its actions and behaviours.

It is indeed a good place to be if you can get there.  But there are obstacles, and for many people – probably the majority of people – the risks are simply too great.  As a result, the masks come up and people hide behind a façade that will allow them to incorporate and homogenize themselves into the vast but safe grey zone of society.  These are not bad people, they are simply afraid to be judged by others as unworthy, or different, or possibly strange because they don`t necessarily go with the flow.   They very much care what others think of them and therefore try their utmost to blend in as best they can, ignoring their own natural true wishes and their real desires, and thereby neglecting their authentic selves.

I am lucky enough to have been born into a family that never seemed to put too much emphasis on what others think.  Learning from my father in particular I came to value honesty, transparency, realness, and simplicity in dealing with others.   Lying and pretending is not a concept I am familiar with.  I learned from a young age that it is not wrong to have views different from others, and that in fact, there is value in it.   This gave me a good head-start early in life and then later, in my journey towards authenticity. 

It is clear to me in my everyday dealings with people that there is an expectation that we respond to situations in pre-determined, (read: acceptable by the majority), ways.  When you behave in a way that is outside of that norm, guided by the sincerity of your authentic self, you will encounter resistance.   Such resistance is not easy to ignore, but a strong and congruent sense of self will go a long way in making other’s reactions of lessor importance to you.    

Being truly authentic means you will know deep within your core that what you are, and what you feel is right.   It`s a matter of trusting your own convictions and reminding yourself that only you can be right about your own feelings – and being good with that, right down to the centre of your true self.

  

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This entry was posted in Authenticity, Mental Health, Psychology, Self-Actualization, Society and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Are You For Real? Being Authentic In An Inauthentic World

  1. a friend says:

    If only it were that easy but we live in a world where to be functioning members we sometimes put the well being and feelings of others before our own. While we may disagree on how that makes us feel, I strongly believe that selfless acts – both for those we know and care about and those we may not know – make us better people and, in the end, happier. This is not to say that we should not be our “authentic” selves, but most of us don’t live in isolation and must consider those around us. I think good, decent people will admire those with their own opinions and who don’t “lie and pretend”. The people who don’t are not worth knowing. I know that you are a good person and are struggling to find and be your “authentic” self but personal growth can also mean going beyond what we learn as children and our own comfort zones to perhaps find a means of contentment we didn’t envisage.

    • lthibault11 says:

      You know I respect your opinion C., as I always have. You are right that we do not live in isolation and must consider those around us; that`s simply part of being human. The point I am attempting to make is that we all come in different colours and some of us don`t necessarily fit the nice little mold “society” has designed for us. We all have our own personal boundaries which we and others must respect in order for us to find comfort in our own skin. Once we find that comfort, we can begin to reach out to others, each in our own unique way, while ensuring that our boundaries are intact. I like to think that my attempt at personal growth has gone miles beyond what I learned as a child, and that my authenticity is a part of who I am, and have always been. I wholeheartedly agree with you that pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone can lead us to find contentment that we never envisaged.

  2. a friend says:

    thank you – you know that I am here for you for the journey – be it to listen or on occassion to challenge…

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  5. m. barber says:

    I love that you summed this up quite simply yet eloquently. I struggled with my own authenticity a few years ago after a run in with the law. I couldn’t handle how other people saw me or would judge me. It mattered more than what I thought. It wasn’t until I realized that no one could help me but myself. That to be authentic and return to who I was meant I had to rely on my own opinion and belief structure that had been in place before. We are all different individuals in a group that can be similar. Again I love this. Thank you for writing this. 🙂 m.

    • lthibault11 says:

      Hi there! Understanding that only we can know who we really are and that only we can truly help ourselves is a huge lesson in life I think. It is empowering and paves the way toward a more authentic self. One that is comfortable in its own skin and unencumbered by societal whims. It’s a very freeing place to be. I appreciate your comments. Thanks!

      L

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