Authenticity – what it is, and what it’s not
“Living authentically” has become a bit of a new-age hype in recent years, along with many other terms you may easily recognize (Hello, abundance!) It seems to be THE perfect way we all should be in order to live our Life to the fullest, with purpose, in an aligned fashion. The notion here is that authenticity supposedly means that we are directly connected to and living fully from our “True Self”, letting our true colors shine through in all aspects of our Lives. While this is a beautiful sounding concept, it can have its pitfalls. We’ll get to that in a bit.
So what does “living authentically” really mean? In a nutshell it means that the way you live your Life is congruent. At its most basic, this means you say what you do and do what you say. Easy enough, you think? Just don’t lie, keep your promises and you’re as authentic as it gets?
It is actually a little more than that. The above mentioned notion of the “True Self” does play a big role in the concept of authenticity. However, most of us haven’t got the faintest clue what their “True Self” actually is. How can you be true to something that you are not familiar with? The good thing is, you can reverse-engineer the whole thing and actually use the feeling of being authentic to find out a bit more about your inner workings.
Learn to listen
No matter if you are aware of it or not, we all have a very fine-tuned, built in sensor that gives us immediate feedback on whether we are being authentic in a given moment or not. We do not perceive these feelings as being “authentic” or “not authentic”. Instead, they come in the disguise of emotions like discomfort, uneasiness, feeling that things are being forced instead of flowing naturally, or emotions like feeling content, knowing what we do is the right thing, finding peace and satisfaction even if what we do is what no one else is doing. The problem is that we live in a very fast-paced age with a gazillion distractions. So many things demand our constant attention, most of which have absolutely no impact on our Lives whatsoever except the one we choose to assign to them. When we cut through all the white noise of meaningless distractions that our Egos love and crave so much, there is always inner wisdom, knowledge. That knowledge lets us know crystal-clear if this particular moment is an authentic one.
Authenticity is nothing we need to practice. We have it already. How could we not, given that our True Self knows without a doubt what is the right thing to do at any given time? So instead of practicing what doesn’t need to be practiced, we can start learning to listen. Cut out the peer pressure, cut out the intense desire of being liked, validated, cut out the anxiety of rejection. These are the domains of the Ego and they have absolutely zero to do with you. They are the very reasons we stop being authentic in the first place. And as this noise fades into the background, notice what comes up instead all of a sudden. A calmness that can feel at times surreal, like time has been distorted or slowed down. A feeling that the moment is just right. It’s from this place where you will be at your absolute best, in whatever area of your Life. You are not fake anymore. You are real. This may not sit well with other Egos, and some of them will abandon, reject or ridicule you because of it. But from this place you can gracefully let go if needed, because you know what it is you truly need. You and anything that does not contribute to your Life will simply separate, like oil and water.
A word of warning
I am not telling you here to venture out into the world and be as transparent as glass to anyone and everyone. That is not authenticity, that’s just stupid. In a world of 8 billion Egos there is no need to rub your inner world into everyone’s face. Yet all your actions will still be guided according to the principles of authenticity, even if you don’t announce your every intention. You can be 100% authentic and still meet the demands of everyday Life. Your Ego does and will always play a role in your human experience, and that’s not a problem per se. Just tone it down sometimes to re-home on that which lies underneath, that which knows. Remember “say what you do, do what you say” from the first paragraph? In a state of authenticity you will never have to worry about that again. It comes naturally, as the only option.
If you want to learn more about he concept of living authentically, reach out to me so we can have a chat.