Are you for real?! - The Importance of Authenticity
Looking around the heart of any city, it’s easy to see that being authentic is something worth bragging about. Be it food, drink or clothing, the vendors know that people want the original; the real deal. There’s something about the word itself that has a homely, wholesome feel, there’s a sense of real, honest value in it.
The word was dancing around in my head and led to me exploring it in terms of people. How authentic are we? Or are we afraid of being authentic? Why are we not boasting our original individuality too? Trawling through shops, we often seek out the originals, the authenticity; because we know it’s likely to be the best version. Sometimes we just don’t want to settle for the cheap knock off. But when it comes to ourselves, are we choosing to settle?
Growing up, that age old advice consistently given was ‘Be yourself’.
Dr Seuss put it perfectly
‘Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.’
Personally, I wanted to be just about anyone else I could possibly be, but the idea of being happy to simply be me, always resounded with me as a wonderful way of living. It remained out of my grasp for years though and I got more and more lost. While being sound advice, I think actually being yourself is in practice, a lot more challenging.
We can put on a multitude of masks; shrouding our authentic selves in layers of pretense, falseness and people-pleasing. It’s nearly a battle of either hiding away from the world or putting on an act and being something you’re not. I have done a bit of both and it never worked out.
Hiding away stops anyone from really getting to know you and I promise, you are worth knowing! Being something you’re not always ends in disaster because people will see through it. And the more you stray away from who you really are and are meant to be, the more those feelings of being lost will envelope you.
Valuing authenticity is the only way you’ll actually ever want to practice it. It’s not going to be automatic and getting the confidence to put yourself out there stirs up a lot of vulnerability and discomfort. But it’s truly worth it.
Firstly, divulging in self discovery is the path to feeling good about being you. Get to know what you believe in, what makes you different. It could be the way you giggle at inappropriate times, or like things perfectly in order, or always make terrible jokes. It could be your family, your experiences, and your past that has shaped the person you are now. Difficulties or triumphs, they all happened for a reason and are yours to learn from, nobody else’s.
Try to shake off the safety blankets that prevent you from being real. Any of the things that aren’t allowing you to shine, simply must go. It might be saying what you think and really putting forward your own opinion instead of feeling the need to go with the general consensus. Or it might be dancing like no one’s watching even if they are, just because the desire to do it is burning in your feet. It could be trying something new even if you’re the only one who wants to do it. It's listening to that part of you that isn't ruled by terms and conditions, your gut instinct that only you can feel.
Tell your stories proudly and share your experiences without editing them all first.
Keep the details real and unfiltered and the edges rough because, imperfection is beautiful.
Express yourself in whatever way makes you feel raw and exposed.
Be the original, 100% authentic you that's truly within.