I don’t know about you, but I’m instinctively drawn to people who are authentic – people who are real, genuine and down-to-earth.
There are no airs and graces, no pretences, no fakery.
It’s only just dawned on me that whenever I meet someone new, I use this one trait to determine whether I want to pursue a personal or business connection with them.
And I don’t think I’m the only one. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I believe many of us seek out people who are authentic.
Authenticity generates trust, which we all know is an essential ingredient for real, honest human connections and cultivating deep and meaningful relationships.
An authentic person invites respect. They’re brave enough to be open and transparent, refusing to hide behind a mask, because they respect and value themselves. People see and feel this, and respond positively.
When a person is authentic, they interact with others with a sense of ease and naturalness. As a well-known Chinese proverb puts it, “Tension is being who you think you should be. Relaxation is being who you are.”
Authenticity is endearing and attractive. Witnessing someone’s flaws and vulnerabilities alongside their gifts and talents makes us feel closer to them.
- And authenticity puts everyone at ease. If you can be real with me, then you give me permission to be real with you.
And, of course, if it is a desirable quality in others, it’s also one that we want to develop within ourselves.
So how do you cultivate authenticity?
Can you learn to be authentic?
Yes, you can. Here are eight ideas for you to reflect on that will get you started.
1. Work to understand yourself.
Make the effort to get to know yourself better. What motivates you? What triggers you? What aspects of yourself do you like? What aspects do you want to improve? Are there parts of you that pull you in different directions?
2. Work to accept all of you.
Remember, authenticity means being real, not perfect. Accept what you feel are the ‘not-so-good’ parts of yourself.
3. Cultivate greater self-love and self-respect.
Be kind, accepting and gentle towards yourself. Dismiss the harsh critic living inside your head. If you don’t respect yourself, why should anyone else?
4. Be excited to be you.
You are a unique and beautiful human being. There is no one else out there exactly like you. Celebrate all that is wonderful about you.
5. Resist the pressure to conform.
Families, friends, cultures, society all directly or indirectly impose a view of the world onto us and encourage us to conform. It’s up to us to decide how we wish to think, feel and behave.
6. Be mindful of your habits and hobbies.
Ensure that what you choose to do is aligned with your real self and your own preferences, likes and dislikes, not someone else’s.
7. Don’t be afraid to share your flaws and failures.
Your imperfections are a part of who you are, and failure is an inevitable part of life. But at the same time don’t forget to share your gifts and accomplishments too.
8. Learn to speak your truth.
Have the confidence to share what you think and feel with others openly and assertively. The ability to do this is key to being authentic. Anyone can learn how to be confident and assertive. Let me show you how with my book: title with a link to amazon.
It takes great strength of character, a robust sense of self and true courage to be authentic.
But it’s worth making the effort because it will naturally lead to more genuine, deep and rewarding relationships. And when our relationships are of this quality, we find that we can relax, we feel happier, and our lives become more fulfilling and purposeful.
So, start to create a life that feels good on the inside and doesn’t just look good on the outside.
Can you commit to this?
I invite you to choose three actions that you will take, starting today, to embrace your authentic self.