It is necessary, important, vital.
Authenticity in simple terms is being genuine – being real – true to who we really are.
Deep inside, most of us know we pay a price for living in a way that is disconnected from our authentic selves.
Living a life according to external pressures and expectations, weighs heavily on the soul. It’s confining, limiting, and suffocating. How frustrating to spend a lifetime on the values and agendas of others, and not pursuing your own gifts, talents, or desires.
What are some benefits of living an authentic life?
1. Self-worth and potential.
Living authentically fosters healthy self-worth. You feel good about yourself regardless of what others think or how they react to you. Healthy self-esteem strengthens you and empowers you to risk vulnerability in the pursuit of what matters most. You have the courage to create a life aligned with your deepest self – what matters most to you.
On the other hand, the fear of being seen and then rejected, the fear of failure, or the fear of change can result in an inauthentic life.
By consciously aligning our inner selves with our outer life we develop courage and increase self-worth. This allows us the ability to reach our true potential.
2. The ability to cope.
As Aristotle said: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” A refusal to explore and know yourself deeply compromises your coping ability.
How can you overcome, tolerate, or manage stressful situations if you’re not aligned with who you are?
Authenticity happens when you can create a life based on your own needs and wants, your own values –not someone else’s. It allows for more honest interactions and increased ability to cope when dealing with difficult situations. Who you are won’t change according to circumstances or people when you are grounded in the truth of who you know yourself to be.
3. Vocation and purpose.
The word vocation is often confused with work or career. Vocation comes from the Latin word vocatus, which mean “to be called.” Vocation refers to what you are called to do.
Vocation can change at different stages of your life: a stay-at-home parent, an executive, an author, or a spiritual seeker are just a few examples of what a person could be called to do. Authenticity means that you are aligning your life with what your deepest self is calling you to do.
People who live authentically feel their contribution to the world is meaningful and purposeful. To live authentically you must know yourself well.
How do you do this?
Start by looking within and figuring out what matters most to you. The next step is to make intentional choices that align with those values. As a result, the life you create will be supported by your true values. You will be true to yourself and your contribution to the world will be genuine and meaningful.
James Hollis, Jungian analyst, identifies two aspects of authenticity: “…knowing who you are, and then having the courage to live that out in the world.”
Let who you are emerge and live a life that is free from the expectations and opinions of others.
Enjoy the freedom and fulfillment that an authentic life creates.