Authenticity – Do YOU Like A Pro!
Authenticity is all about being you, really YOU. No one can do you like you can!
There are three fun reasons for pretending to be someone else. It’s what we do as kids – we pretend to be a fireman, a mom, or a teacher. That kind of pretend play is positive. It allows children to explore their feelings and the possibilities. It’s a way for them to learn and grow.
Being an actor or actress – that’s also a great reason to pretend to be someone else. And getting paid to do that is a nice BONUS! In some ways, it gives those with the acting gift a chance to explore experiences that one would not normally get to A chance to put themselves in another’s shoes.
Halloween and costume parties also provide a fun way to pretend to be someone else if costumes are your jam! For many, donning a mask and a getup that turns you into someone else temporarily is exciting. Fooling your friends and family about who you are is a part of the adventure.
However, if pretending to be someone else is your way of doing life, that’s not great! Pretend for any length of time, and you will gradually lose touch with who you really are!
We all have our reasons for hiding the real you including…
- Comparing – trying to be like someone else
- Pleasing – trying to make everyone happy
- Striving – ruthlessly attempting to reach goals, achieve more, gain more money, status, or significance
- Seeking acceptance or approval
- Trying to be perfect
- Avoiding the real you – you might not measure up, or be enough. Or be rejected
- Trying too hard – overcompensating because you might not be enough
We are naturally drawn to authentic people. It may be hard to put your finger on why, but you KNOW when someone is being authentic.
And oddly enough, we are put off by inauthentic people. Instinctively we know that something is just not right.
What is Authenticity?
It’s knowing who you are – your values, personality, strengths, weaknesses, passions, skills, etc. It’s knowing whose you are –as a believer, your Father is the creator of the universe! Then living that out in a congruent way. Letting who and whose you are to guide you.
It’s being motivated internally, by your dreams and who you really are.
It’s setting and maintaining healthy boundaries and knowing when to exit toxic situations.
It is communicating your opinions and feelings honestly and in a winsome way. And because you are secure in who you are, you are able to interact with vulnerability and an open heart so that engaging in genuine relationships is natural.
Being in the flow as you execute your tasks is normal; creativity abounds – that’s authenticity.
It’s being comfortable in your own skin, knowing your value and worth.
There are some sweet benefits to being authentic besides the fact that others are naturally drawn to you like…
- Having more confidence
- Tapping into more of your potential
- Living with integrity
- Experiencing less stress – pretending is hard work!
- Being trusted and respected
- Enjoying more peace
- Living more fearlessly
- Being aligned with your values
- Dealing well with problems and obstacles
- Operating with more creativity
Maybe you’ve been pretending – hiding the real you. Or maybe you’ve been wearing a mask in certain aspects of your life. You know that you have more to offer than you’ve been allowing others to see. Perhaps it’s been so very long since the real you as been allowed to shine that you’ve forgotten who you really are. There’s hope if you are willing to put in the effort.
Ready to tap into the real you? Here are some steps worth taking:
1. Slow Down
You can’t be connected to you when you are doing life at a break-neck speed! You need space to BE, space to breathe. And time to reflect on what has you speeding through life in the first place?
Have you packed your life so full of responsibilities that rushing seems like the only way to get it all done? What’s driving the frantic activity? What’s really motivating you? Something internal or external?
The more internally motivated you are, the more likely you are living authentically.
2. Rediscover Yourself
Journaling is a brilliant way to rediscover yourself! And a practical way to observe your growth. Here are some questions to explore to help you reconnect with YOU:
- Who does God say you are? What’s your identity in Him?
- What’s your unique personality? What strengths and weaknesses does your personality have?
- What are your strengths – the things that come naturally to you that don’t for others?
- Who did God create you to BE? How do you reflect Him?
- What activities do you LOVE to do?
- What are your values?
- Who or what makes you feel alive?
- What drains you – leaves you stressed or depleted?
- What are you passionate about?
- Where are you stuck?
- What are your desires – the things you long for?
- What’s your love language?
- What do you really want?
- What are you thinking preferences?
In order to live authentically, you can’t skip the inner work. It’s a process and it takes time, but it is well worth the journey!
3. Close the Gap
Once you know who you are, you may spot some areas where you need to grow in order for you to be authentically you. Not to become like someone else, but grow so that you are able to realize your own potential – what you are fully capable of. You will need God’s help to make those changes, but you will be a better and healthier version of you.
4. Practice Being Present
This is challenging if you’re used to keeping yourself on the run, looking to others for approval, or relying on what others think to guide your choices.
Being present allows you to pay attention to your own needs and feelings and tune in to what others are saying – not to influence you, but to be a great listener for them.
You can’t truly connect until you are truly seen. That means being vulnerable. And in order to be vulnerable, you have to be connected to who you really are – no more masks or pretending. No more trying to know it all. You can engage with integrity, admit what you don’t know, resist making assumptions, and communicate honestly. That’s when connecting really takes place.
Be sure to surround yourself with people who are supportive. You need people in your life, even if you are an introvert. And say audios to the unhealthy relationships in your life.
6. Speak Truthfully
Once you know who you really are, it’s easier to speak honestly. It takes practice and not everyone will share your point of view, but that’s OK. Speak confidently and assertively, without being abrasive, and people will appreciate knowing where you stand. Resist the urge to make assumptions. Instead ask questions to find out if what you think is true actually is.
7. Keep Taking Baby Steps
Authenticity is a life-long adventure! Don’t give up – it’s a journey worth embarking on. Acknowledge your growth and take time to address the areas that still need some attention in your life. The more you value YOU, the easier that will be! One of the ways to demonstrate that you value YOU is by taking time for YOU and practicing self-care. You can’t give to others, what you don’t’ give to yourself or when you are running on empty.
No more betraying yourself and trying to be someone you aren’t to fit in or to avoid being rejected. That’s a lonely place to be. Appreciate the unique and amazing person that God created YOU to be. Take that mask off once and for all and enjoy the perks that come with living authentically!
How has hiding the real you, hindered you?