Thinking Out Loud - Authenticity

2:19 PM

To be authentic.

I think I've shared my absolute love for Tiny Buddha, but if not take a peek at their website or follow them on Twitter or Facebook. Their quotes and posts are pretty spot on. Their website is a plethora of interesting articles, self reflection, advice, and just all around interesting pieces of written work.

I was perusing it last week, looking for some advice or anything that would get me thinking. I came across Take Off the Mask: 6 Tips to Let Your Authentic Self Shine . I appreciate and strive to give 100% authenticity to those I choose to spend my time with. I don't always nail it, but I think I'm fairly consistent with striving to be as authentic as possible.

Source // Pinterest
There are so many factors that allow us to be jaded in our authenticity. Social Media being the biggest culprit of them all. 10 years ago, our lives were not as open to the public as they are now. We couldn't instantly tweet what we are doing or what emotion we are feeling. We could take a picture of our pretty coffee shop coffee, throw a filter on it, and show the world our lovely treat. We did have FB, but I was just getting started with it, so it was pretty foreign to me at that point and not everyone could join at that time. It goes without saying, but our lives can be as open of a book as we choose to let it be, even without our control at times.

Source // Pinterest
So how do we stay authentic in a world of social media, societal pressures, and other stressors?

I have no freakin' clue!

I can honestly say I feel I am authentic for a good majority of the time. At work, with friends, with J, and with family. However, in different settings I adjust my technique of being authentic. Not necessarily my technique of being genuine, but maybe showing how authentic I can be. I wonder if I shield my authenticity around certain people or groups, and if so, why? As I'm writing this, I'm literally digging through my thoughts on the subject. So sorry if it seems a little wish-washy. That being said, now that I'm looking at it, it might mean that I am not being as authentic as once thought I was.  However, different people bring out different things in you, so that could be a factor as well. 

I'm not sure why, but honesty and authenticity seem to be synonymous with one another. Although, they are not. To be authentic is to be genuine, to be honest is to tell the truth. I think being genuine and telling the truth have some overlap, but are still wholeheartedly different. Sometimes my honesty will get me in trouble, but I don't think authenticity will every get you in trouble. You may be disliked, but I think everyone wants to see the genuine person in each of us. I'd rather be honest (even if it is brutal) than sugar coat what I'm thinking or feeling. There is a fine line between being honest and doing it with or with out tact. It is not to say that honesty and authenticity are one in the same. I do think honesty is a trait of my authenticity.

When it comes to how authentic I am on social media or how I present myself on social media, I like others, for the most part only post the 'happy times'. No one wants to see a picture of me crying when I'm upset. No one wants to see an angry tweet when I've be wronged or hurt. People generally don't want to see those things on social media. Which is where blogging comes in, I can't put all my feelings and thoughts on here, but I can get very close to it. I do pick and choose what I post, but everything is as authentic as I am. I chose to share my life via social media, which is my choice and solely my choice. Not everyone chooses to be this way and I understand and accept that. The standard that I hold for myself is as long as I'm being authentic, positive, and true to myself then it will be posted.

Patricia Thompson, the author of the article, provided six tips to hone in on your authenticity and I thought I'd share them with you. #5 really got me thinking, especially about how I express myself and how others do as well:

1. Imagine your older self sharing life lessons with you.
2. Check in with yourself.
3. Start small.
4. Be prepared for others' reactions.
5. Don't use authenticity an an excuse for bad behaviors.
6. Recognize you can tolerate discomfort.

Sadly, I'll admit I do use my authenticity as an excuse for bad behaviors, at times. Generally when I am in an argument with J, or anyone for that matter (but this doesn't happen very often, so mostly with J). I know it is not fair to be rude or disrespectful, even if I am trying to get my point across. There is a way to be authentic, yet respectful, which I need to work towards when I am angry. I've seen friends use this tactic when they are angry/upset as well, its definitely the easy route to take when upset. Acknowledging and accepting this difference is not as easy as it looks. When you're so angry you can't stand it, how do you remind yourself to be kind in your approach and/or delivery? Especially when all you want to do is rip their head off or throw a verbal assault their way. It's easy to say "I'm being honest," but as I reflect on moments like this, I realize I'm speaking to hurt, not to be authentic. It gets blurry when your emotions intertwine themselves into a conversation, so it is my goal to remember to be authentic, yet respectful.

It is a true challenge to be truly authentic in everything you do. I know that I am not authentic all the time, but that I put a high value in doing so. As long as I work towards being the most authentic version of myself, then I know I'm headed in the right direction. I am making the choice to work towards authenticity in my communication skills. This will be challenging for me, because I'm comfotable using it as an excuse for my poor communication behaviors. It will take time, but I realize that to be more effective in what I am saying and authentic, I need to re approach my delivery. Authenticity seems to be the easier (taking very lightly) part, delivery seems to be the hard part!

To be genuine, to be ME!

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  1. I love your thoughts on authenticity. I reallt focus on being genuine and authentic in life, I'm not perfect but this awareness has helped me so much!

  2. I feel like the older I get, the easier it is to be more authentic... probably because I have a better sense of who I actually am rather than trying to put on some act in hopes of fitting in. I like what you said about not using authenticity as an excuse for bad behaviour, though. I try to be kind to people and remember they everyone is dealing with their own sh*t. Although it can be hard to be patient and calm when I'm stuck behind someone who doesn't know how to drive lol.


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