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Authenticity and Happiness
What does it mean to be authentic?
Modern Day Happiness: Keeping Your Authenticity
It often seems like everyone preaches the need for authenticity.
Yet, it feels risky to be authentic.
We want to fit in.
We want people to like us. And we wish everyone would accept us just the way we are.
To achieve this acceptance, we choose to show who we think we could be rather than what we truly are. That's why social media is so full of "fake people."
Many people have come up with definitions for what authenticity is.
Some say it's about owning your thoughts and feelings.
Others say it's about being truthful, whether or not you get hurt by telling the truth.
Still, others say it's about not caring what others think.
But What Does it Truly Mean to Live Authentically?
Authenticity means accepting your authentic self.
It means accepting that you're perfectly imperfect and learning to love yourself despite that.
Authenticity doesn't make you immune to criticism, hurt feelings, or rejection.
You can still get rejected and embarrassed when expressing yourself. However, by being authentic, you won't have to carry around the fear that everyone else is thinking one thing about you versus your opinion of what's happening around you.
Adopting an authentic attitude is about embracing reality.
It's about letting go of wishful thinking. An authentic attitude is about facing your fears and making difficult choices.
Finally, a genuine person speaks his opinion honestly but in a healthy manner.
By being authentic, you're free to express how you feel, communicate your ideas, and make decisions that support your values.
“Don't let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. It's your life, not theirs. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don't let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality — not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. There is much more to life than following others' prescribed path. There is so much more to life than what you experience right now. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being. Adventure.”
― Roy T. Bennett
Why Choose To Be Authentic?
It is harder to be ourselves today than at any point in history. There are more opportunities to fit in and reach a broad audience. However, there are also more ways to express ourselves than ever before.
We can have many different personalities on our social media accounts. It's easy to shop for some temporary relief from life's harsher moments. But as we try on different personalities, we lose our sense of who we are.
We become confused about what's us and what's not us.
It's like we're playing dress-up and pretending. But, when we lose sight of our authentic selves, we might feel anxious or depressed. We might feel ugly or different from everyone else.
Some people's lives may even feel pointless because they don't know their purpose in life.
When you choose to become someone you're not, you tell yourself that the real you is not up to standard - that you dislike being you.
Hiding who you are or suppressing your true self will leave you feeling unfulfilled and meaningless.
The choice to be authentic will lead to your happiness and contentment.
It's the only way to experience life on your terms and stay true to yourself. To remain true to yourself, you must embrace reality.
The best way to do that is by being 100% honest with yourself, whatever that may be.
How Can We Become Authentic?
Try these strategies:
Be truthful. The whole idea behind authenticity is about maintaining our integrity with the truth. But many people learned from an early age to be people-pleasers, not truth-tellers.
Our parents taught us that there was nothing wrong with white lies. We learned to pretend and act as if we were friendly. But pretence is lying, even if we do so to protect others.
Speak your mind. Authenticity is all about speaking our minds and being honest with our feelings. Yet, this can be very dangerous in a world that can punish us for expressing ourselves too much or too little.
It can feel scary to speak up and not care what others think because we want to be true to ourselves. But, when you speak your mind, you'll find the courage to step outside of the ordinary and say what you need to say without fear of judgment.
The most important thing in understanding authenticity is not about getting a high grade or shaking everyone up with how we speak the truth. It's about being true to ourselves, forging our path, and making decisions that support our values.
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” ― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
The goal of authenticity is to eliminate any feelings of shame and low self-worth.
By being vulnerable, you'll be able to embrace a family of people who understand the real you.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”― Carl Gustav Jung
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