Discovering Authenticity

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” ― May Sarton

What does it mean to be Authentic?  As I begin writing this week’s editorial, I am struck with the reality that I am unsure what it means to be Authentic.  Research has indicated that authentic persons accept their strengths and weaknesses. These people are connected to their ideals and desires and act purposely in ways that are consistent with those attributes.  But still what does that really mean?  Does, authenticity begin when you set the intention to be genuine. Then, an authentic person would have to be aware of what that looks and feels like, and a have a willingness to act in accordance with his or her genuine nature even when it feels vulnerable.

“Heroes are never perfect, but they're brave, they're authentic, they're courageous, determined, discreet, and they've got grit.” - Wade Davis

Merriam-Webster defines authentic as; real or genuine, true and accurate: made to be or look just like an original; true to one's own personality, spirit, or character.  Translation, an authentic individual does not thoughtlessly follow the crowd. In other words, being authentic means standing out, rather then fitting in.  A freethinking, authentic person cultivates independent thoughts on who they are, what’s important to them and what they value to guide decisions.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ― C.G. Jung

Being authentic means being our true-selves or higher-self, but how many people have truly set aside the time or done the hard work to understand ourselves on this deep level.  Devoting meaningful time to reflect on what is important to us, what resonates, what is truly our belief is a step we must all take to discover our true-selves.  It is a continuous and never ending effort to understand our core essence and should be taken seriously. By exposing ourselves to new ideas and different ways of being, we can discover what resonates within.

Living authentically is by no means stagnant and never 100% complete. It is a constantly shifting endeavor and taking on new shapes. We must continually re-discover ourselves, challenge old beliefs, develop new habits and let go of old baggage. Being Authentic is about learning to face our fears and doubts, and discover our nature, to find out what brings us joy and gratitude.  Ultimately having the courage to live from this place.