The world as it is today is a far cry from being perfect. Suffice it to say, it is marred and broken, and in many instances, it is spiritually and morally bankrupt.
Within that framework, it is becoming more and more difficult to remain true to your inner self, the values, principles and morals that you vowed to uphold according to biblical standards.
I am certain that many of us can recall our childhood days when our parents taught us right from wrong. We were encouraged to live right, to be true to ourselves and to pursue our dreams.
There was a standard by which we were measured to make sure that we lived a life of integrity. Yet as adults, we find that we are often pressured to conform to society, and in the process, we slip and we lose ourselves and regrettably, some to the point of no return.
There are some however who have mastered the art of living an authentic life. These persons remain fearless and courageous even in the midst of adversity and contradiction.
They are not easily swayed, much less broken because of the unmatched emotional strength, the deep conviction and charisma that they possess.
So why do some persons succumb to the pressures of life, while others are able to withstand? How is that possible? What do they do different?
“Authenticity for entrepreneurs starts deep in the foundation of the business and is something best communicated with actions as opposed to words. Your audience will resonate with authenticity. But saying it doesn’t make it so.” ~ Deborah Tutnauer
Exploring Some of the Meanings of Authentic
What does it mean to be authentic? Several meanings have been explored and the meaning given at [thefreedictionary.com] in part states authentic as –
- “Conforming to fact and therefore worthy of trust, reliance or belief.”
- “Being so in fact, not fraudulent or counterfeit”
Additional definition comes from two well-known psychologists Brian Goldman and Michael Kerns in which they have given the meaning of “authenticity” to mean the “unimpeded operation on one’s true or core self in one’s daily enterprise.”
As I studied what others had to say about authenticity, Wikipedia compared it to a philosophy.
It says that [“authenticity is a technical term used in psychology as well as existentialist philosophy and aesthetics. In existentialism, authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite external pressures; the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces, pressures and influences which are very different from, and other than, itself. A lack of authenticity is considered in existentialism to be bad faith.”]
When it is being observed in others, Trinity of openhandweb.org had this to say:
“You can’t ‘try’ to be authentic. You can’t train yourself or follow a technique to learn. You can however, self-realize and allow your layers of baggage to fall away. In so doing, authenticity will arise more and more as a divine expression of your being.”
She alluded to the fact that authenticity threatens the egoist mind, and brings to a demise of an ego led behavior.
So, now that I have put the spotlight on what others have said, what comes to your mind as you think about authentic or authenticity? [let us hear about it in the comment section of this post 🙂 ]
For me, I believe that being authentic has everything to do with being credible, honest, genuine and true to yourself. It has at its roots in self-awareness and self-knowledge. These two factors allow you to be real without having to feel the pressure of being someone else or acting and behaving in a different way just because the spotlight is on you.
It’s about being true and real not fake or counterfeit. It’s about being accountable and being deeply connected to your values and conducting yourself in a way that is consistent with exceptional standards and qualities whatever you have established those to be.
Spirituality & Authenticity – Is There a Link?
It is unlikely that one can speak about being genuine and authentic or living and authentic life without some mention of spirituality. I consider there to be a link between the two.
God the Supreme Being, the Creator of all things visible and invisible, is the author and the origin of authenticity and so our true self can only be found in Him. As the source of it, authenticity is expressed directly from Him through the soul in its raw, unhindered form. He is truth and light, and in Him there is no darkness.
We are His offspring, who were created in His image and after His likeness.
Authenticity and spirituality proclaims the reality of who He is and never apologizes for the precedent that He has already established in His word as found in the Bible.
Both function transparently at all times and do not excuse sin. They seek and honor wisdom while recognizing the need to value humility and grace as the only means by which we can be saved.
Finally, authenticity and spirituality points mankind ahead to a perfected future life without giving in to the pressures and struggles of this present day life.
Hindrances to Living an Authentic Life
Here are a few hindrances to living an authentic life:
- Hidden sin or sin in one’s life
- Keep up with the Jones’ syndrome
- External influences
- Socio-economic factors
- No clear mission/vision in life
- Biased self-awareness
- Limited knowledge of who you are
11 Ways to Live An Authentic Life in a Contradictory World
1.) Define your core values, mission, and your purpose and build your foundation on this. – A strong robust foundation will build your inner man and help you to stay grounded and focused.
2.) Some may consider you to be out of the ordinary but never apologize for God’s precedent as established in the Holy Bible, and make no apology for who you and what He created you to be.
3.) Never be afraid to speak what you believe and always practice what you preach – only a coward would do things differently to what he or she believes.
4.) Always give your honest opinion regardless of what others think or say. Living an authentic life sometimes mean that you have to be the bearer of the bad news as well, not just the good news.
5.) Be an active listener. – This brings to mind the biblical truth that everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
6.) Accept your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Always remember, perfection does not exist.
7.) Don’t believe everything that you hear. Sometimes you may have to dig deeper for the truth so look for the opportunities where you can ask the tough questions.
8.) The world have a tendency to give you the prettiest picture with just the large prints. Take time to dig deeper in order to get to the fine prints and take advantage of whatever loopholes you discover.
9.) Forgive quickly and learn to let go of your past hurts and negative experiences. As far as possible, live in the moment and never be afraid to explore your immediate surroundings.
10.) Be kind and caring to the environment and never forget to exercise mercy and compassion to others.
11.) Pay close attention to those times when you find that you are being insincere or inauthentic. Find out what makes you think, speak and act the way you do. Here is where you then need to quickly address the problem and realign with your core values, mission and so on.
In the final analysis, as individuals, we have a responsibility to be true to ourselves. Becoming authentic and living authentically in a contradictory world, remains an individual mission and will be different from one person to another.
Some basic fundamental principles will remain unchanged, but we ought to be cognizant that this whole thing about being authentic is a continuous process. It should never be looked at as an event that you can toast to.
It is a lifelong process and we must never fall short of celebrating the smallest of our victories along the way.
Your Turn, Over to You
In what ways did this post resonate with you? What are your thoughts about authenticity or living an authentic life? What additional ways do you think that we can live an authentic life?
photos courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net