4) Be diplomatically honest
Become mindful of when you tell white lies and start practising being diplomatically honest. Being totally honest honours our authenticity by showing our genuine nature and consequently allows us to retain a high level of integrity. For guidance on how to be diplomatically honest, see part two of this series under ‘Blocks to Authenticity’ – Kind vs. Honest.
This also means not editing or tailoring what you say to suit the type of persona you want to portray to certain groups of friends and choosing to rather be your same self to everyone you know!
5) Express your true thoughts, opinions, beliefs and feelings
If you tend to be passive and find sharing your thoughts, opinions, beliefs and feelings particularly hard or tend to be aggressive and don’t leave room for others to express their own thoughts, opinions, beliefs and feelings I recommend reading ‘Assertiveness: A Journey Worth Taking’. The article is very helpful for those of us who are either too passive or aggressive in our communication style and lists step by step instructions on how to begin communicating assertively.
6) Be courageous when sharing yourself with others, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable!
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we let others see our insecurities, feelings and flaws. Don’t get me wrong, this is scary but with practise it gets easier. This doesn’t mean sharing every single insecurity we have with everyone but it does mean sharing your insecurities if it will help those close to you better understand your behaviour or what you are going through.
For example, when one of my best friends recently moved to America I felt very insecure in my remaining friendships. I had known the friend that moved since I was fourteen and we had always been very close. Our friendship group was a foursome but now it was a threesome. Suddenly I felt like my remaining friends were closer to each other than they were to me, I felt like an outsider. At the same time I was on a tight budget which meant I couldn’t go out as often as my other two friends, often meaning they would meet up without me.
At first they invited me but at around the tenth time I said I couldn’t make it they didn’t invite me out as much, not to everything anyway. I decided to allow myself to be vulnerable and explained that I was very insecure in my friendships with them and that I felt they were closer to one another than to me, which had become more apparent to me since our other friend had moved to the States.
My friends were genuinely surprised that I had been feeling so insecure. They were extremely supportive and reassuring that my friendship was very important to them, emphasising that they felt as close to me as they did one another. They even agreed that although I often couldn’t make it, they would still invite me whenever they met up.
An equally valuable time to share our insecurities, feelings and flaws is when you think it may help others. This enables others to relate to us on a more human level and allows others to feel understood. Also, sharing how we have managed our insecurities, feelings and flaws in the past can serve to offer solutions to those who are facing similar difficulties, at a time when they may be unsure how to navigate their way through such challenges.
Authenticity creates harmony between our internal and external worlds. It takes courage but in return our integrity, self-respect and self-esteem all rise and our relationships deepen.
When we are unmistakably ourselves we are accepted for who we truly are. Nothing can, or ever will, compare to the feeling of being cherished despite our imperfect nature. It is what genuine intimacy is all about, intimacy that floods into the very core of our being, quietly asserting that we are lovable – just as we are.
To me that’s something worth working towards, so needless to say no more white lies for me! Start being uniquely and unashamedly you today, because you deserve nothing less than the harmony and liberty authenticity so generously delivers.
Which steps would you like to adopt to be more authentic in your day to day life? Did you define what your values are or create meaningful goals which were personal to you? What would your life look like if you were completely authentic? Please share your thoughts below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.
‘Getting Real: Ten Truth Skills You Need To Live An Authentic Life’ by PhD Susan Campbell