The Cambridge Dictionary Online defines authenticity as the quality of being real or true. Inter-personally, being authentic means being honest, having a high level of integrity (keeping promises for example) and being true to who you are in terms of expressing your beliefs, opinions, feelings and thoughts.
In reality being an authentic person is more complex, for example, someone who is authentic presents themselves in the same light to everyone and refrains from modifying their behavior around different social groups. This isn’t to say that when at an opera they wouldn’t be more quiet – in some social environments it is entirely appropriate for us to modify our behavior – however it is to say that the authentic person would not pretend to be a different version of themselves entirely.
In today’s society when our friendship groups are becoming even more fragmented it is easy to portray different aspects of ourselves to the different social groups we inhabit but it becomes destructive when we choose to omit crucial pieces of information about our lives and identities depending on what social group we are speaking to. When we do this, we give up our authenticity, and our integrity, self respect and self-esteem suffer as a result. In essence we have seized to honestly communicate who we are to others, which also leads to less intimacy in our close relationships.
Of course there are varying degrees of authenticity and it is not strictly a case of whether you are authentic or not. Some people may have a few close friends they are authentic with and many others that they are not.
Of course there are many different reasons why someone may choose to not be authentic. A common fear is that they may think if they were truly themselves others may not accept them, whilst still others may use being inauthentic as a way to protect themselves because they have a fear of intimacy.
The beauty in leading a truly authentic life however lies in realizing that everyone accepts you for who you truly are, something which everyone ultimately desires and which is completely priceless.
What do you think authenticity is? Do you consider yourself authentic? Have you struggled with the fear of intimacy or feeling like if you were your true self less people may accept you? Please comment below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, I’d love to hear from you.
Following using psychology to transform my life, I founded Accessible Psychology to help empower others to live the life they long for. My journey is living testimony that no matter where you are, absolutely everyone can apply psychology in order to lead more fulfilling lives.
Oh and I love Oprah, Marie Forleo, Tony Robbins and lovely people like you!