Copyright@ Simona Zaino
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Carl Jung once said ''the privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are''.
Once you have become who you truly are, being authentic is the willingness and ability to show it to others.
But what is the value of authenticity in a world where human communication takes place across various technological platforms, geographical locations and cultures? And is it possible and desirable to be authentic when it is so easy to create a persona that represents the 'glamorized' version of you?
Let's start by defining authenticity. The most common definition in dictionaries is ''the quality of being genuine and real''. Therefore authenticity entails an individual possessing certain traits:
1. Self understanding: an awareness of their own identity, values and beliefs
2. Living up to their values: consistency between values and behaviour
3. Transparency in personal relationships: expressing their genuine feelings and opinions to others and not being afraid of showing vulnerability
So how do we achieve authenticity? Here are some suggestions:
Look inside yourself with courage and an open mind and identify who you are right now, whom you want to become and whom you don't want to be. Identify what you want to keep and what you want to change about yourself.
2. Accept you're not perfect.. and neither is everybody else!
Nobody is flawless or perfect. We all behave according to our current beliefs and we judge any situation based on them. Sometimes our beliefs lead us to misjudge a situation, which in turn leads to undesired results.
When this happens we need to review our beliefs. This is part of the natural human process of learning and adapting. Recognizing that you need to fine-tune your beliefs to fit the new situation is not a sign of weakness. It is the way to facilitate adaptation. Don't let you ego get in the way! Accept your 'mistake' in judging the situation, understand what led you there and fine-tune your beliefs to the new reality.
3.Recognize when and why you're wearing a mask
Sometimes we were a mask to protect ourselves, usually when we feel that exposing our true identity is not 'safe' with certain individuals or within certain organizations. And other times we do so to create a sense of belonging to a certain group or to increase popularity (in the case of a public figure, for example).
Have you been doing this? If so, being aware of it will help avoid confusion between your mask and your real self. Make a clear distinction between the two and evaluate when/if it is worth continuing to wear a mask. You may realize that, in some cases, expressing your authenticity will require limiting your interaction with the people and situations that 'threaten' it.
4. Be spontaneous and 'improvise' more
Spontaneity is the quality of responding to a situation without filtering or planning. It is the 'go with the flow' attitude. This may seem scary in certain situations, as you may feel that the lack of planning exposes you to uncertainty. In reality, our instinct, coupled with the right dose of caution, will help us handle most situations safely. And what if we improvise and something goes wrong? Then go back and read point 2 above :)
5. Constructive criticism is your friend
Take constructive criticism and advice on board. Genuine, unbiased feedback that aims to supporting and facilitating our learning process should always be welcome as it improves our understanding of and adaptation to any new situation and experience.
If we understand what authenticity truly is, we can easily identify the key benefits:
Author: Simona Zaino
Simona is a qualified Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition & Life Coach . Read about her here
Image: free Adobe Stock Images