Authentic is Awesome!

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I decided to revisit this article when I had an “aha” moment and realized that being authentic can be a powerful tool, for better or worse, for public figures as well as “ordinary” folks.

The rallying cry of “He tells it like it is,” even if “what it is” changes daily or isn’t based on facts, shows how powerful authenticity can be.

This is the original article, with a perspective geared more toward you as an individual:

Authentic is awesome, but it’s also scary as heck, too. Putting yourself out there, vulnerable to the world to accept — or reject — can be frightening. In fact, it’s so frightening that many of us don’t even realize we’re blocking our authentic selves through what we say and do.

Here are three of the ways we block ourselves:

1. Sarcasm. You’re in a meaningful conversation and suddenly…out comes a “joke,” some little snide reference to “lighten” the mood. In that moment, you’re running from your authentic self, protecting yourself because you’re starting to feel vulnerable by the honesty of the moment.

2. Irony. Sarcasm’s evil twin sister. Some people have mastered irony so it comes second nature to them, and they seem incapable of having a genuine moment. Don’t be like that. Abandon the shield of irony and embrace you and those around you.

3. Dishonesty. Both with ourselves and others, but especially with ourselves. I’ve been guilty of this, and it’s only now that I know enough to double-check myself and look for the signs that I might not be facing something I ought to.

If you can’t be real with yourself, who can you be real with? The answer is no one. The tricky thing about lying to ourselves is that we use those lies to protect ourselves from a truth that we aren’t ready to face. Once we face it, though, we’re ready to move on and grow. In the meantime, however, we’re not being real with those around us, or even ourselves.

Taking the time to know and understand what we really feel is frightening enough, but allowing the world to see our true selves takes real courage.

So why do it? Why risk baring our souls to the world?

Because we’ve all been around people who are so comfortable with themselves that we in turn naturally feel more comfortable around them. We feel their spark of humanity, and it in turn sparks something in us.

Wouldn’t you like to give that gift to others? And give the gift to yourself of feeling at ease in your own skin?

This NY Times opinion piece about irony is worth a read, and this Ted Talk on the power of vulnerability is well worth watching.

What is the last thing you did to keep from being vulnerable to others?