In today’s world of dummy accounts, alter personas, and flashy social media posts, authenticity has become harder and harder to come by. Which leads us to the question: how can you be authentic in a fake world?
Understanding ways to be more authentic will not only help you become more effective at work or in your business. It will also allow you to let go a bit more and let you live your best life.
What is Authenticity?
But first thing first. What exactly are we talking about when we say authenticity? Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines it as “of undisputed origin or authorship” or a “reliable, accurate representation.”
For instance, when art experts confirm famous artworks’ authenticity, they’re verifying that is what it claims to be – that the very hands of Van Gogh or Claude Monet really held the brush that produced the strokes on that canvas.
When applied to everyday life in today’s world, authenticity is all about acting in a way that shows who you really are and how you feel. Sadly, not a lot of people care enough to try to be authentic. Why? There can be a myriad of reasons. But possibly the most common one is that they’ve already projected an image of themselves. And because this image has already gotten a lot of likes and hearts, they feel the need to keep up with the lie.
Why Authenticity Matters
So, why does authenticity matter today? Well-being technology expert Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., says technology has made it more challenging to be authentic today. After all, we take cues from the media on who we should be and how we must express ourselves. However, these could be the very things that might be eating up our authentic selves.
“But by being someone you are not, you are telling yourself that who you really are isn’t okay,” Davis wrote in an article for Psychology Today. And according to her, suppressing who we really are can result in feelings of loneliness, disconnection, and even worthlessness.
Well, no one wants to feel that way! Authenticity matters because it allows us to celebrate ourselves – flaws and all. We want to embrace our unique identity without needing to worry about being “canceled” or not having enough likes.
Ways To Be More Authentic
You don’t have to go offline and live under a rock to be an authentic person. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of reflection to be confident enough to be who you really are. Here are a few ways to be more authentic in today’s world.
Learn More About Yourself
It all starts with knowing yourself. It’s hard to be authentic when you don’t want to show who you really are, but it’s even harder to do so when you see a stranger every time you look in the mirror. Sometimes, you need to turn off the noise all around you so you can listen to the voice within.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What temperament do you have? Knowing more about yourself will allow you to care for and love yourself better.
Understand Your Beliefs
What are the things that you care about? And what advocacies do you genuinely want to support? Some people quickly jump on the bandwagon and ride trendy hashtags just to be part of the conversation. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with supporting causes. Just make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and not just to be relevant.
Understand Your Self-Doubts
Self-doubt is one of the main reasons why people are afraid to show their true selves. They’re afraid that others might judge them and they won’t fit in.
The first step to overcoming your self-doubt is to understand and accept why you doubt yourself in the first place. What is it that makes you insecure? Is there a certain skill or area you’re unconfident in?
By understanding your insecurities, you can act on them and improve yourself to boost your self-esteem. For instance, if you feel insecure about speaking in public, you may want to take up classes to feel more confident to take on the task.
One of the most challenging ways to be more authentic is to build the courage to do so. First of all, it takes courage to admit that you’re putting on a false front. Moreover, it takes even bigger courage to decide to be more authentic and let your true self come out of the shell.
For instance, social media platforms such as Instagram were built to let users express themselves. If you’re simply using the channel to express yourself, then maybe you should have the courage to over-curate your feed to earn more heart reactions. As long as the photo you’re posting doesn’t violate community standards, stop worrying if your friends will like it or if it will gain you more followers.
Being authentic may not be an easy ride, but being true to yourself and letting others know who you are will be worth it.
Needing to love ourselves so that we can love others may be a cliche, but there’s surely some truth there. When you love yourself, you feel happier and become more optimistic in general. Because you accept yourself for who you are, you become more confident to let your real personality and feelings shine through.
But how exactly can you love yourself? One way is not to compare yourself to others. Moreover, don’t make yourself feel as if you’re in a race with other people. Also, know how to say no whenever you need to. Setting boundaries is part of self-care, and it applies both to physical and online settings.
Believe In Yourself
Last but not least, on our list of ways to be more authentic is to believe in yourself. Don’t put your self-worth in the hands of other people and how they react to your social media presence. Though likes and shares can boost one’s confidence, don’t let it be your end-all, be-all. Other people’s digital approval may feel great for a few minutes. But none of that will matter if you feel like a fraud at the end of the day.