The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines authenticity as: "true to one's own personality, spirit, or character". Psychology Today shares that "individuals considered authentic are those who strive to align their actions with their core values and beliefs with the hope of discovering, and then acting in sync with, their true selves".
Authenticity is determined by both the unveiling of the innate self as well as the choices people make throughout their lives. When these two things are in alignment, people report experiencing more joy and meaning in their lives. In fact, authenticity is known as the "bedrock of well-being". It is correlated with self-esteem, purpose, vitality, and the ability to set and accomplish goals. It is also linked to coping skills that allow individuals to navigate life challenges successfully.
The Unveiling of the Innate Self
The first step to leading an authentic life is doing the work to identify who you are at your core - or innate self. This innate self can be covered up by family, societal or cultural expectations. For many of us religion has played a role in creating belief systems that may, or may not, work for us any longer. The unveiling of the true self begins with removing all of the "shoulds" in your life. Some of these "shoulds" are so deeply ingrained in us, that we don't even realize that they are driving our lives and hiding who we really are (at times, even from ourselves). Removing these and discovering what is remaining is the first investigation. You have a natural, wise, innate self that knows what is best for you and knows all the answers for you in your life. When we uncover this self, it can begin to show up and lead your life.
The Sum of your Choices
The second step to leading an authentic life is to align your choices with your innate self. Let's be honest here - you are not your thoughts, your feelings or your intentions. When it all comes down to it, you are the sum of your choices. Developing the ability to courageously make choices in alignment with your authentic self allows you to experience feeling whole and complete. It also allows you to have the impact on your life, you work, or your family that you were born to have. Your innate self is unique for a purpose, and living in alignment with that truth is what begins to open all the doors in your life. This is where the magic happens.
Characteristics of Authenticity
Authentic people tend to have the ability to speak their mind gracefully, respond to internal expectations rather than external ones, and fulfill their unique passion and purpose. Authentic people know who they are and can stand firmly in their truth. They aren't threatened by failure and can admit their faults. They accept themselves and others, they have clarity on what they need and where they are going, and they have strong self-esteem.
The science is clear that leading an authentic life is linked with success and happiness. It takes time, it can be challenging, and it requires a commitment (to yourself). If you are interested in learning more, schedule a free consultation or sign up for my 16-week Authenticity Coaching package.
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Mindy Amita Aisling