Why is being authentic such a challenge sometimes?
Most of us care what others think of us and want to be liked. It’s only human to want approval and connection.
We have molded ourselves to certain situations or people to gain approval. We have tried to please teachers and parents, and wanted to have friends. That’s not always a bad thing.
But problems arise when we act in a way that is not in line with our true opinion, character or values in order to be liked. When we sacrifice our authenticity in this way, we send a signal to ourselves that we aren’t good enough as we are. In this way, we lose both our authenticity and confidence in ourselves.
And over time, saying or doing something so that others will like and accept us can make it harder to recall who we are underneath all the adaptations.
Popularity comes from authenticity and confidence
The funny thing is, while we’re busy trying to act the way we think others want us to, in the end people like us most when we are authentic.
Think about someone in your own life that you trust and respect. Why is this? Most likely the answer involves the fact that they are honest, straight-forward and say what they mean.
Authenticity is a marker of confidence and trust, and will get us farther than simply being agreeable or pleasing. I once dated someone who was supportive and caring, but he didn’t have a lot of his own opinions and I was left wondering who he really was and what he believed.
And consider today’s American presidential race. Two of the contenders, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, are seen as the most unfiltered – passionate about their beliefs and not so concerned with whether they are offending people with their positions. Whether or not you agree with them, they appear authentic and confident, and therefore many people trust them more than those who they think are part of the political establishment.
Other powers of authenticity
What if you could remove the filter and just be your authentic self? Positive results could follow, such as:
1. People trust you, because there’s no heirs, falsehood or phoniness. And with trust comes influence.
2. You find who your real friends are. When you are authentic, so are the connections that you make. (We’re not meant to connect with everyone we meet.)
3. You build confidence in yourself, and gain confidence from others.
4. Your energy grows. It takes a lot more energy to mold yourself to others than it does to just be yourself. And in that energy of authenticity is a freedom, lightness and contentment.
Most of the time no one cares as much as you about what you are saying or doing. People aren’t giving you as much thought as you might think.
What if, just for the next week, you took off the like-ability filter? What if for one week you said to yourself, “Who cares?” and focused on what you honestly thought? You might find that your thoughts flow more freely and you have more to say.
And as you say more, you’ll learn that you can survive disagreement and even being disliked – it’s really not a big deal. The world doesn’t fall apart. People move on, and so can you.
What does the real you have to say?
Will you let the world experience the authentic you? It is your gift and your strength, so share it. I’d love to hear your unfiltered thoughts and, if you liked this post, share it or forward it along.
Photo by Ryan McGuire @ gratisography.com.
Great post! It speaks to something I think about a lot. But how, oh how, do you take off the filter? We spend our early lives in training for it – now it seems locked in place!
Thanks, Erin. Think baby steps – like speaking a thought or opinion you might normally hold back – and it will get easier. The brain can be re-trained!