“March to your own drum” is a phrase my mother often said to me. I’ve always been a little strange, hanging just outside the realm of normative behaviors, but I have always been me. I’ve always strived to be my own person, set my own path, and built honest relationships with folks.

So, to thine own self be true. 

 What does it mean to be authentic?

Being authentic is about being real. Expressing your real nature, actual beliefs, real identity, original thoughts. Authenticity is about being true to yourself. Now I hope that being your authentic self is a good thing for society – trustworthy, having morals, integrity, kindness, etc. As long as you aren’t a socio or psychopath, being your true to yourself shouldn’t be such a bad thing. I personally think authentic people live in the moment and are present for interactions.  

 Do you consider yourself authentic? 

About 90% of the time, I am an authentic and genuine social being, the other 10% I am trying to reign in my thoughts, attitude, and behavior to be socially appropriate (work events, lectures, etc.) I can admit that during trying times, being comfortable with your own imperfections and vulnerability is not easy – that is why they sell alcohol. {I jest, drink responsibly} – but self-reflection and meditation make it easier to accept yourself as is. Being authentic takes works, while you are you naturally, being content being yourself may not come naturally. It is a continuous cycle of checking our biases, self-reflection, and self-improvement. You have to practice what you preach. While I boast about being authentic, I am always reflecting on my words and actions (do they match), this sometimes takes me out living in the moment. I try to take note when I’m not genuine and challenge myself to redirect my behavior or speech that aligns with my true intentions ^ insert a Sassy Girl, better check yo’ self ^

I often ask my self what in that situation made me respond in a disingenuine way. It could be as simple as I’m hungry/ low blood sugar that made me act against my authentic self, or on a serious note, I could have been doubting my self-worth or purpose. And on a personal growth note – I know my authentic self could be less sarcastic and less direct. 

 Do you believe that some people do not have the capability to be authentic? 

I personally don’t feel everyone has the capability to be authentic. Some people lack the social ability to be themselves. And then there people who are just not what they actually claim to be. People put on a facade not reflective of their authentic self but a facade that aids their end goals. Additionally, there are people out there that have no concept of self. People who lack the ability to be authentic are always stuck in a dramaturgical stage (presentation of self), echoing what they think other’s want to hear, see, or do. Their actions and words may not line up regularly because they are not getting the social cues to align them. If you encounter those people, encourage them to reflect on their own wants, needs, morals, ethics, and actions.
People that compromise their identity to fit others interest are not who you want to be and are not someone you should want to be around.
Now I don’t think that being inauthentic is innately negative or evil, but it just isn’t what I want to be and not who I want to be around.

I think that you should try to surround yourself with people who share the message of their true self. Those who walk the walk, and talk the talk. I say try because we all slip and slide, show grace when you can and when appropriate – but remember that true character always comes to the surface.

Thanks for reading my random thoughts on authenticity. The subject matter has been on my mind recently. 

There are a lot of exciting articles on authenticity in business and social science journals. Check some out, google scholar that shit.