Being authentic and growing into yourself

Authenticity, or being who you truly are, is a very dif­fi­cult thing to do. If you don’t agree, think about the num­ber of times you have dis­agreed with your boss’ opin­ion and wanted to tell them what you really think of their latest idea for time allot­ments at work and how often you actu­ally said what you wanted to say. Not easy. Not even a good idea for the most part — espe­cially when rather than work­ing you would like to be at home in your pyja­mas, doing noth­ing most days.

Authenticity is a concept I have struggled with per­son­ally. I have always been an hon­est-to-a-fault kind of per­son. I am a ter­rible liar, and as a res­ult I find it just makes more sense to say what I truly mean. Does this mean that I am cruel or harsh with my hon­esty? No. I do truly try to take into account how oth­ers might feel when I tell them what I truly feel.

When I was young­er and someone asked me what I thought, I would tell them without thought. For example, I thought when a friend asked my opin­ion of their new boyfriend’s beha­viour I should tell them what I thought of the beha­viour. If they asked, surely they want to know? Being a pretty loy­al per­son, the last thing I would want is for them to feel unap­pre­ci­ated and for me to see them unap­pre­ci­ated! However, you can ima­gine my sur­prise when telling them upset them and they were angry for my feed­back. So in that cir­cum­stance, being my authen­t­ic self and being hon­est with feed­back was actu­ally dif­fi­cult. Reading the signs of what someone wanted me to say became much more imper­at­ive. I star­ted hold­ing back my opin­ion more often and deliv­er­ing what was neces­sary when I saw a true and hon­est opin­ion was not war­ran­ted, but sup­port was war­ran­ted and just a listen­ing ear instead. Did I find it dif­fi­cult? Absolutely. Almost as dif­fi­cult as wear­ing shoes that are too small for your feet.

As I have matured and learned more about myself, my abil­ity to be hon­est and to tell someone what I truly mean has become an asset. My hon­est-to-a-fault approach is very much appre­ci­ated by those in my life who want a friend or foe they can trust, who they can count on for the dif­fi­cult times and decisions they need to make. More often, people are dir­ectly ask­ing for my hon­est opin­ion and ask­ing me not to fil­ter what I think! Imagine what I per­ceived once as a source of con­flict is now my source of strength.

So how does this have any­thing to do with devel­op­ing your authen­t­ic self? I wanted to give my own examples to demon­strate that with your best inten­tions, being your authen­t­ic self may not be the per­son you feel oth­ers around you will accept or appre­ci­ate.

In order to fully grow as a per­son, the people who truly love you (fam­ily, friend, or folly) will always have some­thing to learn and grow from them­selves with the example of you being your­self, whomever you know that per­son to be, deep in your core.

Your unique qualities are what the world really needs, as all of us have something very special to contribute.

Sit with your­self for a few minutes today and think about what qual­it­ies you know to be your true self. Perhaps you have become sep­ar­ated from them and need to become reac­quain­ted with those parts of you that truly will make you and the world around you a bet­ter place. We are all wait­ing to see them!

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