In contemporary society, it’s never been easier to cultivate an image. You can create an online persona and pretend to be a very different person from the individual you are in reality. If you have the resources, you can have fillers put into your face or undergo cosmetic surgery. It is also possible to change your look as often as you like.
The concept of authenticity is becoming increasingly popular these days. Perhaps this is happening in reaction to the artificial world people find themselves living in. Authenticity is a psychological and philosophical concept. A person whose behavior is consistent with their opinions and wishes regardless of external influences is perceived as being authentic.
The Benefits of Being Authentic
There are many benefits associated with being true to your own beliefs and desires. Ensuring your words and behavior are genuine will increase your mental health and overall confidence. You will get more of what you really want out of life. It will also make you seem more trustworthy in the eyes of others. Authentic people even seem to inspire those around them to be more sincere.
Would you like to be a more authentic person in the various facets of your daily life? Do you think it would make you more content as a person? If so, here are some pointers to help you accomplish your objective:
Authenticity At Work
You may think that your workplace is off-limits when it comes to genuine self-expression. Some people are afraid to rock the boat at work when they have something to say. They prefer to blend into the background and avoid making any fuss.
While there may be fixed protocols and ways of doing things in your work environment, that doesn’t mean that there can be no room for improvement. If you have suggestions for improvement, make sure your boss hears them. You could either speak to them in person or compose an email.
Impressing Your Boss
Providing suggestions or pointing out the potential for improvement at work won’t annoy your boss if you phrase things diplomatically, follow any procedures, and maintain a positive attitude. Companies and institutions need innovative employees who think outside of the box and aren’t afraid to make suggestions. There would be no positive change without honest creative thinkers in the working environment.
Indeed, being your authentic self and speaking up at work is more likely to impress your employer than vex them. Having the confidence to offer opinions to those in a higher position than yourself is indicative of strong leadership qualities, and employers know it.
You may now, quite correctly, be wondering what you should do if all of your suggestions and opinions are overlooked or ignored at work. If you’re not valued in your role, you can always seek employment somewhere that your voice is more likely to be heard. Alternatively, consider setting up your own business. Remember that being your real self at work means doing a job that makes you happy. It doesn’t mean clock-watching or hoping for your shift to pass quickly.
Being Sincere with Your Partner
Perhaps you have a spouse or a romantic partner who you allow to call the shots just to have an easy life. If you ignore your own desires and beliefs and prioritize those of your partner all of the time, it will not be good for your relationship in the long term. Instead of valuing the sacrifices you make, your partner will probably eventually take them for granted. Thus, all of your needs and opinions will soon be completely overlooked. As a consequence of this, you may become resentful and unhappy in the relationship.
If your partner is psychologically healthy, they won’t mind at all if you express desires and opinions that differ from their own, provided you are kind about it. They will not seek to control you. Instead, they will encourage you to be your genuine self. Anybody who seeks to change you in terms of your attitudes and desires is not really in love with you. If they were, they would accept you as you are.
What should you do if your partner objects to your opinions, behaviors and wishes? If your partner doesn’t like who you genuinely are as an individual, then they aren’t the right person for you and vice versa. In such a situation, it may be kinder to end things and let your partner find someone who already has the qualities they want. Pretending you’re going to change who you aren’t just to make them happy is only going to prolong the agony for both of you.
Being Upfront With Your Parents
Some people really struggle to be sincere with their parents for fear of disappointing them. Nobody wants to make their parents sad. Yet at the same time, you are not the property of your parents. Once you reach the age of majority, you have the right to live your life on your own terms rather than theirs.
Stand Your Ground
Some parents can be quite critical at times. They can quickly condemn your ideas and dreams without stopping to think about the impact this may have on your psychological wellbeing. If your parents are difficult, try to stand your ground no matter how intimidating they can be. If possible, keep the exchange respectful when you assert yourself, even if they do not.
Parents generally want the best for their children. Hence, they can be pushy without meaning to be. However, decent parents know in their hearts that their children have to make their own decisions in life and be true to themselves if they are going to thrive. They are also aware that consistently doing what they want instead of finding your own path make you miserable, and damage your self-esteem.
If a parent is still trying to push you into doing what they want after you have clearly asserted a wish to do things differently, it would be wise to limit your interactions with them until they’ve had time to reflect on things. You get one life. Being authentic means living that life on your own terms.
Telling Your Kids Like It Is
Healthy, loving parents bring children into the world for only one reason: to give love. Thus, it’s perfectly natural to want to do everything in your power to give those children a happy life. However, being a parent doesn’t mean you stop having ideas and wishes of your own, and nor should it.
Let Them Know When You’re Tired
The younger a child is, the less aware they are of any ideas or desires beyond their own. Children learn awareness of others over time. Hence, a kid absorbed in play might not realize you are exhausted after a very long day. Thus, they won’t consider your needs when they ask for some juice, for example. The onus is on you to be genuine about your feelings. Ask your child to give you a few minutes to relax before seeing to their needs when you feel exhausted. Alternatively, if they are old enough, show them how to make their own juice.
Say No Sometimes
It is natural to want to please your child. Nevertheless, children need to hear the word ‘no’ in reply to their requests sometimes. It helps them to understand boundaries and limits. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you refuse to watch their favorite cartoon for the fourth time that day because it’s giving you a headache. Lose the feeling of remorse that sometimes comes with reminding children that you are a human being with ideas and needs of your own.
Not Being Shy with Friends
Most people have a few different types of friends. Each friend has their own unique personality. You may have some assertive friends. Others may even be downright bossy from time to time. When you are in the company of bossier friends, make sure you make your own ideas and opinions heard.
Suppose, for instance, that you always go to the cinema with a particular friend, but you would like to go out to get a bite to eat and chat with them instead from time to time. In such situations, you should speak up about your desire to go out for food and talk. A good friend won’t mind switching things up now and again.
If a friend reacts negatively to you expressing your desires and beliefs authentically, consider that you have no obligation whatsoever to continue socializing or interacting with them. If someone lets you know they disapprove of your authentic self, react accordingly. Wish them well, but consider cutting ties with that person.
Having Your Voice Heard
In the interest of staying genuine, you should also make sure your voice is heard during the conversations you have with your friends. A monologue is not a conversation, and a conversation shouldn’t leave you feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted. Be wary of friends who monopolize every conversation without giving you time to interject with your own remarks and perspectives. If someone is not letting you express yourself during a conversation, politely let them know and make sure you get your chance to speak.
It isn’t easy to be authentic, especially at first. That’s because being genuine almost always involves an element of vulnerability. For example, if your true opinion on any given topic is met with scorn by someone close to you, it can hurt. The same is true if people laugh at an idea that sincerely excites you.
Being honest about who you are, what you want, and the things you really think is not easy. However, it is immensely rewarding and worthwhile. Being a genuine person means giving yourself the love, honor, and respect you deserve.
Don’t confuse being a bonafide individual with being a selfish one. Being authentic doesn’t mean that when you express your thoughts and desires, those around you are then obliged to go along with them. Instead, it means expressing your ideas, wants, and opinions honestly, giving others space to do the same, and then reaching a compromise.
A More Confident You
Deciding to be as honest as you can without hurting others, and then living that reality, is challenging. This is especially true in the initial stages. However, you won’t regret looking at ways of being as genuine as you possibly can in all of the different areas of your life. Being authentic is simply giving your dreams, desires, beliefs and opinions the respect they deserve. It is certain to make your life happier and boost your overall self-esteem.