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15 Things Highly Authentic People Don’t Do

15 Things Highly Authentic People Don’t Do

What is authenticity?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines authenticity as the quality of being real or genuine. It’s difficult to describe what authenticity looks like in human beings, but you can instantly tell when someone is being authentic and when they are not. Maybe it is how someone speaks or carries themselves (or, rather how they DON’T speak and carry themselves) that lets you know in an instant that they are being real.

Whatever it is, authentic people do many things right that makes them extremely likable and pleasant to be around. I am sure you’d rather connect with people who are real than people who pretend around you. Here are some key things highly authentic people don’t do so that you can learn how to live a more authentic life yourself.

1. They don’t fake their feelings.

Highly authentic people don’t hide their feeling or pretend they are feeling something they are not. If they are upset, they show it. If they like someone, they let them know. They express their feelings honestly and openly without fear or prejudice. Showing your true feelings allows others to know who you are and what you stand for. Authentic people do this all the time and it frees them from the burden of bottled up emotions.

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2. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone.

Highly authentic people strive to show compassion and understanding to everyone, but they don’t strive to live up to others’ expectation or bother to please everyone. They know you cannot please everyone and you shouldn’t even try. Just be confident about who you are and what you do. This way you attract the right people who value you for who you are.

3. They don’t compare their journey to everyone else’s.

We are all unique individuals. We have different gifts, aspirations and access to resources that are necessary for life success and happiness. As such, our paths in life are not always the same. Highly authentic people understand this fact and shun social comparisons to gauge their own progress. They don’t compare themselves to others. Instead, they do their best to remain true to their own dreams and aspirations in life. Do your best without comparing your progress with others. What works for others might not necessarily work for you.

4. They don’t seek or need other people’s validation.

Highly authentic people are comfortable in their own skin and know their own self-worth. They don’t need other people to tell them how special they are. When you are unapologetically yourself and comfortable in your perfect imperfection, you walk with your chin held high and your stride strong and assured. As Israelmore Ayivor says, “A single day in my own shoe that is comfortable for me is better than 365 days in someone else’s shoes that does not fit me at all.”

5. They don’t lie.

People who are not self-aware and self-assured tell lies so easily and readily that it becomes second nature to them. However, highly authentic people tell the truth always because they know lies destroy trust and relationships. Tell the truth even when it is difficult to do so and you will never have to look back on your life with regret for lies told. Being honest is one of the best ways to be at peace with yourself and other people.

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6. They don’t pretend to be someone they’re not.

Many people pretend they are someone they are not to fit in and be accepted. Highly authentic people don’t pretend they are famous, poor or even more talented than they actually are just so others like them. They are their true selves always. What they have they don’t hide; what they don’t have, they don’t pretend they have. Be yourself. It is a truly admirable, inspiring and deeply satisfying thing to live your life as yourself.

7. They don’t dwell on the past.

Highly authentic people live in the moment. They don’t let the past dictate their future. As long as you are worried, you will repeat past mistakes; you won’t be free to create new experiences and new relationships. Make the most of what is, learn from what was and have faith in what will come. That is how to make the journey of life meaningful.

8. They don’t let others make decisions for them.

There is only one YOU in this world and only you should make the important decisions in your life. Highly authentic people are always in the driving seat of their own lives. They make all the important life decisions for themselves. If you allow someone else to make all the decisions for you, then the only person who will fail in the end is you. Moreover, if you don’t have the courage to take responsibility from your own life, then you don’t have the courage to succeed at all.

9. They don’t blame others for their own mistakes.

Highly authentic people don’t shift blame for their own failings. They take responsibility for every decision and action they make in their own life, whether the outcome is positive or negative. When you are the first to admit you were wrong or that you made a mistake somewhere, you open doors for genuine help, support and guidance from others. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. What really matters is how you get back up after you’ve made a mistake.

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10. They don’t get jealous over other people’s successes.

If anything, highly authentic people support and motivate others to keep moving forward and be the best they can be. They know that if others can do it, then it means that they too can do it. They are, therefore, happy when others succeed—not jealous. View other people’s success as proof that you too can succeed. Don’t try to bring anybody down or lessen their chances of success in any way.

11. They don’t apply given advice without first considering their own gut feeling.

Highly authentic people trust their gut feeling. They don’t rush to act before first understanding the situation at hand and considering how they feel about it. If you ponder over something, you improve the chances of covering all the bases and making the right decision for yourself and everyone else involved. Seek and listen to other people’s counsel, but understand that the buck stops with you. Only act on advice you will be comfortable living with for the rest of your life.

12. They don’t value material possessions over life experiences.

Highly authentic people see beauty in experiences and relationships. They know meaningful experiences and bonds make life worth living. Seek a better life and material goodies, but don’t undervalue the people, relationships and experiences you have in your life. In the end, it is not how much money you have accumulated that counts, but rather, the lives you have touched and the lessons you have learned along the way.

13. They don’t deny love and kindness to others.

Being authentic is being loving. Highly authentic people don’t hate, demoralize or bring others down. Instead, they show love, kindness and appreciation to others indiscriminately. They encourage all to be their true selves around them by shunning all forms of discrimination and judgmental attitudes. Treat everyone justly and kindly. Show love generously without expecting anything in return. This is a true expression of a well-led, pure and enriching existence.

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14. They don’t keep a closed mind.

Highly authentic people are always open to new ideas and life lessons. They know they don’t exist in a vacuum. When you keep a closed mind, chances are you will be rude, intolerant or completely abusive toward other people’s feelings and beliefs. Free yourself from rigidly fixed preconceptions by listening with an open mind to new ideas and arguments. You may not always agree on everything said, but you emerge out of it all a more balanced, knowledgeable and tolerant person.

15. They don’t hang with toxic people.

Highly authentic people know that you are the average of the people you keep around you. If the people you spend the most time with are notorious for jeering and bringing others down, then you most likely also do the same thing. Get rid of all critical and ill-mannered people around you. Find people to “hang” with who build you and others up. That is the easiest way to ensure you remain true to your natural tendencies for kindness and love for the world and everything in it.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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