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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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