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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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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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