What does being authentic actually mean?
"This above all: To thine own self be true."
Ah, Shakespeare. How wise of you to know that this is the secret to inner peace and fulfillment. That nothing is worth the pain, dissonance, and discomfort of not being true to oneself. (Okay, the meaning of these words in the context of Hamlet is debatable but I'm allowed my own takeaway, right?)
Authenticity is not necessarily something most people think about on the reg. We're so busy in our daily lives just trying to get by. Working for the weekend, waiting for the next thrill to make everything in between more bearable. Who has time to think about if they're being true to themselves?
I'm guessing since you landed on this page that you do, or that it has at least crossed your mind, even if only as a tiny, fleeting thought.
Or maybe it came to you as an unpleasant feeling and you didn't even realize what it meant; a pit in your gut or an anxious feeling that something seems "off."
How about a desk job where you day dream about traveling the world?
Words left unspoken out of fear?
These can all be signs that we are out of alignment: that we're not living a life that's what we truly want or not representing ourselves exactly as we are.
Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown described authenticity as “a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
She also wrote that being authentic is something we can strive for and that living authentically comes naturally for some people while others struggle with it. I feel this is important to note because it can seem counter-intuitive: "Some people try to be themselves? If you have to force it, isn't that not being real?"
Well, I dont know about ya'll but society sometimes makes it damn hard for me to be 100% myself. Judgements are rampant and FOMO is real, folks. I fight for the courage to be me. I have moments when it's effortless and moments when it's just too scary. But I will never stop fighting, nor will I ever be dishonest about my struggles.
I choose to be real, even if it's about how being real is really hard. To me, that's authenticity.