The Art of Authenticity

Photo credit: Unsplash

Photo credit: Unsplash

Take off the mask.

Strength is something we have associated with repression of struggle; however, true strength is sharing and showing vulnerability. Being honest takes strength. This is also contextual. Taking off the mask is meant for personal relationships and experiences. Vulnerability is a type of power, when we speak the truth, it will do what it needs to. Rely on the truth. This involves a level of humility where you can face that you do not have all the answers, but as long as you are authentic, anything is possible.

Professional experiences require a level of authenticity in your own assertion rather than vulnerability. Assertive authenticity is taking the lead and following your passions in personal or professional spheres. It is setting an example as well as boundaries. This is called becoming an influencer or in some cases, “Managing up.” In a professional environment, you will also need to share your story and find support. This is called “Building a mentor shelf.” Become a mentor and a mentee. This is a focus on skill building and sharing rather than simply soul searching and bearing.

Making choices authentically means that you are not controlled by expectations of an outcome. You do the right thing because it is the right thing. There is transparency in journey which creates trust, and an acceptance of yourself and that journey creates change.

Help others with it (now or one day).

Creating change begins with acceptance. If a problem cannot be solved at the moment, create the mentality that you will help others with it one day. This not only gives you a reason to solve it for yourself but a meaning for having gone through it. This means in every context, you resolve to follow your humanity rather than play into power systems or pecking orders.

There is a power in wisdom. We can recognize the wisdom of love, forgiveness, letting go and overcoming by sharing our own journeys. When you are focused on finding and creating that wisdom for others, your perspective changes to an attitude of service. Such selflessness helps one to overcome fear of failure. The action in itself is right regardless of the outcome. An example is the anonymous savior in the Tiananmen Square picture. In a state of oppression, he showcases self love but also a greater love of humanity with no expectation of outcome. This is achievement.

Remember that none of it really matters- Purposeful Prioritization

Start with surrendering.

Instead of judging that everything around you is bad or good, decide that everything is good. You do not have to be attached to present surroundings or situations. Release the need to control what happens around you rather than trying to make things work.

Don’t Roll Over. But Do Bend. This might seem contrary to what you want to do, but in personal relationships and professional experiences, remember that life is short. Even if other people are wrong, bend in their favor and empower them. Never respond to disempowerment with the same type of put downs. Hate and love are two sides of the same coin. People become angry because they are passionate. This is a symptom of an emotional car crash. We are sad, hurt and feel we can justify that anger. There is no way to achieve being right by doing wrong. Build through love and kindness even where you are holding another accountable and where needed, silence rather than retaliation. On some level, we are all children. We are all evolving in our emotional intelligence, and we have to meet each other where we are at. Understanding this builds empathy and sensitivity to listening to each other’s issues. This does not mean to lower your own standards. Stay true to higher standards, but also remember to take the higher road.  Both will help you to achieve authenticity.

Simplify what you are trying to achieve, but don’t settle. Find your purpose. A purpose is not a job, a relationship, an achievement, an expectation nor an experience, but it can involve these things. You still have to make sense of your life inside the box, but thinking outside of the box is how you get to your purpose. There is a problem that you are set to solve in life through one of these areas. That is called having purpose. Purpose cannot be dictated to you by anyone else; rather it is a calling felt within your passions. Listen to your voice, connect the dots and start to consider yourself an influencer. Don’t worry about what others expect for you or from you. We are all motivated by different things. Be motivated authentically- follow your passions, pursue the purpose you have and seek to help others.

Empowering others is the definition of success. Yet, YOU are your own charity. You come first. But when you have achieved the ability to give or share your insights, you have power. Power is given. To take power is to assert that you do not already have it. When we launch missiles, it is typically to defend ourselves or prevent an attack. Our own humanity must be more secure than that.

You might be in the middle of chaos, a crisis, choices or a calling away from where you currently stand. There might be people telling you what to do. They might be attempting to disempower you. They cannot unless you give them power. You are your own definition. Nothing else defines you. But all you have to do is separate yourself from it to remember what really matters. Everything has beauty. You’re alive. Now, here’s the killer- You’re not special. Others have faced similar or worse battles than you. How are you going to take responsibility to make things better? Let your aims be authentic in order for the outcome to be worthwhile.

Find catharsis. Even when you are detouring from the destination, you still need an outlet. Self love is acknowledging your wellbeing and understanding that sometimes, will power alone is not enough to overcome everything. You have to release the struggle not always by winning but by sharing that struggle. Creativity is a way out, for example.

The key is that you must love yourself. Being authentic takes self respect and love as well as dignity. You do not have to have money in your pocket, a degree, a working relationship or a plan to love yourself. That is complete in itself. Wherever you are in the journey, love yourself. That is all you need. Put it in your pocket and move forward. Just Be.

To be authentic is a willful act of not only self preservation but selfless ideology. It is a beautiful mirror of self love and love of humanity. You don’t need to have the answers. You only need to be authentic. It’s that simple and that complex. It’s a paradox. An enigma of the human experience. You may feel like a walking contradiction at times, but at least you are a non-conformist. Your existence is no longer futile. It is purposeful. The meaning is in the moment, not the mask.

Take off the mask, help others with it one day, surrender, simplify but don’t settle and prioritize purposefully. Then, you will have achieved the art of authenticity. Authenticity alone does not work because when we cannot be fully in following our instincts or reaction mode. It takes as much planning to be successfully authentic as it does to “fake it until you make it.” Authenticity is an art.

Good luck!