What does ‘being authentic’ really mean?

There’s a lot of talk in personal development circles about ‘being authentic’ and social media memes and posts abound urging us to be our authentic selves.

I’ve noticed that this has been taken by some to mean that we should honestly express how we feel or behave without care for what others may think about us.  While both of those are relevant, that’s not what I believe true authenticity is.

The Miriam Webster dictionary defines ‘authentic’ as follows, ‘An authentic person, object, or emotion is genuine.’

In order to be genuine we have to integrate all our traits and behaviours.  Those that we consider to be ‘good’ and those that we consider to be ‘bad’.

All humans have all traits but we each display those traits in a unique way.  Many of us don’t deny that we have ‘bad’ traits but we think we can hide them.  We judge parts of ourselves as being ‘bad’ and so try our best to suppress those parts or fail to even concede that we have them.  The irony of this is that when we don’t accept and integrate our ‘bad’ parts, we are unable to fully integrate our ‘good’ parts which stifles our growth.

This integration process is hard work because we’ve been programmed regarding what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ so being objective about ourselves and accepting of all our parts is the job of a life-time.  This is a job that few are willing to undertake and yet it’s vital for us to do so if we want to improve our own lives, the lives of others and the life of the planet.

One way of doing this integration process is to make a list of traits that we think are ‘good’ and another of traits that we think are ‘bad’.

For the traits on the ‘good’ list we have to find memories when we exhibited each trait and ask  ourselves how those traits where a disservice to us and others, in each specific memory.  This is not so that we can feel bad but so that we can realise that those traits we perceive as being good are actually neither.  They are neutral.

We also need to  find memories in which we’ve exhibited the ‘bad traits and for those we ask ourselves how exhibiting those traits served or benefitted us and others, in each specific memory.

In this way, we see that each trait is neutral in actuality and our classification of them being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is merely programming on our part.

It’s very important that we find real memories in which we’ve exhibited the traits for this process to be effective.

We stop inflating our ego with regard to the perceived ‘good’ traits and we stop feeling ashamed of the perceived ‘bad’ traits.  We stop the stories we tell ourselves about those traits.  This allows us to utilise and display each trait as and when we need it.

See why this the job of a life-time?  Each integration brings us closer to the essence of who we are and allows us to truly love ourselves just as we are.  In turn, it allows us to love and accept others as they are.  When we do this, we are the most genuine version of ourselves.

Sometimes we need some help identifying our true traits and understanding ourselves better.  This is why I love LifeMapping.

LifeMapping is a personality analysis system that highlights our inherent traits and behaviours and connects us to our highest potential and our lowest potential.  More importantly, it reveals areas of tension within our personality which will lead to identification with one side (‘good’ or ‘bad’) or the other.  This leads to attempts at showcasing some traits and suppressing others.

This inner tension leads to inner conflict which can translate to conflict within our relationships and interactions with others.

Even though we know ourselves better than anyone else does, we are masters at hiding from ourselves.  LifeMapping gives us a tool to go deep within and reveals hidden treasures which we can then integrate in the way I’ve explained above.

If you’d like to know more, please like my LifeMapping page on Facebook.