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Authenticity – What Does It Mean to be Authentic?

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Finding your true self is a journey

According to Webster’s II Dictionary, "Authentic" simply means: Real, genuine.

Exactly what does that mean?

If you have spent most of your time trying to be someone else, trying to fit in and basically acting your whole life – how do you find your genuine self?

Sometimes I'm not really sure who I am. It's time to take stock and make sure I'm living in authenticity.

I have an affirmation sticky note of how I strive to be: “You are strong, you are lovable, and you are authentic.” Now I just have to read it until I believe it!

Striving to be truly authentic has me thinking about what it means.

What if I want to change myself? Am I changing to be more authentic or to please other people?

Soon I’ll be doing more book marketing and will need to put out some videos.  This scares me because inevitably, I’ll be judged. Then I start judging myself…

Why didn’t I lose those 10 pounds? I need to get some new clothes – like Stevie Nicks’ hippy dresses!

I don’t buy new clothes very often because I try to live sustainably.  I've donated a lot of my clothes and it would be silly to fill up my closet again with things I just won’t wear.  How many dresses do you really need? If I’m invited to the Academy Awards, I’ll get a new dress!

What if I get my hairdresser to find a new style, something curly and parted on the side? My hair is one of my good features. It could look like the actress from “Nashville” – Connie Britton. I did have that style years ago and it only looked like the picture below when my hairdresser fixed it up!


Wait a minute!  I don't need to change up everything and present myself as someone I’m not. That's the opposite of authentic.

But authentic doesn't need to include your rough, got-up-early look! That's on a strict need-to-know basis. Lol

For marketing and professionalism it makes sense to try and polish up my image a bit so I'm the best version of myself.

Bruce Springsteen has a line in “Dancing in the Dark” –

“wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face!”

Can you hear it in your head? Listen to the desperation and dissatisfaction he is struggling with. Do we all get sick of ourselves at some point?

Isn’t life about “Finding yourself?” We put on so many masks to be acceptable to other people. Sometimes we get sick of pretending.

The solution could be to get back to your authentic self.

The fact is you can’t please all the people all the time.  Some folks won’t accept you no matter what you do. Being yourself is truly the best policy to finding your tribe, those who are more in tune to your essence.

I wish I wasn’t such a good actress.  I learned from an early age to look and act in an acceptable, little girl manner. I hid my feelings, laughed, made jokes, and tried to please everyone. I hid my pain so deep inside that I barely knew it was there.

Growing up, my best friend’s mom was very authentic. Their home was a place of acceptance. I was amazed at the frank conversations Bonnie had with her parents. 

I’ll never forget her mom calling me out when I was a teenager – She said frankly, “Well that was fake, darling!” – when I answered her question in an automated way. I was stunned.  I wasn’t used to being honest with adults about my feelings.

Isn’t it interesting how an offhand remark can have a lasting impact on another?

She may not remember ever saying it, but I sure recall how it made me think differently about myself. I tried to be more present and honest when I talked to her. Sometimes I even tried to do it with other people.

I have come to realize that I am MANY things.  I am not one sided, nobody is.  We all have the capacity to be completely contradictory. 

My massage clients can’t imagine me ever being anything but easygoing, nice, compassionate and giving. My family has seen me be a super bitch, combative, judgmental and selfish.

Alanis Morrisette has a song describing this dichotomy called “Everything”:

“I can be an asshole of the grandest kind

I can withhold like it’s going out of style

I can be the moodiest baby, and you’ve never met anyone

As negative I am sometimes

I am the wisest woman you’ve ever met

I am the kindest soul with whom you’ve connected

I have the bravest heart that you’ve

Ever seen, and you’ve never met anyone

As positive as I am sometimes

You see everything                        

You see every part                          

You see all my light                        

And you love my dark                          

You dig everything

Of which I’m ashamed

There’s not anything

To which you can’t relate

 And you’re still here”   

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have someone love you for all of your sides?

First, you have to accept all of your sides for yourself.  This isn’t easy.

I've had to battle my own negative self-talker who was always telling me nasty things about myself. I believed the thought that I was unlovable. Probably because I never let anyone who said they loved me really know everything about me. I've been able to stop acting with a few trusted loved ones, and they are still here.

Accept all of your sides as normal and work on the areas that you aren’t proud of.

It could be easier to figure out who you are not. Life will show you who you don’t want to be. This will help you narrow down who you are.

Learning who you are is a lifelong process. 

Our roles in life will be ever changing but our authentic essence remains the same.

Never be afraid to show your authentic self!

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