Finding authenticity today can be hard. There is a lot of people, places and things that are not what you believe them to be, nor can you find your own voice and self in a sea of social media, news, social constructs of what you “should” and “should not” be as a man, woman, person, child, etc. So, today, what does it mean to be authentic?
The dictionary definition of authentic is to be genuine or the undisputed origin.
The word authenticity is defined as the quality of being authentic.
Authentic means to me original, not to copy or be fake, to be accurate, true, etc. When looking for authenticity in yourself, I think you start with understanding what makes you, well you. Therefore, what is your “why”. Your why is your reason for being your purpose. By just stating “I am a mom, dad, wife, daughter, son, employee, lawyer, worker, doctor, teacher, etc.” this is not who you are, this what you do. Take away these roles and titles. Those do not define you.
I know this is hard to think about and a big self-imposed question but if you don’t have why, then what guides your purpose? Reason for being? If you struggle to think of your why, start with this simple question; if you had to define yourself in 3 words, what words would they be? Write them down. Then explain why you selected those three words. This is a good start to digging deeper to understand who you are.
Now, with that three-word challenge, I am going to encourage you to pick words that are truly authentic to you. Millions of people can say they are hardworking. That they are good leaders, communicators, parents, kind, loving, etc. but what drives you? What makes you, well you?
My why is the word “grow”. After many, many years of accomplishments and mistakes, I have defined my why in the terms of the word grow and/or growing. I want to always learn, to be better, to do more, to give more, to learn more, etc. to grow. Grow from this space and move forward with humbleness and room to become a better person, parent, friend, spouse, daughter, mother, aunt, etc. today than I was yesterday. I want to always grow, never to become stagnant. I dislike this word. It means to stand still.
You can’t grow if you are standing still, you won’t move forward. Some people stand in the past, or don’t want to change, don’t want to learn (for many, they know it all), don’t want to accept where they are in life, nor grow or become better people. This is (to me) a sad place to stand in life. You can only move forward and grow by seeing your flaws, accepting them (take accountability) and wanting to learn from them.
So, I challenge you, what are your three words, what is your why? How does this define you and your true self? I challenge you to develop this understanding of your authentic self. It talks work, soul searching and many years of mistakes and successes. Look to move forward, look to find your true self, find your why.