Our desire to be an authentic person comes from our need to be and express who we truly are.
If we’re struggling to be an authentic person, it means we’re not being true to ourselves.
What it Means to Be an Authentic Person
The dictionary defines authentic as, “not false or copied; genuine; real.” It’s also defined as, “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.”
To be an authentic person means to be who we want to be, without pretending to be someone we’re not. This can be challenging because other people influence much of how we live our lives.
Reasons We Struggle to Be Authentic
Commons reasons we aren’t authentic include:
- Wanting to fit in and have others accept us.
- Other people’s expectations on what’s acceptable or not.
- Fear of being judged or ridiculed if we reveal our true selves.
- Lack of self-confidence to express who we really are.
- Not believing it’s safe to be real and true to who we are.
When we’re unable to be ourselves, it affects our mental and emotional well-being, which also affects how we function daily.
We admire people who can be themselves no matter what’s going on in their lives. This isn’t always easy because we can feel pressured to conform to how society wants us to be.
A person I consider to be a truly authentic person is one of my mentors, Jack Canfield. I remember at one of his seminars I attended several years ago, a participant asked if he ever had down days or struggled with things going on in his life.
He shared what he was going through, including having challenges with two key relationships. It was admirable to see him being honest, open and vulnerable, which increased the connection he had with the audience.
5 Signs You’re Struggling to Be an Authentic Person
Here are five signs that show you may not be an authentic person.
- You find it hard to express your emotions freely. This is often a struggle with men. Seen as “soft” or “whimsy” isn’t what men want. This causes them to put on an act or pretend to be macho so they can feel accepted. Although most women are comfortable expressing their emotions, this too can be a challenge for some.
- You struggle to be yourself during conversations with others. We often fall into the comparison trap and play small if we believe we’re not as good as someone else. We can also make ourselves to appear better than what we are if we believe we won’t fit in otherwise.
- You don’t have genuine connections with others. The social media revolution has connected people through technology but we seem to have lost real, deep connections with others. Today, it’s become about followers, fans, likes and shares instead of real human connections. If we don’t have people we can confide to or people who really know us, it shows we’re not authentic.
- You want to fit in or be liked more than choosing what you really want. The need for belonging and validation is a powerful motivator behind people’s choices or actions. Any time we compromise what we really want or what’s important to us at the expense of being accepted or liked, it suggests we’re not willing to be our selves.
- You are afraid to admit your failures, fears and insecurities. It is challenging for people to admit they’re struggling. It’s much easier to make up excuses or pass blame for why things are the way they are. People often associate admitting a fear or failure as not being good enough, therefore pretending everything’s okay is safer.
Things You Can Do to Be an Authentic Person
- Define what being authentic means to you. How would you feel and act daily?
- Pay attention to mental or emotional triggers that may cause you to not be yourself.
- Increase your self-confidence and self-worth.
- Reconnect to what matters most to you and why it’s important.
- Allow others to be themselves with you by being willing to share what’s going on for you.
We connect better with people true to themselves. Similarly, others will connect with us better if we’re genuine and authentic. It will require courage to reveal aspects of ourselves if we haven’t done so previously. The outcome will be we’ll have better and closer relationships with others, who will accept us for who we are.
Action Step: Choose the five closest relationships in your life. Evaluate how genuine and authentic you are with them. Apply the ideas you have learned so you can be more authentic with them.
Question: What are other signs that may indicate we’re struggling to be an authentic person?