Authentic living isn’t about being told what to do and how to live, it’s all about embracing your true self and living in accordance with your values. Ultimately, authentic living requires you to embrace the reality of your freedom and take responsibility for how we choose to live.
The way in which we perceive our own authenticity is different for everyone and significantly influences the gratification we get from our experiences, as well as our judgement and behaviour throughout our lives.
Living authentically can be vastly rewarding, as it can open up a number of doors to exciting new opportunities. Other advantages include:
It can be less stressful - Being your authentic self can stop you second guessing yourself. You can become more decisive as you’ll start to trust your own instincts.
If you’re striving to be your authentic self, it’s important to remember that this won’t happen overnight. This is more of a journey of self-discovery allowing you to discover what you’re truly capable of. Throughout your journey you can:
In order to live authentically it’s crucial that you live by your values and beliefs to help you achieve personal goals. However, to do this, you first need to identify your core values and then commit to continually working on them. Core values are principles or beliefs that a person, or organisation, views as being of central importance. You’ll also want to create personal and professional goals that align with your core values.
Identifying these goals and values will also help when you’re faced with ethical challenges because you will know how to make the best decisions that align with your authentic self.
When we talk about identifying a gap, we’re referring to finding the gap between who you currently are and who you want to be. This could lead to you discovering that you perhaps adapt your personality or behaviours to suit and please others rather than acting and saying how you really feel.
Once you’ve identified these behaviours, you can write down a list of qualities you want to have and be known for and see how close you currently are to them. This will then allow you to create goals to help you align more closely to these qualities.
It takes great strength to develop and preserve your integrity. This is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. To help with this you can start by analysing your daily choices which will make you aware of what leads you to make this decision. Is it coming from you and what you believe, or do you base your decisions on exterior influences?
Communicating honestly doesn’t mean that you tell people the truth even if it hurts them, it means you speak to people honestly and respectfully, taking into account their thoughts and feelings and how it may affect them. This takes a lot of emotional intelligence and great communication skills, which is something you can develop when you start to embrace living authentically and being more aware.
Making assumptions can be easily done, as they’re usually made on our previous experiences, however this can draw our focus to what we think the truth is as opposed to the facts. People’s actions should speak for themselves and you should try to take their words for face value. When you do this you’re also likely to notice that other people see you in the same way.
Working on your self-confidence can help you become your authentic self as you’ll be less likely to give in to peer pressure, and you’ll have confidence in standing up for what you believe in. This will help you develop assertiveness and navigate future challenging situations.
When living authentically it’s best to consider other people's needs and feelings with respect and common courtesy. As you’re embracing your own values, it’s important to recognise that these may differ from other people’s. This isn’t a bad thing! It means you’ll need to manage your emotions and check in on yourself in order to better deal with situations. You can do this through acknowledging your feelings; ask yourself how you are and how it’s making you feel, process them, and move forward rather than acting impulsively.
Being your authentic self at work can be extremely beneficial to your mental health and professional growth opportunities. Showing off your true personality allows you to build trust among your colleagues, and often paves the way to gain new professional opportunities and build your network.
Here are a few ways you can embrace your authentic self at work:
If you’re looking for more guidance or inspiration on how to be more confident and authentic, we’ve put together a few industry talks that could help you:
Ultimately, living authentically can lead to a happier life. Remember, it won't happen overnight but there's a lot of resources out there to help.