If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know that we’ve tried to create a place where life meets reality. We try not to sugar-coat things or take ourselves too seriously. Authenticity is a word we think a lot about as we decide what to write, and is the theme we've chosen for the month.
Authenticity is one of my favorite traits to discover in a person. I love and respect people who unapologetically embrace their true selves and aren’t afraid to introduce that person to the world. I think I love it the most, because I know it isn’t easy. Like Mother Theresa said, this openness can really make you vulnerable. However, I believe that that vulnerability opens doors to healthier relationships, increased self-worth and confidence, and contentment with life decisions.
In my professional life, my colleagues and I encourage organizations to embrace and practice transparency and authenticity. Why? Transparency elicits trust - this goes for individuals too. If you are honest about your true self, others know what they can expect from you, what you value, and they don’t have to guess what you’re not saying (I am not suggesting you shouldn’t filter what you say – please don’t go tell your boss what you really think of them in the interest of being honest, transparent and authentic).
So does being authentic mean you embrace all of yourself, even your faults? Does it mean you shouldn’t try to change less-desirable traits? Those are good questions. My initial reaction is to say no, but I suspect the answer depends on the motives, as well as what those less-desirable traits are. I don’t think being authentic means to stop trying to improve yourself, but I do think it means that you have to celebrate the person you are, accept that person's faults, and then transform that person in a way that feels natural.
This is a bit of a tough topic, and I’d love to start a discussion. What does being authentic mean to you and how do you embrace it? Have you found being authentic beneficial or detrimental? Why is authenticity important (or not) to you? How do you move pass the discomfort of vulnerability to embrace a spirit of honesty and transparency?