Authentic: of undisputed origin; genuine; real
When I picture the word “authentic” in my mind, for some reason, it tends to be cultural or based on one’s heritage and ethnicity. I understand how food can be authentic with proper tastes and ingredients. I recognize people want authenticity when buying original paintings and books. I see objects as being from older civilizations as authentic. But I’ve not ever delved into what makes an individual authentic. I’ve said someone is a genuine person or that they feel real, but what exactly does that mean?
As always, when I’m looking for a general consensus, I search the Interwebs. I stumbled upon a list of 11 signs that a person is truly authentic and provided the link below. I cannot vouch for who this person is, or whether they are qualified to provide such input; however, in general, from a quick read, I thought it was a good explanation. But as always, I have a few things to add, which will come towards the end of the post. Before diving into this little exercise, I would have said I’m a very authentic person, basing this purely on some key facts:
(a) I always do what I say I am going to do,
(b) I am open, honest and fair with everyone,
(c) I hopefully come across as genuine and real — never a fake attitude or action,
(d) what you see is what you get with me.
Let’s dive into the article’s eleven key points to determine if my initial views were accurate or off base. You can read the full article at:
- Recognize emptiness in material things
- I love materials things, and I recognize how bad that sounds. What I mean is that I truly enjoy having books, art, clothes, culinary items, furniture, etc. They make me happy to look at or use, share with others or just be around. It’s not a reflection on how I value them above/below people. It’s purely that I do find an importance in having them in my life. I understand how that can appear empty or insufficient; they are inanimate objects, whereas people and animals can share an emotional experience. But I believe you can have an authentic experience with someone else via a material object that brings you both positive feelings and memories, e.g. buying a book and reading it together. I’d say 50/50 on this one for me, since I absolutely do need material things, but I know enough to say people are more important.
- Recognize experiences make things richer
- Yes, I agree with this one, as it is one thing to read a book about going on a first date versus going on a first date. Forgetting about social awkwardness or finding the person to go on a date with… once it happens, that is a powerful experience, hopefully for the better and not the worse. To be authentic tho, it has to be something special between the people involved — not ordinary and repetitive. I have had lots of positive and rewarding experiences and fit this one well. As I’ve settled down into a committed relationship, it’s more moment-in-time rather than large group of constant new things. A moment early in the morning over a cup of coffee watching the sunrise, or a quick look at each other while playing with the dog together in the park.
- Truly listen to others
- I’m a really strong listener. I try to understand everything from words to expressions, both physical and emotional. I tend to ask deeper and more probing questions, not usually content with surface discussions, especially when someone wants to talk with me about something important. I’m very strong with this element.
- Express true thoughts, feelings and views unapologetically
- For the most part, I’d agree with this statement. I definitely express all of this, but I often choose not to share my thoughts and feelings — not because I don’t want to stir up trouble, but because I wouldn’t be adding any value or difference to whatever is already being discussed. If I think someone is doing something wrong, and there is an impact, I will definitely bring it up. But if someone says blue is the best color, I’m not going to argue why I think grey is. So… I’m probably 50/50 on this one since it contains the word unapologetically, as my opinion isn’t necessary in every occasion.
- Not out to please people
- Major fail here for me. I am a people-pleaser. I know it. I accept it. However, on big things, I am not. I will say what I want and push my agenda or opinion. I tend to prefer collaboration and agreement over confrontation. I go with the flow if something isn’t important enough to me to fight over it. I can see how this is important to being authentic, as if you do things just because you feel like you have to please someone, you are not being authentic. Unless you say aloud, “I don’t want to do this, but I will because you want me to do it.” Then maybe you are authentic.
- See value in giving love to others
- I’m probably 50/50 on this one, too. I absolutely see the value and respect the value; however, I’m very distant in some respects when it comes to love. I have different levels or versions of love. There are people whom you see regularly that you enjoy being around, but it doesn’t mean you “love” them. We’d need to agree on a proper definition of love. I’m not talking about a religious believe of “love thy neighbor.” To me, love is something you share with people you are extremely close with… could be family, friends or significant others. I reserve those deep connections for very few; however, I am a much closer friend to my friends, as I don’t believe in “surface-level” friendships — those are just acquaintances you see from time to time, even if you’re out at a bar having a drink to catch-up once a year. To be authentic, you have to acknowledge these different types of relationships.
- Love themselves
- Depends on the day! As I grow older, I learn to love myself more and more. This 365 Daily Challenge has had an interesting impact on how I feel about myself. In general, I think I fit this example pretty well; however, there are parts of me I do not like and would want to change. I accept it, don’t fight it, nor do I let myself get upset over it. This is important to being authentic, but not necessary. You can be a jerk and not like yourself, but admit that to people. You are authentic even when you are not a good person if you acknowledge it.
- Willing to see and acknowledge their own faults
- Yes, I’m good with this. I acknowledge and admit everything I do incorrectly. I embrace faults as it is an opportunity for me to learn and change. This is critical to being authentic in my opinion. If you can’t look at yourself and admit what it is good or right or wrong or bad, then you aren’t being fair to yourself or anyone in your immediate circle of relationships.
- Understand that we’re all unique and it’s OK
- Yes. I think this is important to being authentic. You need to be you and no one else in order to be authentic. You can be similar to others, and that’s OK. I am definitely unique — and average — all at the same time. I believe I fit this one well and think it’s important to being authentic.
- Take responsibility for their lives
- I definitely line up here. I rely on myself too much — always thinking everything should be 50/50 split so that I am 100% taking care of myself whether it’s in splitting responsibilities, costs, time, etc. I make my own choices and do not ever blame anyone else. I am my own keeper and I choose how and when to let others take the lead. And if I let someone else take the lead, and it’s the wrong decision, I also made that wrong decision because I allowed and/or wanted the other person to take the lead.
- Connected to their own inner guide
- I fall in the middle here… I do have a connection that is quite strong with my internal body and mind; however, my guide is still deciding what should happen for the rest of my life… so the connection is working overtime and sometimes doesn’t want me too close — as it needs time to figure it out on its own, I believe. For the most part, it’s a continuous cycle, but I have some work to accomplish in this area.
After a review and reflection on my responses, it appears I meet approximately 2/3 of these guidelines. I admit, it’s lower than I expected. But I also just picked an article off the Interwebs based on a ten-minute search, so I’m not too worried. For the most part, I’m definitely in the authentic category, but I have a few areas to consider improving. And I’m OK with that… after all, isn’t accepting improvement one of those guidelines?
What do you think of when you see the word “authentic,” specific to people and not things? Would you consider yourself authentic?
About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”
I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.
The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.
Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.