What authenticity means and why it creates your happiness
Authentically speaking, I didn’t want to write a post this week. I’m overlooking the incredible span of the Napa, California countryside, on my first day off in months, musing over the meaning of authenticity.
Sure, I love to write, but right now I just want to be present. That’s not an option. I’m committed to sharing with you weekly. My priority – to be in integrity with my commitments – makes me the person that I want to be.
Authenticity is this, the truth, realness, even when it’s not pleasant.
That sounds pretty, right? Yet, when it comes to real life, what does it look like?
Unconsciously, we shield, embellish, and exaggerate. We reason and excuse to manipulate or protect. We think that if we speak truth, we risk losing things or people. We think that we may cause a fight. As a result, we get strategic and calculating in our behavior.
Perhaps saying that you missed an appointment because of “traffic” is harmless once or a twice. Possibly canceling plans because you are “sick” when you’d prefer to do something else isn’t a big deal if it doesn’t hurt anyone. Maybe fudging your expertise or numbers for a business deal won’t be noticed in the long-term.
So it seems…
The issue is that it does hurt others. It mostly hurts you, because a few of those seemingly harmless inauthenticities breakdown your word. Your lack of authenticity takes you out of integrity with the strength of your word.
[Reminder: integrity does not mean morality. Integrity means a state of wholeness and completion. For example, you arrived at 5pm like you said you would or you didn’t. It doesn’t mean you’re bad or should feel guilty. It just means that you were one with your word or you weren’t. Period.]
Word is what makes us, the world, everything exist.
Woohoo! I’m getting philosophical on you now – if a tree falls in the forest and you can’t hear it, does it happen? Who knows and who cares? It doesn’t affect you. If you don’t perceive said tree, it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t exist.
Perception occurs through word, so word gives things existence. If your word is bunk, then nothing is real. That’s why your word and integrity with your word is everything. That’s what gives you your reality.
Therefore, when you’re aligned with your word, when you’re honest, one with what you stand for, you’re stronger and things work effectively. In other words, authenticity is what makes you exist. Authenticity gives you workability, power, and presence.
We tend to talk about authenticity as a hippie dippie concept… “Be authentic!”
But it is so much more. Every time you’re inauthentic, you break yourself down. You weaken your word. You undermine your capacity.
So for today, try on authenticity. Try on being “impeccable with your word,” as Don Miguel Ruiz says. Every word you use ask, “Am I speaking truth or am I protecting, exaggerating, or embellishing?” Just try it on, like a dress. See what shifts. See how it feels.
Being authentic takes courage. Yet, the only way we grow is by stretching our limits – doing new things that make us uncomfortable but that teach us who we want to become. Such growth doesn’t require a radical personality makeover. Small changes – in the way we carry ourselves, the way we communicate, the way we interact – often make a world of difference in how effectively we live.
What does authenticity mean to you? Why do you think it’s important? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! Speak your truth. I promise someone will be inspired.
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