How important is authenticity to you? Do you look for it in the people that you spend the most time with, in your workplace, and in yourself?
We all have that one person in our lives that we would describe as unchanging, genuine, and reliable. You always know where they stand regardless of the circumstance they find themselves in.
Being an authentic person does not happen by accident though. Those who possess this quality do many things to ensure their stability in such an unstable world. It is much easier to lose our authenticity in the craziness of our daily lives than we realize.
It isn’t hard to let the words and actions of others start to take over our thoughts and begin to change us. That change is not always a bad thing, but in order for us to be true to ourselves, we must make sure that our mental and behavioral changes are made consciously and not just to fit into the crowd.
One definition that I found of authenticity is this;
the degree to which someone’s actions are congruent with their beliefs and desires despite external pressure.
When we look back at our words and actions from the last 48 hours, does this statement ring true of us, and if not, what can we do to change that?
In order to be described as true to ourselves, we must first know ourselves. We have talked before about the importance of digging into our own hearts and figuring out what makes us who we are, but we should talk about it again because knowing who we really are is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves.
There are parts of our personalities that make us gifted in certain areas and those talents, should we choose to use them, can be a huge part of our lives. We have each seen and felt things in our lifetimes that have shaped our stance on humanity and how we feel about other people.
Our morals and the things that we believe to be right and wrong vary greatly from one of us to the next, but they shape where we spend our time, and what we spend it doing. The things and the people that we love have influenced the way that we see the world and who we choose to surround ourselves with.
All of these things and more are what shape us into who we are in this moment. If we haven’t lately, we all need to take a few minutes to sort through these different things and find out if our words, our actions, and our habits are really aligned with the way that we feel that life should be lived.
A huge part of being a consistent and genuine person is focusing on the big picture more than we focus on all of the little trivial things that are always happening around us. The short-term is not our big picture.
Remembering that during times of frustration and anger can help to keep us from reacting in ways that are inconsistent with how we believe we should act. A really important attribute of authentic people is their ability to keep an even temper in any situation. They don’t get easily flustered, they are not quick to yell or lash out. They take their time to react to situations appropriately and they don’t let their emotions cloud their reactions.
One of the most helpful things that I have learned to do when a situation gets heated is to wait ten minutes before doing or saying anything. I often find that my response after waiting for that period of time is completely different from what it would have been had I reacted from my initial emotional instinct.
The ability to master a situation instead of letting it master us takes a great deal of emotional maturity, but with time and patience, each one of us can learn to rise above our circumstances.
Another key part of being a sincere and consistent person is humility. Those who are always genuine in their actions aren’t egotistical because they are very aware of their ability to be wrong.
Authentic people don’t avoid making mistakes, but they own up to them and do their best to correct them honestly. Hiding from our errors does not keep them from being found out, and it makes us look very dishonest and untrustworthy once they are uncovered.
If we are humble when things are good, others tend to offer us much more grace when we find ourselves in bad situations. Modesty has many benefits and being diligent about practicing it can provide a great deal of stability in our lives when things get shaky.
Being humble and keeping our egos in check go hand in hand with one another. Each and every one of us have a tendency to think a little too highly of ourselves and our ability to be right all of the time.
However, it is vitally important to remind ourselves that our opinions and our experiences are no more important or impactful than anyone else’s. Getting caught up in our own version of circumstances has the potential to cause us to make decisions without all of the information.
Our own perspectives are not always correct, and in order to keep circumstances from shaking us, we need to always be mindful that everyone around us is dealing with things that we won’t know about unless we do the work to find out.
Being consistent people means that we are trustworthy and reliable to others, but it also means that foster a life of steadiness, peace, and happiness for ourselves. We reduce the stresses of unexpected hardships as well as the consequences of poor reactions to them. Our authenticity also attracts the authenticity of others, which further strengthens our life of stability.
If we desire real, sincere lives we must first breed those qualities in our own hearts and minds.