My Struggle with Authenticity

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“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice–a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. There are people who consciously practice being authentic, there are people who don’t, and there are the rest of us who are authentic on some days and not so authentic on other days.”

~Brené Brown   The Gifts of Imperfection

Do you value authenticity?

Are there people in your life you truly admire and love spending time with because you know they say exactly what they mean?

Brené Brown describes the struggle of authenticity beautifully. There really are some people who consciously practice being authentic and those who blatantly don’t. Then there’s the rest of us in between.

Authenticity is a value I strive for on a daily basis. I have been trying to be authentic in every situation. I really do attempt to say what I mean and mean what I say. Lately, I notice I talk less than I used to in order to stay authentic versus playing a role I have been conditioned to play.

While at breakfast with my favorite Aunt the other day, she mentioned I have been quieter lately–like I am always deep in thought. I suggested most of what people talk about is nothing more than small talk and I lose interest real fast. But the minute someone mentions something deep, meaningful, and authentic my ears perk up and I’m immediately engaged. I also told her I have been learning a lot lately so I’m constantly thinking about what I’m learning. And being a writer, I am endlessly mulling over ideas in my mind about what I wrote that morning or else I’m mentally rearranging sentences to make them sound wittier.

There are times I struggle with authenticity. Some days I actually catch myself being inauthentic and immediately correct it. Other times I completely miss my opportunity for authenticity in the moment and realize I dropped the ball a day or two later.

I used to get down on myself and assume I’m simply not an authentic person. I thought if I can’t be authentic in every situation then I must be a phony. If I had to play a role or act a certain way around someone then I would beat myself up later for being a fraud.

What I have since learned is I am an authentic person. I do consciously practice being authentic in every situation. I’m an authentic person who sometimes slips into being unaware once in a while. When I least expect it, I catch myself playing a role I was conditioned to play in the past. All I have to do is take a few minutes to focus on my breathing and come back to the present moment. Instantly, my authenticity is back.

Here’s an amazing quote from one of my favorite poets:

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Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice–a conscious choice of how we want to live.

Do you value authenticity?

 

Peace my Friends!

 

~Travis

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