To be true to one’s own in a society where so many are pressured to be like everyone else, can be challenging. However, if everyone conforms to the likeness of everyone else, surely the world will become bland and farcical. Although many of us have many things in common, from hair color, to preference of certain foods, to specific passions, to ethnicity, we as well are different in so many ways, including those mentioned above.
We were not created to be imitations of one another. We were created, each one of us, with our own distinctions. Every day we have the opportunity to live more and more authentically. We have a choice each day, to live as a copy or as an original. Today I want to share with you 3 Ways to Live With More Authenticity.
I. When you believe it’s the right time with the right people, and for the right reason, Speak Your Truth. Speaking your truth is vital to living authentically. Our voice is an expression of who we are. What we say comes from the heart. Scripture says of a good or evil man, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45, NKJV) There is a real experience of freedom when you can speak the truth, your truth on a regular basis.
When I say ‘on a regular basis’ I’m not saying that you have to do it all of the time as in constantly opening your mouth to speak. What I’m saying is that whenever you do speak, it should come from an authentic place, rather than just repeating what you’ve heard someone else say, or saying something just to please or appease someone else. What you choose to say on every occasion is the expression of your thoughts, beliefs, and values.
This is why I started by saying, when you believe its the right time, with the right people, and the right reason. Being authentic makes you vulnerable. People see you and not some facade that you put up for the public. However, you do not have to make yourself vulnerable to everyone and anyone all of the time. And, your true freedom is not only in the ability to speak your truth on a regular basis but also the ability to hold your truth the the appropriate time, person/people, and reason.
II. Dress to Express. It’s amazing how many people look at themselves in the mirror and don’t like what they see. I recently read an article that said, “Only 20% of the clothes in the average person;s closet are worn on a regular basis.” Wow!” That means that for whatever reason, the average person doesn’t wear 80% of what they have. Why do you think that is the case? I have some ideas. I think there could be several reasons, some of which are below.
- We buy clothes that don’t fit perfectly, convincing ourselves that somehow we’ll make it work, but we don’t, so we don’t choose it to put on
- We buy clothes, but we think we have no place to wear them
- We buy clothes that don’t fit our lifestyle and so we don’t have a time to wear them
- We buy clothes that don’t express our being or who we want to be
When it comes to living more authentically, we can be expressive even through the clothes we wear. If this were our intention, perhaps we would wear more of what we have in our closets because we would be more selective in our purchasing.
What do the clothes in your closet say about you? What do the clothes that you wear say about you? I know that many prefer to believe that what we wear doesn’t say anything at all about us, and that they are just clothes. And yet, you have to be aware that when you put something on that you really like on you, it speaks to you, and whatever it says causes you to act a certain way. You find yourself in a happy mood, acting confidently or boldly.
Drab clothing says something, if not to you, to others about you. Okay, maybe it shouldn’t be so, but it is so. Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, author of “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You”, says in the Forbes article “What Your Clothes Say About You”, “The worst clothing is the kind that tries to undo, ignore, or hide where or who you are, or the kind that shows you didn’t pay any attention to your body/age/situation… Any clothes that prohibit you from doing your job well send the wrong message.”
So, if you put on something, look at it in the mirror and don’t appreciate what the look says about you, what should you do? Once you recognize what you wear is expressive, be intentional about what you want to express.
I am totally aware of the fact that there are times when what you want to express is contrary to the liking of others, but this is not what I’m focusing on here. My emphasis is on you being aware of what you want to express and doing so authentically.
III. Be Honest in Your Actions. When speaking of Honesty, most people focus on what’s being said, but that’s not the only area one can be honest in. It’s funny how people will say that they are honest but in order for that to be an honest statement they must distinguish between what they say and what they doc They may very well tell the truth most of the time, but do they act it out as well.
So you don’t lie out of your mouth, but do you take things that don’t belong to you? Do you cheat when no one is looking? Do you hide the truth when it should be seen or decide others in what seems to be the smallest of ways? It is often a real challenge to actually live by what we say we value and believe to be important, but it should be done. If honesty is of value and importance to you, you can’t pick and choose when it is or when it isn’t. Either it is or it isn’t.
Being authentic demands the real and genuine, the true and accurate you to be on display. This being the case, it will always be a choice, and it will always take work on your part. Work where? It will take working within yourself, learning what is authentic for you and how to demonstrate that in your life.
It’s not just about not stealing, cheating, or being deceptive. There are plenty areas to be looked at. Perhaps you have a tendency to just away when you believe something should be done by someone. Living authentically in that moment may mean that you must be the someone who does something.
It’s easy and somewhat trendy to speak of wanting to live authentically, but you have to work at it. It’s not always as easy as it seems. And, that’s okay, because good work gets good results.
“I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.” Charles R. Swindoll
“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and they inevitability of something.” Meredith Monk
“Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked.” Peter Guber