How Important Is It?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

How many times have you thought you were a good judge of someone’s character, only to be fooled? Unless you’re an expert at assessing character, it can be tough. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assert that we live in a world filled with fakes, frauds and people who are just not real. The obvious flip side to this and a belief I hold, is that being authentic is one of the most important aspects of living a meaningful life.

Being authentic is more than just being real; it’s finding what is real in yourself. And what is real for me may be quite different from what is real for you. There is no value attached; it simply is what it is, for each of us. If your sexual orientation, spiritual beliefs or chosen path is different from mine, we are both okay with it.

Being ourselves when we are with others, especially strangers, can be challenging. The stress in those situations can cause us to regress into old behaviors, personas, and patterns of feeling anxious and trying to fit in. While it may seem to be easier to stay in your comfort zone, finding the courage to be who you really are in all areas of your life will help you to realize your true potential. To get to your true self, you have to examine dreams you have forgotten, fears that are holding you back, or beliefs that are not your own.

When we are living our authentic selves, our differences do not frighten or challenge us. There are no judgments. I honor the authentic you and you honor the authentic me.

Learning and accepting the truth about who you really are and what is important to being who you are takes honesty, awareness, and time. Yet when you pursue your authentic self, you will find you no longer have to live in fear of exposure; it means you will be acting in good faith and aligned with your personal values. No more pretending to be someone or something else.

There are many ways in which to live a more authentic life. Here are four to consider:

  • Identify the voice. Is it yours or your mother’s or mass media or the TV? Steer clear of trying to be an image of what you think others would like to see.
  • Be honest with your feelings. What you do with them is important. Be true to rather than denying them.
  • Appreciate your uniqueness! Find your own special talent or skill. Each of us is blessed with gifts that we’re meant to share with others.
  • Be clear and truthful with your intentions. When your heart’s intention is honest, you need not concern yourself with making an innocent mistake. Act in good faith.

You are one of a kind. Henry David Thoreau once said, “We are constantly invited to be who we are.” Is there any reason you’re not fully embracing that invitation?

21 thoughts on “How Important Is It?

  1. I enjoyed this so much. I tweeted a similar thing. You explain these things so well. Maybe I’m discovering my voice. When I sit down to type I’m not sure what I’ll write or how the story will end, but I have to check myself because I second-guess posts sometimes- thinking that “people” will find it odd that they are so different. I post anyway because it feels right. Somehow reading this helps a lot. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  2. Could not agree more. At 42, realization has dawned on me that I must not take people at face value. As for being true to myself, I have tried it and faced certain difficulties. Though Indian scriptures talk a lot about these things, but there are practical constraints. To give one example, my mental make-up over the years has evolved to a state where I am at peace with most of the things happening around me, not possessive, not assertive, not demanding and so on. But the problem I am facing because of being true to myself with such a frame of mind is that many a times I am taken for granted, I am losing so-called influence in organisation. So, on one hand I don’t want to change myself and pretend to hanker for things, but if I don’t do I feel that I am hurting my career. So that is my dilemma.

    • I understand your dilemma. I lived that for many years in the corporate world. I finally came to a realization and made a choice that aligned with my core values and true self. It was not easy but it was freeing. In time, you’ll find a workable solution. Just don’t stress over it!

  3. Great post Eric, easier said than done too! ‘Living our authentic selves’, that takes a lifetime of effort, I found no harm to go about it in small steps, which is probably me anyway!

    • Thanks, HKCT. I’m not sure it takes a lifetime of effort. My sense is that each of us learn and grow at our own unique pace; some ‘achieve’ that state sooner than others. I applaud your choice of pursuing it your own way. What’s important is that you’ve chosen to make it a part of your journey.

  4. Again Eric those four little steps you mention are filled with insight. I agree with you, there is a tremendous amount of incongruence around and it adds to the unnecessary overloading of our lives. Congruence and authenticity, like you say, certainly causes life to become so much easier, free and interconnected.

    • I appreciate your meaningful thoughts, Don. Thank you. Being in congruence is, to me, equal parts empowering and freeing. I believe many people aspire to that lifestyle. And quite frankly, who wouldn’t? So I’m going to keep on preachin’ it.

    • glad you enjoyed the message, chelsea. it’s always warming when something i share resonates with readers. i (practice and) liked the four tips, too. and… I get to reply in lower case. how cool is that? 🙂

  5. Love it! So much truth there. I think we all seek to be true within ourselves and its not always easy to know how. You shed some important light on the matter.
    Also, I threw an award at you again. Just an excuse for me to pimp out your blog to others, since your blog is so amazing!

    • My man Down Under… you are a pleasure to connect with. While you flatter with your comments, I know they’re genuine. I look forward to reading your blog because it’s the real deal and levity makes my (and others’) day! As for throwing an award at me, you get points for continuing the baseball parlance. Jesting aside, thank you. I’ve never had a pimp promote on my behalf. I hope you’re keeping score as one day, I intend to repay your kindness. Keep up your enjoyable posts.

      • My man Up Over! Is that a thing? Anyway, you bet they’re genuine! It is a pleasure connecting with you also. No score necessary, this is me repaying what you do for me by way of your posts… so we’re already even! In fact, I still owe you a few. Thanks for the kind words again. Keep up your awesome work also!

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