THE ROOTS OF AUTHENTICITY
We can tell when others give us something out of obligation, or when their generosity is genuine and unconditional.
Authenticity is one of our greatest gifts to ourselves. The way we know we are being authentic is whether we are the same around people as we are behind closed doors. Frankly, this is the best ‘self’ we can manage to express because, alternatively, with so many layers of “the unseen,” authenticity can get lost in the enormous black abyss of duplicity and facades.
WHY NOT JUST BE YOU?
If who you are when others can’t hear or see you is different than the way you are with people, then perhaps one of the best questions to ask yourself is what you have to hide? There is no reason why you can’t be you. The only person stopping you from being your most organically natural self is you, and one of the only excuses we can conjure up is that we’re too fearful of the world’s prejudice.
What is it about the world’s censure that makes us so afraid to be authentic? Are we afraid of being unaccepted? As every day ends, what matters most is that we are honest with ourselves. This is pivotal to accepting ourselves, as well as the enabling of others accept our most real selves, and not some false version of us as influenced by the world.
THE UNIQUE NATURE OF JESUS
One truth that I love to refer back to is the authenticity of Jesus Christ. Even as the Pharisees would try to trap Him in a political or theological lie, He always minimized their religious quarrels with a more powerful rebuttal. Jesus’ authenticity drew crowds around Him. His character was genuinely loving, bold, obstinately true. His words were used for the amelioration of others; His rebukes always righteous. Oppositely, an inauthentic person draws hypocrisy inside, dividing their ratiocination between self-deprecation and the extrapolation of self-worth by worldly judgment.
AUTHENTICITY IN RELATIONSHIPS
In relationships, authenticity requires us to know who we are, what we want, and how we feel. It also asks that we have a matured sense of selflessness; spacial enough to allow us to extend our greatest and most distinguishing human quality: to love others unconditionally. If we are not the truest version of ourselves with others, these characteristics are obscured, maybe even to ourselves, and therefore, are more difficult to imbue into our being.
Additionally, while we can’t stop others from judging our authentic selves. What we have control over is merely the way we handle others‘ judgment. The weight we place on the opinion of the people we feel judged by reveals our level of dependency on their approval for validation.
Amelioration is the betterment of something. The amelioration of a person means to better oneself; straightening out our priorities, and choosing to love rather than being selfish. The deterioration of character is our choice to allow the criticism of this world to conquer our thoughts, our choices, and lastly, our actions. Letting this happen is the picture of giving back to the world what we receive from it: pain, bitterness, judgment, and resentment. These, however, are not effective constituents for self-improvement. Our best selves would not ridicule, vindicate, or even the score with those who caused us turmoil and hardship; Jesus taught this to us by dying on the cross when He’d done no wrong.
I challenge you to see for yourself as authenticity shapes you, and to burrow through what may be causing you to procrastinate, or altogether be afraid of what the best version of you looks like. Genuineness comes with accepting who we are, which means liking who we are—flaws and all. All the multifarious ways people are unique, different, and stand out, may not always be welcomed by the world. That is a truth we have to accept while living in a world corrupted by sin. This doesn’t make us any less worth who we are, and this shouldn’t stop us from being more like ourselves. Whether you to sing loud in the shower, or you listen to one song every day for hours back-to-back, there is nothing wrong with having parts of your character which others simply don’t understand or appreciate. These are still parts of you which do not change your worth. In fact, these define you more because they are unique to you. They inspire you to think and be what others aren’t, and others could never be you.
THE FEARLESS, MOST AUTHENTIC YOU
There is nothing quite more extraordinary than being who you are, all the time. Being anyone else is robbing the world of something magnificent, treasurable, and unique. If you find others who don’t take notice, just keep on being you. Someone will see you and love what they find. You are a sight and a character to behold, and everything about you is screaming that. Let those who have ears to hear and eyes to see appreciate the parts of you which no one else can replicate or copy; to witness the parts of you that inspire, motivate, and bring out the most authentic aspects from others as well. We are all inspirations. We are all role models—if we bring out our most authentic selves and allow them to bloom.
In closing this post, I want to mention how I love the concept of a flower being an exemplar of authenticity, as inanimate as a flower is. Like a flower, we need to be exactly the way we were designed to be. A flower can’t be anything but a flower, and we can’t be anything but human. But, a flower won’t try to be a different kind of flower, so, why should we pretend we are like someone or something we’re not? A flower is a flower, or it’s nothing at all. What does that say about us? What does that say about us as a society?
We were meant to be seen and embraced, and we have much to show the world. The world has much to see and learn from us. We all have something to learn from each other. And when we finally get through to someone, we can point them towards the Source of all authenticity: Christ Himself.
Take your first step and show the world what you’re made of. The world needs the real you.