Skip links

Traits Of Irresistible People (TIP) # 9: Authentic

Authenticity is one of those qualities that has become so desirable, so sought after, that it has been reduced just like generosity and gratitude to a meaningless cliché. Authenticity is as elusive as it is powerful, but so many people are still baffled by the notion of how to be authentic.
There’s something funny about the way we talk about authenticity. We want to learn authenticity. We want to react authentically. Authenticity is something we want to get. We treat being authentic as something we have, as opposed to something we are. Which can keep us from actually developing this trait, since we’re trying to attain something that, by definition, we already have.
If we define authenticity as simply being your true self, then we really shouldn’t have to look for it in the first place. If we’re looking for it, then we’ve already lost it. And that is what we can call the paradox of authenticity.
The truth is that we have all had moments of inauthenticity. It can be difficult to maintain authenticity in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations. You may worry that your “real” self isn’t good enough or appropriate for the situation at hand, and you fear rejection. So instead of showing up as yourself, you show up as the person you think everyone else will like.
While adapting to your environment is certainly beneficial in some situations, shifting your personality completely is problematic. Simply put, people can tell if you aren’t being authentic, and that’s a turn-off. Ultimately, people are attracted to authenticity. It makes us feel comfortable, safe, and respected. We want to be around and associated with authentic people.
The reason we recognize authenticity is that we’re primed to respond to it. And we’re primed to respond to it authentically. In short, we know it when we see it. And it feels good. It feels true. It feels like something real, which is why it resonates so strongly with us. 
Being yourself is not about standing out. Or being different to others. Being authentic is following your path, not comparing to others. Authenticity is about staying true to what you believe, not about your image— to be brave to express your genuine feelings and opinions. At heart, authenticity hinges on the idea that we should make the way we behave on the outside match what we feel on the inside.
As with many paths to self-improvement, you must start with observing yourself. As you meet new people, engage in work meetings, and spend time with different social groups, try to observe how you feel in each situation. When do you feel most comfortable? When do you feel like you are fidgeting in someone else’s skin? Leaning to be more observant and self-aware will allow you to recognize when you are feeling uncomfortable, understand why you are feeling uncomfortable, and signal to yourself to intentionally draw upon your authentic self.
The masks that other people wear in front of you say a lot about your authenticity. When you are genuine, you encourage others to be so too. If you hide your feelings or pretend to be someone you are not, don’t expect others to be honest with you. People are mirrors that reflect your blind spots.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.