What exactly does being authentic actually mean, and why are we all now striving so hard to achieve it? I know I am – are you?
One dictionary definition of authentic is “of undisputed origin; genuine”. The challenge many of us are having at the moment is that we are getting ‘authentic’ confused with ‘perfect’.
I meditated on it this morning and asked to be more authentic. In my mind I was seeing a ‘perfect’ me as I asked for authenticity. The Angels, however, told me that being authentic is loving ourselves and bringing it with everything that we are, not everything that we hope to be! Authentic and loving go together, authentic and perfect do not!
Some people say they want ‘the authentic experience’ when they are on holiday/on vacation, but this is a great example of many of us getting authentic confused with perfect. An authentic holiday comes with all the hassles of everyday life for where we are going. At the moment there are tube strikes in London (tube = underground/subway). I’ve lived in London and had to travel home on many occasions when there has been a tube strike. It’s a real pain, but if you happen to be visiting London when there is a tube strike it’s the real thing – an authentic experience of London! Most people would moan about being caught up in it and wish they were anywhere else but in London at that moment – perfect it ain’t, but genuine it is!
That’s why so many people are desperate to be more authentic, without realizing that what they are really searching for is a better ‘me’, a better life, a better job, a better relationship. They aren’t visualizing genuine at all, but perfection. They see everyone else’s perfect life (so clearly demonstrated on Facebook and reality TV!) and they are desperate for that themselves.
Here’s the crunch though; by being more authentic, by accepting our imperfect-ness fully and without judgement, by loving ourselves just as we are – life will get better. The worst thing we can do is compare ourselves to others; it’s draining and the complete opposite of empowering. Most people with the ‘perfect’ house/children/career only show others what they want them to see and edit the heck out of their real life story. Remember that old adage – be careful what you wish for, because behind that perfect facade could be a family struggling financially, a friend battling depression, a work colleague battling anxiety.
At the end of the day authenticity really doesn’t mean being perfect. It means embracing our wholeness, everything about ourselves and moving forward in the world just as we are. From now on I won’t be striving for perfection, but I will be working towards loving my authentic self (bumps, lumps and all!).