3 Steps to Being More Authentic
Galileo Galilei opposed the Geocentric view that Earth was at the center of the universe. He believed that Earth revolved around the Sun, not the other way around. But in his time, most educated people didn’t think so. Eventually he was called a heretic, but he followed through.
How often do you find yourself doing things you don’t want to do? Trying to please everyone around you seeking approval? Or pretending to like doing something that you don’t? Like doing tasks just because your boss or an authority source tells you so. Being authentic is about aligning what you think with what you do. An easy way to know if you are being authentic is if what you do feels good. When we continually exercise authenticity with ourselves we become empowered to communicate our thoughts. If we don’t agree with a viewpoint we empathize (we seek to understand) but we speak up.
We all have an internal monologue going on, our inner voice. We think about things we don’t want to do or we have thoughts we want to express, but we hold back. When we do something that doesn’t feel right we become anxious and stressed. If you think about a situation that is stressful, you might find out that there is something you are doing (or not doing) that does not align to what you think and value. We have become really good at band-aiding stress. We go about our life without addressing our own personal concerns. This makes sense because confronting a situation requires a lot of energy—both courage and consideration to speak up.
But being authentic and following through for our own needs is healthy and provides well-being. This doesn’t mean that we won’t be wrong. But it means we’ll feel good and grow as a result of it. When we engage in activities outside of our comfort zone and we are being authentic, we grow and it feels good. But when we react in our overly busy (and often power driven) world we get stressed. Being authentic means that no matter what you do:
- You believe it is a good idea—even if it turns out to be wrong.
- You find the courage to communicate and clarify something that doesn’t feel right to you.
- You feel empowered to fully engage in work because it aligns to what you believe.
Galileo had the courage to communicate that the Sun, Moon and Stars did not rotate around our planet. He had the courage to be authentic and published his observations even if he had been proven wrong. There is too much pretending going on. But instead you can show up: being vulnerably present ready to speak up, be wrong, and learn. A good way to start is by challenging the things that you don’t like to do: those things that bother you, that do not feel right or that stress you out.
Being authentic feels so good because you start to be yourself—and not what everyone else wants you to be. The paradox is that when we are being ourselves, that’s when we are most able to make this world a better place.
Juan F. Diaz
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