There isn’t really an abundance of appreciation for people who are fake. In fact, as a trait, “keeping it real” is something the world holds in higher regard. Besides their inherent cuteness, it’s probably why children—who are known for putting their real, authentic selves on full display—are so cherished.
Unfortunately, in a world of curated social media feeds and personal branding, retaining the authenticity we had as children is tough. Instead everyone wants to be “ideal and perfect”. And since no one is perfect, that’s not very authentic, is it? While there is nothing wrong with seeking the ideal and perfect, giving your authentic self a chance to manifest is far more valuable than being fake. So how best to be authentic? Let’s take a look at how authentic people do it.
Traits of the Authentic
Not everyone can be a child, but there are traits you can adopt to become more authentic. Here are ten traits authentic people share in staying true to themselves:
1. Authentic people are reflective and introspective.
They are self-aware, and they practice analyzing their own thoughts and behavior. This inward attentiveness allows authentic people to evaluate the impact of their words and actions on other people.
2. Authentic people listen.
They are genuinely interested in what others have to say. They gather details and take note on the things that others share with them. This sincere attention to people explains why it is easy for many to open up to them.
3. Authentic people are empathetic.
Empathy is different from sympathy or pity. Being empathetic involves recognizing someone else’s situation from that person’s own perspective and sharing his emotions. On this note, authentic people see beyond themselves and their own circumstances. With this quality, they can see, deeply understand, and share in the plight of others.
4. Authentic people uphold their values and principles at all times.
Integrity—that is, being the same person in your private life and your public life—is one of the results of truly knowing oneself and being oneself. Individuals who uphold their authentic self will never allow their core beliefs and values to be compromised.
5. Authentic people are full of gratitude.
They rarely give attention to what they are lacking. They truthfully take stock of the things that they have and take these as reasons to be thankful.
6. Authentic people are optimistic.
They recognize that there are things beyond their control. Because of this realistic and honest view of life, they are not prone to worry and complain. They choose to keep a positive attitude even during the most trying times.
7. Authentic people are confident and self-assured.
They don’t necessarily look for validation and approval from other people. Their actions and words are based on their own convictions and how they honestly feel—not based on what others will think of them.
8. Authentic people are not afraid to be vulnerable.
They embrace the raw, uncomfortable, and sometimes unglamorous truth. This attitude towards truth gives authentic people the strength to accept vulnerability. For them, it is not bad to admit that they have weaknesses.
9. Authentic people are kind and appreciate kindness from others.
They have so much love and appreciation that they indiscriminately give it to others. Likewise, they wholeheartedly accept kindness and appreciation when it is accorded to them.
10. Authentic people seek other authentic people.
It can be said that each person is the average of the people that he keeps around himself—and authentic people know this too well. They are cautious about choosing the people that they hang around with most of their time. They try to be around people who will hearten their efforts to be their authentic self.
Finding Your Authentic Self and Keeping It
Yes, authentic people are a rare breed. Yet, no matter how uncommon they are, there will always be that one fascinating person around you that seems to draw people in. It will not be difficult to spot them. In one way or another, that person may have already been helping you with your journey to be your authentic self.
It is indeed a healthy practice to always be honest with how you really feel under all circumstances you find yourself in. Are you frustrated about something? If yes, first acknowledge the emotion and ask why the situation has such effect on you. Doing this will allow you to tackle the real issue at hand. Second, evaluate the instances when you are not true to yourself. Try to find out what could have caused you to respond the way you did. Lastly, isolate the inauthentic action and make a mental note not to repeat it. Always remember that actions, not words, are the best measures that will tell if you really are being your authentic self.
Being your authentic self is a choice. So take the first step and begin your journey on the path toward authenticity.