What does it mean to be authentic? The catchphrase has been kicked around a lot lately. Be authentic. Dare to be You. Be true to yourself.
But, how to know whether we are being influenced by invalid beliefs or not? Whether our beliefs are right or wrong?
In popular perception, authenticity is understood as being true to oneself, not an imitation of what we think one should be or has been told one should be.
But wait a minute. If being authentic means being our true self, how many of us have really taken the time to know our real human nature?
We want to be authentic, even if we don’t know what authenticity means. That’s the paradox of the modern version of ‘be yourself.’ Rather than searching within, we are trying to match what ‘authentic’ means to others.
For most of our lives, we camouflage. We stay under the radar, hoping we’d blend in. Due to ignorance about what is real, we are full of self-doubt, so we mold our personalities and beliefs based on circumstances. We forgo our authentic self for the security of having the validation of family and friends. This springs from the fear of being judged.
The perception has to be removed that whatever people popularly accept as authentic is authentic. If something is not fair it is not fair. If something is not true it is not true. One should not suppress his inner voice. No matter whether the constitution, law, society, or someone else says, if one’s inner voice does not agree then one should not do it.
Human beings have the capability to maintain duality due to imagination. Because of culture, society, peer pressure, we feel something and display something else. This weakens human beings from within.
To be authentic as an individual, one needs to become resolved in life. One has to inquire and accept the reality and forget about the approval and validation. Proving can be only to a few people. ‘Being’ will be for oneself. Authenticity alone gives satisfaction, proving creates fear of being disproved.
Being authentic simply means knowing reality as it is. We cannot keep creating new definitions of authentic. What is real is real. Whatever we have learned so far now needs to be aligned with the existential truth. It isn’t trying new but removing our ignorance of reality. There is nothing new or innovative that man can do. Nature has everything in order we just need to know the reality and be in order and not do things against natural processes.
Coming to knowing the reality, knowing existence as it is is the objective of human beings. Once human beings start to see things as they are, they become authentic. In a nutshell, being authentic is more than being real; it is finding what is real.
To understand the reality of anything, we should know that every element has four inseparable parts. Form, characteristic, behavior, and nature.
Form and characteristics are seen and analyzed using the senses and the brain. The behavior is experienced when it interacts with us or other elements. Nature is experienced.
Now if we analyze a human being on these four parameters, we find that the universal nature is to be looking for happiness. Everyone can experience it and when we try to put that into words the words fall short.
Authenticity is not a goal, but something you have. Your inherent nature is to be just, fair, and useful. It’s something you pursue — part of the learning experience of being human. You become an authentic person when your thoughts, speech, and actions come in alignment. To align our thoughts, speech, and actions, we need to have knowledge about human nature and the world.
Authenticity is the fastest way of finding the truth. On the other hand, deceit and fakeness make us weaker, more prone to victimization and suppression, and more vulnerable to others’ mistreatment.
These days all the happiness coaches, self-help authors, books, podcasts, magazines rattle on being authentic. The reason authenticity is missing from our lives is that we do not understand the existential reality of human nature. Homosapiens have not been studied or understood for all the years that we have been in existence.
There are prevalent misconceptions about human beings that they are greedy or selfish or evil, they are all false and arise from our ignorance about human nature. While there have been instances of some human beings depicting these behaviors, we can not classify that this is human nature. Authenticity is an innate human nature. This is not imbibed but nurtured and cultivated.
It is the societal upbringing and education that teaches a person to kill authenticity.
These qualities mentioned above are all inhuman behavior and need to be understood that way. They are mere accidents that happen when the understanding is incomplete. In reality, humans are just, benevolent, productive, and truthful. This is the authentic human nature that every individual has to find in himself to be resolved.
Popular belief- Authenticity is Cultivated
Supported by – Tony Fahkry in this Medium article explains How To Cultivate Your Authentic Self. He gives points as ideal qualities to Awaken One’s Authentic Self.
Existential Reality Check – Human beings have an innate need of being just, fair, and truthful. It’s a human feature to be nurtured by culture and any contradictory trait that they exhibit is a problem of their education from culture and not anything else. Whenever something disturbs them, they get agitated and want to embrace their natural self, resolved self. the need to cultivate authenticity is felt. This can be achieved by having a full and complete understanding of every why and how that comes into their mind. Once they have everything clear then they are happy, resolved, and authentic.