By Jim Starr
As the rather recent saying goes: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
Authenticity is the practice of being truly yourself. Isn’t it odd that this should be so hard to do? After all, you are yourself, no? Yet the word “authenticity” seems to point to a certain way of being yourself, a way of expressing in your words and actions what you honestly think and feel – a way of having your outside match your inside. What’s so hard about that? One word: fear. We fabricate an artificial outside because we’re ashamed of our (unworthy) inside, and are afraid of it being seen. These 5 Keys will not dissolve your fear, but will aid you in being more authentic in the face of it.
- Pause and breathe Let’s say you’re about to answer a question. Without making a show of it, pause and take a subtle extra breath before responding. Your brain will use the extra milliseconds to get in touch with what’s actually true for you rather than blurting out some kind of “looking good” answer.
- Speak louder Being inauthentic is a form of lying. And it’s much harder to lie loudly than softly. We’re not talking about some noticeably out-of-character increase in volume – just a tad. Maybe one point on a scale of one to ten. You may be pleasantly shocked by the results of this powerful technique.
- Be willing to tolerate silence Ever experience an “awkward silence?” We all have. Underneath the awkwardness is fear. Face the fear head on, internally vowing not to be the first one to break the silence. Also, in any situation where a response is expected of you, be willing to remain silent until you have found the correct response, the authentic one.
- Be committed to taking action Don’t wait for fear to subside before taking any important action. Acknowledge that you’re afraid and forge ahead anyway, like a warrior. If, for example, it’s a scary phone call you need to make, notice that your fingers are capable of dialing the number no matter how fearful you may be.
- Watch yourself Without making yourself wrong, notice your inauthenticities as they come up. You will almost certainly discover patterns and habits of which you were previously unaware. These discoveries will coalesce into insights and, in time, breakthroughs. Your intention to be authentic is one of the most powerful forces in your body.
Jim Starr is an author, philosopher, certified Rolfer and avid student of the human condition.