The Genuine Article

What does it mean to be authentic in today’s world? It doesn’t mean just being different or standing out from the crowd, but it does mean having a firm understanding of just who you are.

“Genuineness.” “Authenticity.” These words are kind of hard to say and, for many people, even harder to be. However, there are some hallmarks that illustrate what it means to be authentic.

First of all, authentic people are aware of their thoughts and feelings, and they behave in ways that reflect those feelings. They don’t see any need to “Put on an act” to impress or control others. They accept their vulnerabilities as well as their strengths, and they know that accepting something isn’t necessarily the same thing as liking it. Do you know something else? Because they accept themselves for who they are, they accept other people, too.

Authentic people don’t laugh at jokes they don’t think are funny. They don’t change their identity, like chameleons, depending on who they are with, or where they are. So, if you want to grow as a person, take time to really know yourself. If you’re not completely happy with what you find, don’t worry too much. Work on accepting yourself for what you are, right here, right now, and work on being truly authentic.

Carl Rogers, a world-famous psychologist, once said that when we accept ourselves exactly as we are, change becomes much easier. There is a very good chance he was right, because then the change process has a solid place from which to start. We measure growth from where we are to where we want to be. If we don’t know where we are, it’s a little difficult to pin down just how we are going to get to where we want to be.

If you are the boss, you may not always like what your employees do. But in your role as leader, you do have skills to guide them toward a more fully-realized version of who they can be. If you are a parent, take a tip from another famous Mr. Rogers: Let your kids know that even though you may not always like what they do, you love them for who they are – just the way they are!