What Does it Mean to be Authentic?

What does it mean to be authentic?

I don’t know about you but the events of the last few years have left me feeling icky around all the fake things going on from social media filters and exaggerations to fake news and AI, I am done with all of it. It made me realize that I want to be the opposite of all this. I want to resonate in a positive, authentic way so that the people who yearn for this as well can feel a connection and therefore feel better about the state of the world, and about themselves.

When I think about the definition of authentic to me it means being true to oneself, to be genuine and sincere in your thoughts, feelings and actions. Authenticity involves aligning your external behaviors and expressions with your internal beliefs and values. And it implies being honest and transparent, so not pretending to be someone or something you are not. This is what resonates for me and drives pretty much everything I do.

I realize that many people don’t have a clue how to get to this place. I was once there myself. My journey has been long and full of learning. It all started with figuring out who I am and what drives me. One of the key ways that I started to get clear on this path was through developing a daily meditation practice. It has benefited me in so many ways! From calming me down, to helping me focus, to bringing me consistent insights and inspirations. And one of the biggest benefits is that it allowed me to connect with my true self. 

Our true self yearns to be found; this is difficult to do in such a busy, noisy world. Once we can establish that connection to our true self, our purpose & why will emerge. And with purpose comes the blueprint for our lives. THIS IS POWERFUL STUFF!

Many people today have no idea why they are here. They lack a clear vision for their lives. They lack purpose and their why. Part of connection to my true self has been the path to empowerment, and helping others with this journey. Hence my launch two years ago of SimpleDivineRetreats.com where the aim is to deliver 1, 3 and 7 day workshops on doing the inner work we all need to do in order to live a life of purpose, joy and self love. 

Here are a few of the definitions again on what authenticity includes:

  • Self-awareness: Developing an understanding of yourself by uncovering your own values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses and motivations.
  • Consistency: Acting in a way that is consistent with your values and beliefs across different situations and over time. You need to check in with yourself regularly to see how you are feeling.
  • Honesty: Communicating openly and truthfully, both with yourself and with others.
  • Vulnerability: Being willing to show one’s true self, including acknowledging imperfections and expressing genuine emotions.
  • Integrity: Acting in accordance with a strong moral and ethical framework, maintaining a moral compass.
  • Not conforming to societal expectations: Authentic individuals are not driven solely by external expectations or societal norms but rather by their internal compass. This one is hard for many but let me tell you it is very liberating to beat to your own drum and not care what others think!
  • Empathy: Understanding and respecting the perspectives and feelings of others, even if they differ from one’s own. Again this one is difficult for many as we like to judge anyone who is different from ourselves!

What I know is that being authentic will lead to a greater sense of fulfillment, stronger interpersonal connections, and increased personal well-being. You must embrace your own marvelous uniqueness and navigate life in a way that is true to you, rather than conforming to external pressures or societal expectations. Authenticity is a dynamic process that requires self-reflection and a willingness to grow and adapt while staying true to one’s core values.

Personal traits related to authenticity

Personal authenticity is characterized by a combination of traits and behaviors that reflect an individual’s genuine and true self. Here are some key traits associated with personal authenticity:

  1. Self-awareness: Authentic individuals have a deep understanding of their own values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. They are in touch with their emotions and have a clear sense of identity.
  2. Consistency: Authenticity involves acting in a way that is consistent with one’s values and beliefs across different situations and over time. There is a coherence in behavior and therefore others can trust that the person is genuine in various circumstances. How many people do you know who actually function like this? 
  3. Honesty: Authentic individuals are honest and truthful, both with themselves and with others. They don’t pretend or create a false image, and they are comfortable acknowledging their mistakes and imperfections.
  4. Vulnerability: Authenticity includes a willingness to be vulnerable and open. This means expressing genuine emotions, sharing personal experiences, and being real about one’s struggles and challenges.
  5. Integrity: Personal integrity is a cornerstone of authenticity. It involves acting in accordance with a strong moral and ethical framework, maintaining a sense of honesty and fairness in all interactions.
  6. Courage: Being authentic often requires courage. It means standing up for your  beliefs, even in the face of criticism or societal pressure. Authentic individuals are willing to take risks to stay true to themselves.
  7. Adaptability: While authentic individuals stay true to their core values, they also recognize the need for growth and adaptation. They can learn from experiences and adjust their perspectives without compromising their authenticity.
  8. Empathy: Authenticity involves understanding and respecting the perspectives and feelings of others. Authentic individuals are empathetic, creating genuine connections with those around them.
  9. Open-mindedness: Authentic people are open to new ideas and perspectives. They don’t cling rigidly to their beliefs but are willing to explore and evolve as they gain new insights.
  10. Positive self-regard: Authenticity is closely tied to a positive self-image. Authentic individuals accept themselves for who they are, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses without excessive self-criticism.

These traits collectively contribute to the authentic individual’s ability to navigate life with integrity, build meaningful relationships, and find a sense of fulfillment in being true to themselves. Keep in mind that authenticity is a dynamic and ongoing process, requiring self-reflection and a commitment to personal growth.

How do I live an authentic life? 

Living an authentic life involves aligning your actions, choices, and relationships with your true self and core values. Here are some steps to help you live more authentically:

  1. Meditate: Develop a meditation practice in order to get to know yourself and your true self’s desires.
  2. Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your values, beliefs, and priorities. Understand what truly matters to you and consider your strengths, weaknesses, and the aspects of your life that bring you joy or fulfillment. Being December, this is a great time to do this exercise and set yourself up for 2024!
  3. Know Your Core Values: Identify and clarify your core values; these are the principles that guide your decisions and actions. Ensure that your goals and choices align with these values.
  4. Be Honest with Yourself: Acknowledge your true feelings, even if they are uncomfortable. Avoid self-deception and be honest about your desires and aspirations. Recognize and accept your strengths and weaknesses without judgment. And perhaps set a goal to work on weaknesses through personal self development, working with a coach or watching some YouTube videos.
  5. Set Boundaries: Establish healthy boundaries in your relationships and commitments. Learn to say no when something doesn’t align with your values or when it compromises your well-being.
  6. Express Yourself: Communicate openly and honestly with others. Share your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Be willing to express vulnerability and share your authentic self, even if it means being imperfect.
  7. Embrace Your Uniqueness: We are all unique! Let’s celebrate this! Celebrate what makes you unique, embrace your individuality and avoid comparing yourself to others. Recognize that being authentic means being true to your own path, not conforming to societal expectations.
  8. Take Risks: Get uncomfortable! Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and take risks that align with your authentic self. This could involve pursuing new opportunities, expressing yourself creatively, or confronting fears.
  9. Learn from Experiences: View challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth. Learn from both positive and negative experiences and adapt and adjust your path as needed, always staying true to your core values.
  10. Surround Yourself with Authenticity: Seek out relationships and environments that support your authenticity. Surround yourself with people who encourage and appreciate your true self.
  11. Practice Mindfulness: Develop mindfulness practices to stay present and connected to your inner self. Pay attention to how your thoughts, feelings, and actions align with your authentic values. Take in environments that help with getting into this state such as being in nature or exercising. 
  12. Continuous Self-Discovery: Living authentically is an ongoing process of self- discovery. Regularly revisit your values and reassess your life choices. Embrace change and growth as integral parts of your authentic journey.

Remember that living authentically is a personal and evolving journey. It may take time to fully understand yourself and make changes in alignment with your authentic self. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and celebrate the progress you make along the way.

What are some practices I can do to live a more authentic life?

Living a more authentic life involves incorporating practices into your daily routine that promote self-awareness, genuine expression, and alignment with your core values. Here are some practices to help you live authentically:

  1. Journaling: Regularly journaling your thoughts and feelings can enhance self- reflection and self-awareness. Write about your experiences, goals, and the values that are important to you.
  2. Mindfulness and Meditation: Cultivate mindfulness through meditation or mindfulness exercises. This can help you stay present, observe your thoughts without judgment, and connect with your authentic self.
  3. Identify Your Core Values: Take time to identify and define your core values. Knowing what truly matters to you can guide your decisions and actions in a way that aligns with your authentic self. Do this now so you can clear for January!
  4. Practice Saying No: Learn to say no to commitments or activities that don’t align with your values or contribute positively to your life. Setting boundaries is essential for authenticity. 
  5. Creative Expression: Engage in creative activities that allow you to express yourself authentically, whether it’s through art, writing, music, or other forms of creative expression.
  6. Self-Compassion: Develop a practice of self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during challenging times. Avoid self-criticism and perfectionism.
  7. Connect with Nature: Spend time in nature to foster a sense of grounding and connection. Nature has a way of bringing us back to the present moment and encouraging authenticity. 
  8. Regular Self-Check-Ins: Set aside time for regular self-check-ins. Ask yourself how you’re feeling, what you need, and whether your actions align with your values. Doing this weekly is life changing!
  9. Seek Authentic Connections: Cultivate relationships with people who appreciate and support your authentic self. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can reinforce your commitment to authenticity. Join a Meetup or start your own!
  10. Challenge Comfort Zones: Periodically challenge your comfort zones by taking calculated risks. This can include trying new activities, speaking up in situations that matter to you, or pursuing goals that align with your authentic self.
  11. Live in Alignment with Values: Make intentional choices that align with your core values. This can involve career decisions, lifestyle choices, and the way you spend your time.
  12. Practice Gratitude: Cultivate gratitude by regularly reflecting on the positive aspects of your life. This practice can enhance your overall well-being and keep you connected to what truly matters. I do this twice a day.
  13. Embrace Imperfection: Embrace the imperfections in yourself and others. Authenticity involves accepting and appreciating the uniqueness and flaws that make you human.
  14. Learn from Challenges: View challenges as opportunities for growth and self-discovery. Reflect on the lessons learned and how you can apply them to align more closely with your authentic self.
  15. Educate Yourself: Continuously educate yourself about your interests, values, and beliefs. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions that resonate with your authentic self.

Remember, authenticity is a journey, not a destination. Experiment with these practices and find a combination that works best for you. Regularly reassess and adjust your practices as you evolve and grow on your path to living authentically.

As we close the year that was 2023, I am looking forward to taking the time in the next two weeks to work on the above. I have many things planned both for my business and my own personal growth in 2024 that I am excited about!  

One thing I am doing is co-hosting a one day Women’s Workshop entitled “EmpowerHer: Embracing Joy, Self Care & Boundaries” being held at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens on Sunday, May 5, 2023 from 10 am – 3 pm. More information will be available on SimplyDivineRetreats.com in January. 

Until 2024! And wishing you many blessings this holiday season and for 2024 I wish everyone peace, prosperity and wonderful health! 


Estrellita Gonzalez is the owner of  Derma Bright Clinic, Simply Divine Retreats, MySkinSalon.com and has authored books and articles on wellness and wellbeing. 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart