9 signs you’re a truly genuine person, according to psychology

Being a genuine person isn’t just about telling the truth. It’s about being real with yourself and others about who you are, what you believe, and how you feel.

According to psychology, there’s more to being genuine than just honesty. It’s also about consistency, empathy, and understanding.

As a genuinely authentic person, you let your actions speak for themselves. You’re not interested in impressing others – you just want to be the best version of yourself.

Now, how do you tell if you’re truly a genuine person? Here are nine signs to look out for. Let’s dive in!

1) You practice self-awareness

In the realm of psychology, self-awareness is a key ingredient in authenticity.

It’s not always about being liked or agreeing with everyone around you. It’s about knowing your values, beliefs, and emotions deeply, and not being afraid to show them.

As Debbie Ford, a renowned author, and coach in the field of personal development, succinctly puts it, “Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad”​​.

This deep understanding and acceptance of oneself allow for genuine self-reflection and growth.

Truly genuine people understand that they are not perfect, and they’re okay with that. They embrace their flaws and mistakes as much as they celebrate their strengths and successes.

They take time regularly to self-reflect, to understand why they react the way they do, and how their actions might affect others.

2) You’re not afraid to show vulnerability

Being open about your feelings and experiences isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be downright scary. But it’s also a hallmark of a genuine person.

I remember a time when I was asked to give a presentation at work. Public speaking had always been a challenge for me, and my initial instinct was to gloss over this fact. I thought about pretending like I was comfortable, like everything was under control.

But then, I decided to be real about it. At the start of my presentation, I confessed to my colleagues: “I have to admit, public speaking makes me a bit nervous.”

In that moment, I exposed my vulnerability. And you know what? It felt liberating. My colleagues appreciated my honesty, and it helped to build trust and rapport.

As explained in Psychology Today, “Conscious vulnerability is a vulnerability you choose to lean into. When you get serious about taking a personal, professional, or social risk, you open yourself up to being hurt (laughed at, ridiculed, teased, or embarrassed)”​​.

This openness to vulnerability is not about exposing oneself to harm, but rather about embracing the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences, including the uncomfortable or challenging ones.

3) You listen more than you speak

Here’s something to consider: the average person speaks at a rate of about 125 to 150 words per minute. But our brains are capable of understanding speech at a rate of up to 600 words per minute.

This means we have a lot of spare cognitive capacity when we’re listening to someone else talk. Genuine people use this extra capacity not to formulate their next response, but to truly understand and empathize with what the other person is saying.

By focusing more on listening than speaking, they show that they value others’ perspectives and experiences. They are open-minded, curious and genuinely interested in others, which makes people feel seen, heard and appreciated.

So if you find yourself often taking a backseat in conversations, preferring to listen and absorb what others are saying, that’s another solid sign of being a genuine person.

4) You’re consistent

Consistency is an often overlooked attribute of genuine people. They are the same person in every situation—true to themselves no matter who they’re interacting with or where they are.

They don’t wear different masks or adjust their personalities to accommodate others. Their actions align with their words, and you can count on them to be true to their word.

For instance, if they say they’ll be there for you, they will be. They won’t say one thing and do another. Their consistent behavior builds a strong foundation of trust and reliability.

If you’re someone who doesn’t change your colors depending on the crowd, and if your actions consistently match your words, then that’s another telling sign you’re a truly genuine person.

5) You express empathy

Genuine people have a high capacity for empathy. They can place themselves in another person’s shoes and understand their feelings and viewpoints. This isn’t just about being nice – it’s about truly grasping where others are coming from.

Renowned psychologist Carl Rogers emphasized this aspect, stating, “Being empathetic is seeing the world through the eyes of the other, not seeing your world reflected in their eyes”. 

They don’t rush to judgement or conclusions. Instead, they take the time to listen, understand, and then respond in a way that shows they care.

For example, when a friend shares a problem, a genuine person won’t immediately jump in with advice or solutions. They’ll first acknowledge the friend’s feelings and show understanding.

If you find yourself often understanding and sharing the feelings of others, that’s yet another sign of being a genuine person.

6) You’re not driven by ego

In a world where self-promotion and personal gain often take center stage, genuine people stand out. They’re not driven by ego, status, or recognition. Instead, they’re driven by their values and principles.

They don’t seek the spotlight for their own glory. Rather, they’re more interested in doing what’s right and standing up for what they believe in, even if it means standing alone.

They don’t need constant validation from others to feel worthy. Their sense of self-worth comes from within, from living in alignment with their deeply held beliefs.

Your authenticity shines through in your ability to stay true to yourself, not in the applause you receive.

7) You’re comfortable with saying no

This was a tough one for me. I used to be a ‘yes’ person, always agreeing to help out or take on extra tasks even when I was already stretched thin. I thought saying no would make me seem unkind or selfish.

But over time, I realized that always saying ‘yes’ wasn’t doing me—or the people I was trying to help—any favors. It often led to burnout and resentment, and it didn’t allow me to give my best where it was truly needed.

Learning to say ‘no’ was a turning point. It meant respecting my own time and energy, and understanding that it’s okay not to please everyone all the time.

If you’re someone who can comfortably say ‘no’ when needed, without feeling guilty or worrying about disappointing others, then that’s another powerful sign of being a genuine person.

8) You forgive and let go

Holding onto grudges and past hurts doesn’t align with the nature of a genuine person. They understand that everyone makes mistakes, including themselves.

They don’t shy away from apologizing when they’re wrong. And when others apologize to them, they’re quick to forgive and move on.

They don’t allow resentment to take root and poison their heart. Instead, they choose to learn from the experience and then let it go.

If you’re someone who doesn’t hold onto anger or resentment, who can forgive others (and yourself) and move forward, then that’s yet another sign of being a truly genuine person.

9) You live authentically

At the heart of it all, being a genuine person means living authentically. It’s about being real, being yourself, in all situations and under all circumstances.

It’s not about trying to fit into a certain mold or meet someone else’s expectations. It’s about knowing who you are, what you believe in, and living in alignment with that, no matter what.

This authenticity might make you stand out, or even make you unpopular at times. But that’s okay.

Because at the end of the day, living authentically brings peace, happiness, and fulfillment that conforming to others never could.

Final thoughts: Authenticity is a journey

At the end of the day, being a genuine person isn’t about ticking off a checklist or hitting certain benchmarks. It’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, one that requires introspection, vulnerability, and courage.

It’s about striving to align your actions with your values and beliefs, even when it’s tough. It’s about embracing who you are, in all your imperfections and uniqueness. And it’s about showing up authentically in the world, even when it’s easier to hide behind a facade.

Authenticity isn’t a destination; it’s a continual process of becoming. It’s the commitment to being true to yourself, moment by moment, day by day.

Take a moment to reflect: Are you living authentically? Are you showing up in the world as your genuine self? What steps can you take to foster greater authenticity in your life?

Because in the grand scheme of things, there’s nothing more liberating and fulfilling than being unapologetically you.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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