There’s so much fakeness going on in our modern world.
Fake people, fake food, fake spirituality, fake everything!
But I have good news:
You can still be the real deal and stay true to yourself and what you believe.
Here are twenty truly powerful ways to be authentic in a world of pretense.
1) Never cross your own boundaries
The key starting point for being authentic is to have a personal moral code and standards that you don’t cross.
In other words:
The starting point for how to be authentic in a fake world is to be authentic to yourself.
If you make yourself a promise, stick to it.
If you believe something is wrong, don’t do it.
If you feel bad about something, try to fix it.
Get to a point where any promise or commitment you make to yourself is the gold standard.
Get to a point where you trust your own word the same as you would a promise from the vault keeper at a top-security, world-renowned Swiss bank.
How many times have you heard people say “I don’t care” about the latest issue in the world or an important subject, or even their own future?
How stupid. How fake.
Instead, be authentic and admit that you do care.
I sure as hell care.
And I’m not afraid to admit it.
Being authentic means admitting that even if you don’t have all the answers or life is currently bringing you down, you do care.
I particularly like Lyn Christian’s article on authenticity at SoulSalt.
As she notes:
“Authenticity means having a keen awareness of who you are and what you stand for, and expressing yourself honestly and consistently to the world.”
3) Don’t care
While you should be upfront about what you stand for and what you care about, there are some key things that you should not care about.
- What’s currently “cool” (don’t care!)
- Whether everyone likes you (don’t care!)
- What you need to do to be accepted by “society” (don’t care!)
- Whether your fashion or tastes are generally in line with current trends (don’t care!)
Feel free to add to the “don’t care list.”
The point is to separate what matters from what doesn’t.
Being authentic means caring about things that matter to you, not things which you are supposed to care about or are being socially and culturally engineered to care about
Which brings me to point three…
4) Smash social engineering
Social engineering is the technique of predicting, managing and controlling human activities and behavior.
At the corporate level, it can be a company’s sales director coming before a board meeting and saying “in 10 years I envision 35% of the US population using this device / wearing this accessory / having this habit.”
Then, in 10 years, lo and behold, his vision comes true, through a combination of lobbying, advertising, propaganda, product development and market investment.
It could be something as harmless as bell bottoms and funk music making a comeback all the way to people hooked on opioids or a growth in the financial sector and hedge funds.
Whatever the trend or behavior that’s being predicted or encouraged, we’re all at least partially subject to social engineering.
But as you become more aware of that you can make conscious choices and extricate yourself.
For example, what clothes do you really want to wear and do you feel comfortable in?
What music do you truly like and want to listen to if nobody was judging you?
What work brings you true fulfillment if it wasn’t just about money or societal expectations and pressures?
Smash social engineering. It’s disempowering.
5) Be honest about your faults, then try to change them
Being honest about your faults is important.
Do an honest assessment and then see what you find. Ask those close to you to chip in with observations as well.
Then, do your best to change and improve on your faults.
If there are some you can’t change, like having weird-shaped ears, then accept and own that!
We all have something we don’t love about ourselves, but it’s vital to own it.
6) Be honest in sex and dating
Next up in the ways to be authentic in a world of pretense is to be honest in sex and dating.
Romantic and sexual relations are an absolute minefield or inauthenticity and fakery. Maybe they always have been: Jane Austen sure seemed to say so!
But they seem worse than ever.
A common saying that has a lot of truth is the following:
Women fake sex for love, men fake love for sex.
So, to be authentic just undo both the negatives on this formula!
Women: never feel pressure to sleep with a guy or “put out” in order for him to commit to you or love you. And if you’re feeling no good guy’s ready to commit, don’t blame yourself or think you’re not good enough. You are. And unless you just want something casual right now, never feel forced to “settle” for it.
Men: never feel pressure to pretend to be in love if you’re really just looking for sex. Stop leading women on, and if you’re not in love or romantically interested, be honest!
7) Fight back against your inner victim
We all have an inner victim, and unfortunately many of us live in modern societies which are full of sh*t and say that embracing this inner “vulnerability” is authentic.
Being vulnerable about your faults and where you’ve fallen short is great. Being honest with others is a must.
But going on about the ways we feel victimized or have been hurt in life is the opposite of helpful.
As marathon runner and Navy SEAL veteran David Goggins explores in his books Can’t Hurt Me and Never Finished, the victim mentality is deadly.
He himself had a harder start that most of us will ever imagine, but because he was forced to embrace discipline and a no excuses life from an early age, Goggins eventually found his way into achieving maximum performance and fulfillment.
When we think that life owes us anything because we have been mistreated, abused or hurt, we end up weakening ourselves.
We also become highly fake.
“This very bad stuff happened to me, therefore I deserve to get a good job and a partner I love.”
Scrap that. The victim mentality is super cringe, and it doesn’t lead anywhere except straight downhill.
If you want to be authentic, stop thinking the world owes you, and stop looking for an easy way out where a person, place or event will suddenly fix everything.
8) Stop being nicer than you actually are
So many people act nice because they think that’s how you “should” be or that it will make them well liked.
Trust me, I know, I’m literally Canadian.
Canadians say sorry when somebody else bumps into them (can confirm, it’s true, and yes I’m ashamed to say I’ve done it in the past).
Talk about submissive. Talk about fake!
Scrap that sh*t.
I’m not saying to be aggressive or look for a fight, but if somebody bumps into you, please don’t apologize to them. They bumped into you.
Stop being nicer than you are. Get real.
9) Stop trying to be authentic
Last, and most of all, in terms of the best ways to be authentic in a world of pretense is to stop trying to be authentic.
Trying to be authentic is a bit inauthentic, don’t you think?
If you know you’re authentic and you’re true to yourself, why would you be trying to be more authentic?
You already are. Relax.
The methods I’ve noted above are more like benchmarks or self-checks.
Because at the end of the day, being authentic isn’t about trying to be anything.
It’s just about being you instead of buying into any of the games and disguises that consumer society offers you to put on.
Becoming authentic as f*ck (af) is just about stripping away everything that’s not really you.
Being authentic af is really about just saying no to fakeness.
When fakeness shows up, you’ll know. We all come across it constantly in our lives.
It’s all around you, offering you supposed benefits if you talk like other people, work like them, believe (or disbelieve) like them and play their games…
But why should you?
Once you stop trying to be anything other than what you are, your real self will emerge.
We’re all influenced by our environment and trends, but we don’t have to be their slave.
Be true to yourself and be genuine in how you interact with others and go about your life.
You’ll attract others to you who are on their own path to authenticity as well.