How often are we given the advice to “just be yourself”?
But the truth is that for something that sounds so simple, authenticity can be surprisingly tricky to master.
This article will look at the characteristics of those people who’ve nailed it.
Here are 10 qualities that make a person truly authentic…
1) They have good self-understanding and know themselves inside and out
To show up as your authentic self, it figures that you need to know who that self is in the first place.
Authentic people are good at the whole self-knowledge and self-awareness thing.
They’ve asked themselves questions about what makes them tick.
They’ve contemplated their own values, beliefs, and morals.
That way, they find it easier to stay true to themselves.
They can use it as a guiding compass to navigate themselves through life with sincerity.
2) They have a healthy enough ego to feel self-assured
My point here is that self-esteem is key to showing up authentically.
Without it, it’s difficult to find the self-worth to feel like we are good enough just as we are.
Authenticity takes a certain amount of innocent self-confidence.
It’s also the safety net that will catch us if we show up as ourselves and others don’t like us for it.
…Although, that tends to happen far less than our ego might fear!
But just mustering up the courage to be yourself takes a balanced and healthy ego.
3) They don’t have so much of an ego that they need approval, attention or to make it all about them
There is a balance to be struck when it comes to ego.
Here’s the thing:
When you make everything about you, it’s harder to show up sincerely. Because that over-focus on the self so often distorts your perception.
You might overinflate your own importance in a situation and try too hard to impress or show off to win approval.
Or you could be so worried about what everyone is thinking of you that you hide behind a mask.
The funny thing is that the more we obsess about ourselves the easier it is to psych ourselves out.
Conversely, when we take our heads out of our own asses, we can focus more on other people.
And that actually takes the pressure off.
So in a way, having a humble (or at least realistic) attitude of your own self-importance helps you to be yourself.
Having said that, there’s no doubt that the courage to be sincere still involves putting yourself out there. Which is why vulnerability is an unavoidable component.
4) They practice showing vulnerability
Some people seem to be a bit of an open book.
They represent themselves sincerely, and express themselves honestly. For sure, those who can do so stand a far better chance at being truly authentic.
Because we must show vulnerability if we want to come across as our genuine selves.
Laying your cards on the table is bound to feel threatening at times. But without it, we’ll never be fully authentic.
In the words of Mother Teresa:
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
5) They accept their flaws and have made peace with their quirks
All of us are “weird”, so technically non of us are.
What I mean is that we all have things that make us unique, and occasionally a little strange too.
The same goes for imperfections. Non of us are perfect, we’re all a work in progress.
Beating yourself up for all of the things you wish you were or weren’t doesn’t serve you.
Rather than improve us in any way, it actually is more likely to keep us stuck.
A certain amount of self-acceptance is essential if we’re going to reveal our true selves to others. And authentic people know this.
6) They’re honest with themselves and others
Authentic people are transparent.
Being honest is actually less about always behaving perfectly as we’ve just seen — aka never ever lying or cheating.
Because the reality is that authentic people can mess up, just like all human beings do.
But there is a certain quality to authentic people that helps them come across as stand-up guys and gals.
It’s a strong sense of character that shows integrity. And that comes from a mix of honesty and accountability.
The fact that they tell you the truth, and speak their mind lets you know that they’re honest.
The fact that they keep their word reassures you that they’re reliable and trustworthy.
7) They are emotionally mature and can control their feelings
Don’t get me wrong:
I’m certainly not talking about stifling or burying your feelings. But I am talking about being able to keep a handle on them.
And simply understanding your emotions allows you to better control them.
Authentic people are better at expressing their feelings in a healthy way.
They also can empathize with others thanks to their emotional maturity.
8) They’re optimistic and see the glass as half full
When you think the world is a bad place, you’re bound to be more protective.
Cynicism has a habit of seeing the worst in everyone. And that makes it mighty challenging to let your guard down.
Assuming the best in people allows you to be sincere in your interactions.
Truly authentic people can use their optimism to take a trusting stance with the people they meet.
But it’s not just others they trust. Truly authentic people can show up as themselves because they trust themselves too.
9) They trust their instincts to avoid people pleasing
One of the biggest challenges to authenticity is that we all want to be liked.
Fitting in is important to us.
But that can tempt us to behave in ways that we think people expect or want of us.
Truly authentic people listen to their own inner voice.
That way they don’t buckle to external pressure.
10) They are independent thinkers
Being authentic at some point is most likely going to require you to go your own way.
Because being true to yourself will mean you need to disagree with others or say no to them.
The reality is you cannot be authentic yet always follow the crowd like a sheep. Not if it goes against your own principles.
That’s why authentic people value independence and self-reliance.
They use it to find the courage to go against the grain when it’s required of them.
That way they don’t end up betraying themselves for the sake of trying to keep favor.