In a world surrounded with so much pressure to conform, authentic people are quite hard to find.
But even if it looks like it’s impossible to be true to one’s self, authentic people are able to find ways.
To better identify if a person is authentic, here are the extraordinary traits that separate authentic people from the crowd.
1) They have a fine-tuned bullshit detector
And this applies to themselves, first and foremost.
They have a voice in their head that tells them when they are lying to themselves. And that same voice often tells them when someone is lying or being fake.
They feel it in their gut (and sometimes, it makes them want to throw up) when people are layering on lie after lie after lie, just to fit into the situation or gain someone’s favor.
At the same time, when a deep truth is expressed, they feel and know it without a doubt.
No matter how sugar-coated, and charming lies are, authentic people detect realness every single time.
2) They are delightfully funny
‘Humor is what happens when we’re told the truth quicker and more directly than we’re used to.’
– George Saunders
You’ll know them for their unique truth-telling style of humor.
Where other people wil fake or play nice, the authentic person in the room will say what is obviously on everyone’s minds, and that gets people cracking up.
Their candid humor is a breath of fresh air especially in situations where others are avoiding bringing attention to something that is needed and necessary.
They are delightfully funny too because the way they bring honesty about is without meanness or intention to put down anyone.
3) They’re highly curious
Authentic people have a higher than average curiosity than the rest.
You will notice they ask “why” quite often, and not from a space of challenging other people, but rather, to better understand the reason behind everything.
Their curiosity comes from a genuine interest in getting to the depth of other people and the world around them.
This allows them to see and understand a wide range of perspectives, cultures, or value systems.
Where other people’s worldview’s can be limited, authentic people are expansive.
Because of this wide selection of knowledge, authentic people have selected who, what and how exactly they choose to be.
4) They’re keenly observant
Few things escape the notice of an authentic person, because they are tuned in to observing before reacting.
Whether they are naturally gifted with observation skills, or it was a practice they consciously honed, authentic people can read the room at a glance.
But while other people observe to adjust their behavior in order to blend and fit in, the authentic person scans spaces seeking genuine affinity and connection.
Their keen observation skills is what allows them to choose precisely who they want to be with and who they want to become more of as they grow older.
5) They honor what makes them unique
Even when it can make them stick out like a sore thumb or cost them opportunities, authentic people know from experience that not being true to one’s self is never worth it.
Do all their friends carry signature bags? They confidently carry a handmade one.
The guy they like loves artsy films? They profess their love for zombie movies.
Everyone in their circle is pro-nuclear power? They listen, and then state the specifics of why they can’t agree with it.
Even when it makes them look weird, stupid, or in the wrong, they stay true to what they love and believe in.
Whether the topic is their clothes, principles or practices, their ideals and their actions always align.
6) They see the real you
…and not just the version you are projecting.
Authentic people have developed that amazing skill of seeing the real person inside of others.
When there are aspects of yourself you want to hide, the authentic person sees through, even past your fear and shame. And unless you are hurting others, your secret is safe.
This is because authentic people have a deep understanding that being true to one’s self is a journey and not always the easiest path.
So instead of looking down on others’ limited capacity to be real, they honor where others are in their process…hopefully towards growing towards a more authentic self.
No matter how you bend and pretend, they see precisely where you are and who you are.
7) They practice being non-judgmental
Because of their wide-seeing perspective, they are open and aware that what we see in other people is often only the very tip of the iceberg.
Upbringing, culture, past experiences, trauma, not to mention lack of privilege—there are tons of factors that can make a person feel afraid to express who they truly are.
So when people aren’t being real, authentic people know it isn’t always because the other person is inherently evil.
Practicing being non-judgmental allows them to stay open. You can tell them anything and know that, although they might blurt out some truths, you won’t be judged.
8) They are comfortable with conflict
Authentic people have the capacity to remain steady through friction. Even when people express different opinions, they keep their cool.
Being authentic means they weigh and sift through information, experiences, and relationships without fear that others having a different stance isn’t always a deal-breaker.
They listen to understand where people are coming from, how they came to believe what they do, and why they act in certain ways.
9) They honor and express their emotions appropriately
Expressing emotions doesn’t come easily to a lot of people, and so when it does come out, it can come out ragged, sharp, or even downright offensive.
We often assume that authentic people are blunt, tactless, and direct. But these traits are not exclusive to authentic people. There are many authentic people who are very careful with their words, and there are many inauthentic people who are careless.
Authentic people practice honoring and processing their own emotions first BEFORE seeking to be affirmed or recognized by other people.
And because they do not skip this internal process, when they do express their emotions, it comes from a space that reflects the deepest truth of who they really are.
When their emotions are raw from being triggered, they take deep breaths and recenter.
They also wait for the right opportunity to express their emotions, not because they are repressing or faking, but because they hold consideration for other people’s capacity to listen, support, or provide solutions.
They know their authentic self isn’t the triggered version. So rather than being reactive, they are patient with themselves.
10) They are experts at boundary-setting
Let’s face it— it’s impossible to be authentic and a people-pleaser at the same time.
Authentic people have done the work to move away from people-pleasing so even when people put them on the spot, they are able to firmly and kindly state specifically where they stand.
They gauge their capacity swiftly to decide what accommodations they are able to make, ONLY IF they want to.
They also don’t feel burdened to over explain why they can’t do what is asked or expected.
For authentic people, being liked is the least priority in comparison to the practice of being kind and true to themselves and others.
11) They carve out a life that fits their values
Authentic people consciously find ways to live according to what they believe in.
They know that for their life to align with their ideals, they have to seek or even create spaces where they and their loved ones can thrive.
Where other people exhaust themselves to squeeze into society’s molds, authentic people pour their energy into building community with those they have genuine affinity with.
Together, they build spaces where authenticity over conformity is the main drive.
12) They consciously cultivate a deep self-love
Authentic people fill up their own well, practice self-love, and don’t abandon themselves, their beliefs, and passions, just because other people don’t agree or support it.
They work on their hurts and issues with gentleness and acceptance of their own imperfections.
They are conscious of their self-talk, avoid calling themselves ‘stupid’ or other derogatory words, and self-correct when they hear the voices of other people in their head.
Many authentic people grew up feeling alienated because of their incapacity to conform but as they got older, they learned to thoroughly enjoy their own company and be comfortable in their skin.
They rest and replenish, know how to receive, and give from fullness.
Faking and changing personalities to fit people and places is a stressful life, causing people to lose sight of who they really are.
Authentic people have likely tried that in their past and made efforts to break away from it towards a life where their inside matches their outside.
They use their precious energy striving towards a life where their personality, actions and beliefs align seamlessly.
And while it is not always easy, nothing beats living in integrity.
Practice the traits in this list and one day you’ll realize you’ve become an authentic person.
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