Staying true to yourself is tricky at a time when you’re always being bombarded by the new “in thing” that you should be looking at.
Of course, no one wants to think that they’re nothing less than their own true authentic self – but that’s often easier said than done.
But as someone who has tried to live their life as authentically as they can – and who lucked out on being around people who have done the same thing – there are some things I’ve noticed that truly authentic people don’t do.
Hopefully, these traits can help you develop into becoming an authentic person of your own.
1) Pull down the self-esteem of other people around them
“It is a sign of great insecurity to try to make others feel small. Confidence and humility go hand in hand. When we are secure in ourselves, we don’t need to diminish the worth of others in order to feel good about ourselves.”
Authenticity is staying true to yourself, and to do that you need to have confidence in who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re capable of.
The truly authentic people I know have this type of confidence that you can’t really recognize from anyone else – and as a result, they never feel the need to assert themselves by pulling down other people.
Because let’s face it: making yourself seem better by making the others around you seem worse is one of the oldest (and easiest) tricks in the book to boost your self-esteem.
It works, yes, but it’s a nasty way of getting things done – and people won’t like you for it.
Authentic people never pull down other people to make themselves look good — instead, they pull people up with them and let them shine too.
2) Always question themselves or their actions
“Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. Don’t let the limitations of others limit your vision. If you can remove your self-doubt and believe in yourself, you can achieve what you never thought possible.” – Roy T. Bennett
I’ll be honest:
I often have trouble justifying some of my actions to myself and there are few situations where I’m 100% sure of what I am or what I need to do next.
But the authentic people I know rarely (if at all) run into this issue.
And again, it’s because they’re sure of who they are and the decisions they make because of it.
I think a large part of this is that they’re not afraid of the consequences of their actions.
Before they act, they’re already sure of what they’re doing and what comes after their decision.
This sense of responsibility – and more importantly, their confidence in their ability to handle this responsibility – is a trait that’s hard to find in most people these days.
3) Excessively dwell on their past
“Every morning brings new potential, but if you dwell on the misfortunes of the day before, you tend to overlook tremendous opportunities.” – Harvey Mackay
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. And when we make them, it’s sometimes not very clear if they’re a mistake that we brought upon ourselves, or if it’s something out of our control.
But this uncertainty is a difficult thing to come to terms with, which causes a lot of people to dwell on their mistakes or their past.
Authentic people don’t really do this, since they understand that mistakes can, do, and will happen.
And because of this, they know that there isn’t any point in dwelling on the past, aside from using it as an opportunity to learn.
This doesn’t mean that they’re so confident in who they are that they think they’ll never make a mistake: rather, they know that it’ll happen, so what’s the use worrying about a past they can’t change?
4) Spend a lot of time and effort impressing other people
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
While there’s nothing wrong with tooting your own bugle every now and then, no one likes a braggart.
I’ve met my fair share of people who seem to spend way too much time and effort trying to one-up other people, and it’s almost always because they’re trying to compensate for something.
The authentic people I know never bother with impressing other people, simply because they know there’s no value in going out of their way to do it.
It’s far better to let who you are naturally impress people and draw them to you.
After all, there are far more important things that you should be spending time and effort on.
5) Compare themselves with others
“Whatever your passion is, keep doing it. Don’t waste time chasing after success or comparing yourself to others. Every flower blooms at a different pace.” – Suzy Kassem
Social media has made comparisons and contrasts of our lives so much easier – which isn’t always good.
Everyone has their own pace, and comparing your own progress with someone else isn’t always the healthiest thing for you.
Authentic people know that comparisons, while useful on occasion, shouldn’t be taken too seriously for most things in life.
Again, it really all comes down to social pressure: which is something that authentic people never feel the need to follow. Instead, they focus on their own progress.
Understanding that they’re different is the reason why they work so well without the need to compare themselves with others, and is a lesson that most people struggle to learn.
6) Lie for personal gain
“Lies are like cockroaches, for every one you discover there are many more that are hidden.” ― Gary Hopkins
We’ve always been told that lying isn’t good, but it’s something that we do all the time anyway.
To be fair, most lies are harmless: just a way to get out of an awkward situation or to help set up something better.
However, it becomes a problem when someone lies often, and about more important things.
I’ve noticed that really authentic people avoid lying as much as they can because they value the truth.
They know that lying can have extremely negative effects on themselves and the people around them, so they will always tell the truth over a lie, especially if it comes to the things that matter.
Authentic people know the value of being honest since the value of lies will usually be less compared to the truth. That’s why they don’t lie – even to themselves.
7) Value things over experiences
“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
One of the common traits I’ve noticed about authentic people is that they really like to travel.
When I asked why their reasoning was simple: they were after the experience.
It didn’t matter if they were staying on some secluded island or in the heart of a bustling city – it was the act of traveling and the experiences that came with it that they valued the most.
In fact, they didn’t seem to value things that much. Sure, they’ll buy themselves what they need, maybe splurge on a new phone, but material stuff doesn’t hold as much weight to them as experiences do.
Whenever I got a gift from them, it was always an experience like going to a restaurant I’d wanted to try for ages.
Memories to them are far more precious than material things.
8) Tolerate any form of toxicity
“Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In a world where everyone seems to know everyone, it can be easier than you’d think to let a few toxic people into your life without realizing it right away.
This isn’t always a good thing, since toxic people can transfer some of their traits to you.
Authentic people, with their own confidence and awareness of what gives their lives value, will never hang around any toxic people at all.
This is something that you might have noticed if you’ve been hanging around someone authentic: you never need to worry too much about what they think about you.
Being with them is easy, fun, and doesn’t leave you emotionally exhausted after – the exact opposite of the feelings that you usually get if you hang around toxic people.
9) Insecure with their emotions
“When we deny our emotion, it owns us.” – Brené Brown
Authentic people are in tune with who they are, and an important part of that is their emotional maturity.
An authentic person rarely lets their feelings get the best of them, while also understanding that feelings have a proper time and place.
As a result, they’re extremely emotionally intelligent and can handle a variety of situations with tactfulness and poise.
It’s important to distinguish that they don’t suppress their emotions: rather, they let them run through their course without it affecting their external relationships if it isn’t necessary.
Authentic people understand themselves well enough to know when emotions should take precedence over logic, and they’ll always act in the best interests of everyone involved.
10) Looking to control everything around them
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli
Routines are nice. I’m sure we’ve all developed routines that we’d like to stick to every day and expectations of how our lives should be.
But the truth is that things don’t always go according to that plan – and our reactions to when those situations happen often reveal how true we are to the ideals we have of ourselves.
Authentic people don’t mind things that are out of their control.
They know that there are some things that they simply can’t do anything about, and they don’t stress themselves out by trying to do the impossible.
They may not always like that things can’t be done the way that they want, but they won’t make it a big deal.
An authentic person never tries to force an issue. They’re much more open to discussing it or letting the issue pass.
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