“Be yourself everyone else is taken”
— Oscar Wilde
In theory, authenticity sounds so simple. We just show up just as we are, no more, no less.
But in practice showing the world our true selves can feel super scary.
Staying true to yourself in the face of outside pressure takes real grit, inner strength, and determination.
That’s why there are certain things truly authentic people never compromise on.
This article will explore what they are.
So let’s dive in.
1) They stay true to their own values
At the very heart of authenticity is self-knowledge.
Authentic people have a really good grasp of what makes them tick.
They’ve spent time considering what matters most to them.
They know their deepest beliefs and values, and they govern their life around those.
That’s not to say that those beliefs and values never change.
As we grow and learn, it’s normal for internal shifts to take place, giving way to new realizations.
But the process always works from the inside out.
Truly authentic people know what is personally important to them, and they won’t compromise on that.
2) They won’t abandon their morals
Whilst values are our own personal list of what’s important in life, morals take a wider scope.
They’re about doing not just what is important to us, but doing what we feel is fair and just.
Our morals are the standards of behavior that we set. In essence, they’re about what we believe is right and wrong.
And doing what they believe is right is vitally important to an authentic person.
They won’t back down just for an easy life.
3) They don’t stifle their emotions
Normal human beings will feel a wide range of emotions.
Some may be extreme. Others don’t always feel particularly comfortable. But experiencing this mixed bag of feelings is a part of being alive.
In order to remain authentic we need to be prepared to accept the full spectrum.
Authentic people don’t try to cut off the so-called “bad” emotions.
They know it’s important to allow sadness, anger, disappointment, fear, and frustration a healthy outlet.
Positivity becomes toxic when it doesn’t make room for all of our emotions — both the good and the bad.
At the end of the day, being authentic demands that we accept our imperfections, as we’ll see next.
4) They don’t try to gloss over their faults and flaws
For an authentic person, fiercely loving yourself cannot involve delusion.
Otherwise, it’s just another pretense.
That means it’s not an option simply to ignore all of their flaws.
Their quest for sincerity involves getting to know all parts of themselves. That includes both the darkness and the light.
Most of us don’t like to admit to our failings. It takes a lot of strength to accept that we’re not perfect.
But only when we look at those parts of ourselves are we able to grow.
Authentic people aren’t saints — far from it.
But they know that part of their authenticity means showing others the whole picture, and not just the highlights reel.
5) They allow their voice to be heard, even when it’s not popular
Authentic people can’t simply keep their mouths shut in order to always keep the peace.
Of course, we don’t always need to share our opinions and thoughts with others. Often it’s appropriate to keep certain things to ourselves.
But authentic people aren’t afraid to state their case or let their thoughts be known either.
Sometimes that can mean treading on toes. It may mean having to stand their ground. What they have to say isn’t always going to be a popular opinion.
But at the end of the day, authenticity relies on truth.
6) They believe the truth is important
Here’s the thing:
There isn’t one singular truth in life. The reality is that even the truth is a lot more malleable than we like to imagine.
Yes, there are certain irrefutable facts, but there can still be many contrasting truths that spring from that.
Whilst authentic people recognize we’ll all see things differently, they won’t compromise their own truth.
They believe in being honest. They try to avoid lies. They aim to reflect their truth as sincerely as possible.
Being anything other than who they are, feels like a lie. Which is why they can’t bear to pretend.
7) They won’t pretend to be something they’re not
To a certain extent, I think all of us wear masks sometimes.
Even authentic people still tend to abide by certain societal expectations of behavior.
After all, that’s how we all manage to live together in polite society.
But what you won’t ever find an authentic person doing is putting on an act.
They’re not going to show off, attention seek, or pretend to be someone they aren’t.
Mainly whenever we’re faking it, it’s because we want so desperately for others to like us or to be impressed.
But authentic people try to avoid these sorts of people-pleasing tendencies.
8) They don’t let fear of other people’s judgment hold them back
Most of us care what others think of us, at least a little bit.
It may even be hardwired into us.
Scientists have found that social exclusion and rejection are felt in the same way in the brain as physical pain.
It’s believed this is an evolutionary hangup. Once upon a time, being ostracized from the group really could have been a matter of life or death.
These days we all want a sense of belonging. But that can tempt us to try to fit in, even to the detriment of our own self-expression.
Being authentic doesn’t mean you never care how you are perceived. It simply means that you won’t allow it to stand in the way of being your true self.
9) They trust themselves to make their own decisions
Partly the reason authentic people can risk being themselves around others is that they trust themselves.
Authentic people are guided by their own inner voice.
Whilst they’re fully prepared to listen to the opinions, thoughts, and ideas of others, ultimately, they know it’s down to them to decide.
Only they can choose the path that is best for them.
And they trust that they are the best person to decide what that looks like.
10) They know what’s important to them and don’t go chasing fools’ gold
Authentic people aren’t interested in selling their souls for money.
They know that some things matter way more.
Of course, that’s not to say that money isn’t compatible with authenticity. You can be rich and still be authentic.
It’s more to say that there are sacrifices they simply aren’t prepared to make.
Success cannot come at “any cost” to an authentic person.
They know that other things are more important.
Things like self-respect, integrity, and their relationships with others (as well as the relationship they have with themself).
They know what is truly important to them in life. So they are less likely to get caught up in the trappings of materialism.
They see through it all.
They know that having “stuff” can never create a meaningful life. To them, health, love, and well-being are what really make their world go around.
11) They won’t be controlled
Manipulation doesn’t work well on an authentic person.
They can see straight through it.
They refuse to be bullied, cajoled, or coaxed into doing things.
Whether it’s gaslighting, guilt-tripping, or even flattery, authentic people refuse to let themselves be molded on the whim of others.
They pride themselves on their free thinking, which is one of the reasons they won’t ever act like sheep…
12) They aren’t prepared to blindly follow the crowd
There’s nothing stubborn about authenticity, yet it is undeniably willful.
Willful in its refusal to compromise when it counts. And because of that, authentic people can’t bring themselves to follow the leader and simply do as they are told.
It’s not a problem with authority. Authentic people are happy to work together and take direction when they’re on the same page.
But what they won’t do is go along with something that goes against what they stand for.
They would never betray themselves in that way.
13) They refuse to abandon themselves
Finding the vulnerability to show up as your authentic self requires a whole lot of self-love.
And that doesn’t come easy. It takes some deep work to cultivate self-understanding and self-respect.
That relationship with the self is central to how authentic people live. And they’re not going to abandon it.
Treating themselves with dignity, respect, kindness, and compassion has to come first.
That means they won’t prioritize other people and their problems at the expense of their own.
They can’t allow themselves to get sucked into toxic relationships. They cannot abide staying in a soul-sucking job.
They refuse to abandon their own needs and wants.
Authentic people may occasionally be seen as selfish for refusing to go along with things.
But that’s only because they know that people pleasing can be a dangerous habit to fall into.