stalking browsing my Instagram feed the other day when something I read stopped me dead in my tracks.
The reason I stopped wasn’t because I was so in awe of the information, but that it slapped me directly between the eyes. The whole tableau was wrong which is why it knocked the air out of me for a few moments.
What? In looking through her feed it was clearly ‘curated’ because it was lovely. But why question someone else’s authenticity, hold yourself up as ‘better’ when you’re doing the same thing?
So, I since I’m on a journey of self-discovery this year, I began to ask the question. What is authenticity? How do I know if I’m being authentic or not? We’re all out here doing our thing. You may be all about makeup while the next person is all about curing disease, is one more authentic than the other?
If my area of expertise asks that I dress a certain way most of the time and you happen to catch me “out of character” does that make me inauthentic?
I grew up in a religion with many rules one being no jewelry. Mind you people could wear expensive watches, brooches and other adornments, but shame on you if your ears were pierced. What’s the difference? It always perplexed me, but I digress. When I was 26 I started my
downward spiral personal walk and decided, against all inner-programming to pierce my ears.
When I’d go to church (because I was not yet the
heathen person I am today) I’d wear my earrings. There were two reasons for that: 1) I didn’t feel in my heart that wearing earrings were “bad”; 2) I wasn’t trying to be something I wasn’t. There were times I thought of not wearing earrings to church because I hadn’t worn them all week, but I’d always wear them. I knew that had one of the good church folk seen me wearing earrings, and I took them off for church (out of respect) I would be labeled a “hypocrite” the ultimate in inauthenticity. That was not me, so I wore them (maybe to their offense) to church every week.
As I pondered the question I realized I needed to consult the oracles at Merriam-Webster. Although I felt I knew the definition of the word, having someone so strongly berate others made me feel I knew nothing.
Authenticity – Noun – Form of Authentic – true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions
Hold up! Did you read that? “True to one’s OWN personality, spirit or character…” What does that mean?
It means that being authentic is being true to yourself. If you’re putting yourself out there in a way that is true to who you are, your character, values, ideas so on and so forth, you are being authentic. The only person who can know if you’re being inauthentic is you.
Being authentic is not based on what I think you should be or do, but on what YOU think you should be or do. When we encounter inauthenticity we know. Something in our spirit tells us. If we’re listening, we tread lightly, if not, we get burnt.
The great James Baldwin says “I can’t believe what you say. Because I see what you do.” Being authentic is when what you say and do are aligned.
So, after I pondered the post, consulted the oracle and explored my psyche I came up with this: What we say, do or criticize always says more about us than it does the other. Although I knew where the poster was coming from, they showed their insecurity more than anyone elses’ inauthenticity.
We don’t need for others to fail in order for us to succeed. If we stay true to ourselves we’re better off. If I don’t like what someone is sharing, thankfully, I can stop following. I’m also free to stay the course on what I’m working to accomplish. Throwing shade on what you’re doing, because it’s closely aligned to my venture, doesn’t make me better. It means I’m distracted.
In the end I examined myself and found being true to me is my authenticity. Speaking, living & sharing my truth is being authentic.
Go, speak, live and share your truth, no one can tell you you’re not authentic if you’re being true to yourself.