The Things We Think We Know

If we are to be authentic, we must be genuine and sincere.  What does this really mean?  If we are to look these terms up, they often refer to one another in their definition.  So let's choose one, sincere, and delve a little deeper into the etymology:

"pure, unmixed," from Middle French sincere (16c.), from Latin sincerus, of things, "whole, clean, pure, uninjured, unmixed," figuratively "sound, genuine, pure, true, candid, truthful," of uncertain origin. The ground sense seems to be "that which is not falsified." Meaning "free from pretense or falsehood" in English is from 1530s.  Furthermore, it is thought that the Latin origins started with the meaning "without wax" (*sin cerae) in regard to sculpture flaws and blemishes that were commonly coverd-up with wax.

I have always been very sensitive and aware of my being highly authentic as well as when others were or were not conducting themselves in an authentic manner - intentionally or not. When my daughter, whom I admire greatly, recently declared that she does not like technology, I questioned her on her basis for such a bold declaration, particularly since it is so inconsistent with how she lives her life daily (SnapChat, texting, FaceTime, YouTube, Google Docs, laptops, iPads, iPhones and so on).

This made me think further, was this merely an accidental misstatement of the fact that she is not wholly enamored with technology to the degree that I am, or was it perhaps a sentiment picked-up along the way and adopted because it sounded good. She was not sure, which brings me to the point I want to make.

To be truly authentic, we must know ourselves, and to do that, we must question whether our own thinking is coherent, cohesive, and truly our own - self-awareness.

How many people do you know where you perceive that they are not being authentic?  Do you find that their philosophies, beliefs, and behaviors are inconsistent with one another and changing from day to day or under varying circumstances?  Is this intentional, or are they not aware that they have given themselves away and instead, they have become nothing more than the malleable parrots of other's slogans and sentiments, not by choice so much as a byproduct of being fearful to be themselves?

To be keenly self-aware, you must start with observing yourself. As you meet new people, engage in work meetings, and spend time with different social groups, try to observe how you feel in each situation. Leaning to be more observant and self-aware will allow you to recognize when you are feeling uncomfortable, understand why you are feeling uncomfortable, and signal to yourself to intentionally draw upon your authentic self, which in itself, may take some discovery.

Authentic people are impeccable when they speak to themselves, about themselves and others.  They have a healthy approach to life by knowing there will always be naysayers, and their opinions don’t matter.

Authentic people create their own rules based on the standards that resonate with them. They have the courage to live their lives based on what they believe is right. Not to turn this into an exercise in etymology, but courage is a key concept in being authentic. Courage comes from the French word, coeur (heart), and it means to follow one's heart.

Authentic people don’t allow their fears to prevent them being themselves. If you are focused on being true to yourself in every moment, you are less concerned about the potential for rejection from others.  Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".

To be truly authentic, we must know ourselves, and to do that, we must question whether our own thinking is coherent, cohesive, and truly our own.  We cannot be fearful of rejection, for nobody can actually reject us without our permission, even if they do not agree with our perspective.  To truly be authentic earns respect and admiration because, in reality, we all know that it takes courage and strength to be consistently true to yourself.

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