Authenticity begins by going inward to evaluate our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and choices. Through self-exploration, we can remove or reframe limiting ideas, insecurities, fears, or projections that act as a barrier to an authentic connection with ourselves and others.
Authenticity requires continual self-awareness and self-reflection. We must identify our true values and deepest priorities and examine whether we are living aligned to our truth, passion, purpose, and highest beliefs.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.Oscar Wilde
Be You; there is no other version.
What Is Authenticity?
Authenticity is the art of staying true to ourselves and others.
Profound transformation can take place during a fearless, vulnerable, authentic encounter with another human being.
Inscrutably involved, we live in the currents of universal reciprocity.Martin Buber
Humans have an innate need for genuine connection. Studies have shown that an absence of love and connection can impair child development, and lead to both physical and mental health issues in adults (e.g., depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, etc.).
The opposite of addiction is connection.Johann Hari
There is no addiction (drugs, alcohol, social media, video games, gambling, pornography, power, money, fame, etc.) that can ever substitute love.
“In the absence of love, there is always addiction.” (Unknown)
What Are The Barriers To Authentic Connection?
We live in a culture of shame and perfectionism where we learn to wear a mask to gain social acceptance or even for basic survival. While growing up, many of us became emotionally disconnected from ourselves and others when we learned it was unsafe to express our true feelings; we built walls and barriers because we sensed that self-expression would lead to pain, rejection, or punishment.
Authentic connection requires us to create a safe space for one another; a space without shame and judgement.
Shame has also been connected through extensive research to increased aggression. Individuals who feel shamed exhibit increased blaming of others, angry emotional displays, and lashing out . . . Research shows that shame is not an effective tool to bring about positive behavioural change.Center for Compassionate Leadership, “Blaming and Shaming”, http://www.centerforcompassionateleadership.org, April 15, 2021, Accessed: December 21, 2021
In a safe, non-judgmental space, our mistakes can be seen as an opportunity for growth which inspires us to channel our energy into personal development rather than self-defense—it allows us to take responsibility for a mistake without the fear of rejection, blame, or shame—and to focus on the lesson learned. This is the most effective way to help prevent a mistake from being repeated in the future.
Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are.Oprah
Our mistakes help teach us who we want to be.
The greatest gift we can give to the world is authenticity; to learn to master the art of self-expression, without motive, without an attachment to the outcome, while simultaneously respecting the healthy boundaries of others and providing a safe space for all to express themselves creatively and authentically.
We Are All A Work of Art
How we view someone will inevitably direct the quality of our experience with them. Seeing others as a “blank canvas” will help us to remain open to a positive experience and a new reality.
If we want our world (inner or outer) to transform, we have to shift how we think, speak and act, from an automated set of responses to a way that we would like to experience.Rachel Webb, “Your Partner Is Your Alchemy”, https://wisdom.thealchemistskitchen.com/your-partner-is-your-alchemy/ http://www.thealchemistskitchen.com, Accessed: December 21, 2021
Through our understanding of our interconnection, equality, uniqueness as individuals, and inherent worthiness as human beings, we can begin to see others as a potential Source of unconditional love, creativity, and wisdom. As The African Philosophy of Ubuntu said beautifully: “I am because we are.”
When two people are fully present, non-judgemental, curious, and empathetic during an encounter—alchemy begins . . .
Living authentically requires us to be secure with ourselves and let go of perfectionism, people-pleasing, the need to follow the latest trends, and/or to live out the ideas and expectations of others. Through the daily practice of honest self-exploration, self-assessment, self-compassion, self-forgiveness, self-love, and shadow work, we can become whole and integrated.
The walls will come down.
Breaking Through The Cocoon of Ego
By surrendering ego, we can transcend the need for validation, approval, and the fear of rejection in order to practice vulnerability.
In our individual encounters we can observe without judgement, and maintain healthy boundaries, with the understanding that we are all at different stages in our awakening.
Past abuse or trauma may interfere with our ability to connect or to live out our full potential. If we do the work needed to heal, whether it is seeking professional help, using self-help resources, and/or daily spiritual practices, we can transcend the pain caused by others, prevent it from defining us, and become who we are meant to be.
Our brains are always changing throughout our lifetime (because of neuroplasticity). This remarkable discovery means that we can learn to attach more securely and so learn to love, to trust, to allow others into our lives.Dan Roberts, “Why Humans Need Connection”, http://www.thriveglobal.com, original post: http://www.danroberts.com, Accessed: December 21, 2021
When our barriers to love are healed, we will naturally take a healthy interest in others. We are social creatures.
As we become more authentic, we are more likely to attract the right relationships into our lives. We will develop greater intuition and clarity, helping us to detect insincerity or negative intentions.
We attract what we are. And we are often attracted to others who represent an unawakened aspect of ourselves.
Through the art of relating, our potential for growth is unlimited.
Authentic connection is instrumental to both our individual and collective social evolution.