The word authenticity comes from the Latin words auto, meaning self, and tenere, meaning to have or to hold. Thus, being authentic means to have a self.
In a world where so many people are trying to look, sound, or be like someone else, fully embracing yourself for everything you are and everything you are not seems pretty drastic.
It definitely stands out, I’ll tell you that.
We all have a deep human desire for acceptance and belonging. Belonging to a tribe is how we survived as a species for millennia. But people get it twisted when they abandon their authenticity for acceptance.
Brené Brown said it best: “Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
People-pleasing, fitting in, keeping up with the Joneses, and trying to be liked are most often just well-intentioned self-abandonment masquerading as helpful.
When you let your freak flag fly and allow yourself to truly be, you will soon find that all rejection is self-rejection and all acceptance is self-acceptance. You have way more control over your life than you think you do.
When you step into your authenticity, you give people around you permission to stop pretending as well. And they will love you for this. Ironically enough, they may even try to be more like you. If they’re paying attention, they’ll know this means they need to be more like themselves.
In any event, authenticity is not measured by how much other people like you. It’s measured by how much you like you.
And that, my friends, is a one-person job.