The third definition of the word “authentic”, in the Webster’s Dictionary, is as follows: “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character – is sincere and authentic with no pretensions.”
Sounds easy enough, but is it? To be authentic in being and action is a worthy pursuit and many of us strive to achieve that. Can you work at being authentic? Does that not run contrary to the concept? When you are being authentic in being and action, you don’t consider the fact that you are being “sincere with no pretensions.” You just are.
Authenticity doesn’t just mean “being you.” It is existing in a place where you are available to the moment and present. You’re not having thoughts of the past or future that intrude on the moment, inappropriately. That chokes off your natural state.
Does a lion stop to consider how “authentic” he is being? Does it entertain the notion of being a “better” lion, tomorrow? No. They just do lion… period. If it is not, it can die, the pride can suffer. It’s life and death when it comes to them. It does not have the luxury of entertaining its “authenticity.”
We humans consider such a thing. “I want to be better, tomorrow,” “I can be better,” and so on… We give ourselves these goals to achieve that seem to be outside of us. Because of the trappings of society, we measure ourselves against certain barometers of achievement: money, family, success, etc. … All of that works against that authenticity. It puts us in a place where we are chasing, clinging — and that works against our true nature, our true selves. We manipulate ourselves to measure up to the societal demands placed upon us, that we choose to accept. We can look at this another way.
I maintain that our “authenticity,” our uniqueness, is our only true super power. No, it’s not flight or super strength, invisibility or telepathy. It’s something more important than all of those traits, because it’s real and it’s yours, exclusively.
Everything you think, feel and relate to is filtered through you and you alone. We can mimic nothing. Even if we think we are inspired by or want to emulate something or someone we admire, we can never be that person or thing. We are always ourselves, we are snowflakes of humankind, never to be duplicated. You cannot help but be unique, but does that mean you are authentic?
Authenticity takes a commitment to self that comes from self.
As an actor, I’ve played many characters. I’ve always played them through the filter of myself, as that’s the only filter I have. It is always me, no matter how well or how much I relate to the character. I am always present. What makes my work stand out or separate itself from the rest of the actors that would play the role is my authenticity. I will play the character in a way that no one else could play him. I’m relying on that… that is my superpower.
I’ve been guilty of hero-worship on my journey. I’ve loved and admired a lot of different people, for different reasons. I’ve idolized movie stars, sports stars, cultural figures and more. I believe that if you are too tied to these idols, you are in danger of losing your sense of self. You start searching for ways to be like your idol instead of continuing the search for you. It can arrest the development of your authentic self; hinder your personal growth. I believe that happened to me and it took awhile for me to let those people go, to find the me I was looking for.
Sometimes that’s scary. We don’t like who we are or are not comfortable, and cover what’s there, in one way or another. We hang on to energy around us that isn’t us because we don’t like the energy that is us. When we realize that there is only us and we have this superpower, that can turn around. When we understand that we are more powerful, more capable than we previously considered, it can turn us around.
We give away too much of our power over the lack of self-belief. We must invest in the self, because it is truly all we have. Everything comes through self, so to come into agreement with yourself is crucial. It can change everything in your life with this simple understanding.
You have it all. It’s waiting to be uncovered and used to the fullest. There is no one like you — never has been, never will be. We have to stop following others and lead ourselves to the place where our authenticity lies… Within.
Our fears and trepidation will fade away when we realize that our authenticity is why we’re here. How many sperm are working their way to the egg? Millions. Millions, and that one in a few million sperm found that egg to fertilize and out you came. If that doesn’t tell you how unique and authentic you are, nothing will.
We started this journey as one of a couple of million, and we just become more and more authentic and unique as our lives continue, whether we acknowledge that or not.
We admire great artists, great people for how unique and authentic they are. For how “outside the box” they operate. Those things we admire in others are there inside of us as well. We have to acknowledge that, accept that, and live that.