Most people would like to live a life that is true to who they are; in other words, we’d like to be as authentic as possible.
Unfortunately, a handful of factors stand in the way: for example, a lack of self-confidence or pressure to conform. As a result, we feel we are inauthentic people, too weak to live honestly. But this is simply untrue!
Authenticity isn’t a quality that you either have or don’t. Rather, it’s a choice, one that reflects how we want to live. It’s the daily decision to be honest, embrace our vulnerability and to not care what others think.
And because it’s a choice, we thus have the option to be authentic on some days and less authentic on those other days when we’re too tired.
If you do, however, choose to act with more authenticity, then you’ll need to practice courage and compassion.
You’ll need the courage to speak your mind and allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of others. To look at this in practice, think about the next time you really want something to happen, like winning a contest or nailing an interview. Try not to play down your hopes in these situations. Acting like failure is no big deal won’t make the pain of failure any easier. In contrast, being honest about your hopes makes it possible for you to find support when you need it.
Furthermore, exercising compassion allows you to recognize that you aren’t alone, and that, in fact, everyone around you struggles with the exact same issues as you.
Compassion, in contrast with sympathy, is a relationship between equals: in order to relate to the struggles of others, you have to acknowledge your own, as well. By understanding that everyone around you has likely gone through what you’re going through now, you’ll have an easier time opening up to them and finding support.