Authentic. It’s one of those ‘in’ words that is fast becoming a cliche
Authentic means: genuine, honest and real.
It does not mean nice or likeable
Someone can, therefore, be authentic and at the same time be a bit weird – an authentic weirdo if you like!
We all know a weirdo – if you don’t know who it is – it’s probably you!
The character of Sheldon (played by Jim Parsons) from the TV comedy, The Big Bang Theory, exemplifies someone who fits into this latter category. He’s authentically himself and always says exactly what he thinks – much to the discomfort of his friends.
‘Nice’ or ‘likeable’ would not be terms that initially spring to mind to describe his personality
Nevertheless, his character grows on those around him (and the audience), and they love him despite his arrogance and lack of people skills. At least they always know where they stand with him and what to expect.
Being authentic means expressing who you genuinely are to the outside world – foibles and all.
Being authentic demands a certain amount of self-reflectiveness and self-knowledge
It might involve having the courage to stand up for what you believe, even when others have opposing viewpoints. It’s about being true to yourself, given that your ‘self’ is also constantly changing and evolving. Just by living in this amazing planet of ours, you’re continually influenced by others and the world around you.
Communication is one aspect of authenticity
How do you recognise when someone is communicating authentically? Watch and listen!
Authentic communication is like a 3-legged stool. Without all three legs, it will fall over. The three ‘legs’ of authentic communication are words, non-verbal language and tone of voice. If one of the ‘legs’ of communication is missing — or faulty, your message will also fall over. However, when they are all strong, you’ll communicate authentically.
When non-verbal language and tone match but the words don’t, a person will sound inauthentic. For example, if you say, “I don’t mean to be offensive, but…” Your body language and tone might send a message that you don’t mean to be offensive. Whatever you say after the word ‘but’ will be perceived as offensive.
When your non-verbal language and your words match, but your tone doesn’t, you’ll come across as uncertain or sarcastic. For instance saying, “Yes, that sounds like a great idea” while nodding, but in a tone that sounds flat and disinterested.
When tone and words match but the non-verbal language doesn’t, you may appear insincere or untrustworthy. Using the previous words as an example, saying, “That sounds like a great idea!” in an upbeat tone while simultaneously shaking your head.
Say what you mean – mean what you say.
You can be authentic by ensuring that you say what you mean – and then mean what you say. You can become more authentic by reflecting on your experiences, learning from your mistakes and stepping into the quirky, unorthodox, zany or odd-ness that is uniquely you. As Scott Adams says,
“Everybody is somebody else’s weirdo.”
So, stop worrying about what others think of you, embrace your inner weirdo and be utterly and unreservedly yourself. There’s only one of you on the planet, and the world deserves to experience the real you.