I hear the word “authentic” a lot. It’s one of those words that have an assumed meaning, like one we can almost pull out of our heads to describe. I wanted to focus on this word specifically and apply it to my own life. I wanted to know if I was being authentic. Being genuine and congruent also work here as well.
Let’s start with the dictionary definition.
- The English Dictionary: the quality of being real or true
- Webster: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions
That’s pretty much what I thought. Authenticity to me means being true to yourself, in every given moment. But what does that look like . . . exactly . . . as translated into our life?
Again, we can hear the words, but what does it look like as applied to who we are in our lives. I’m going to try to ground it in our day-to-day life.
I know I have a tendency towards suffering and have made a habit of it. I’ve also struggled with it, judged it, tried to change it, and resisted it. Suffering lives inside me and if I try to change it or manipulate it in any way – it doesn’t matter – it’s still there. I’ve had to learn it’s not about changing anything (the more things change the more they stay the same) and it’s not about resisting it either (what you resist persists).
Suffering comes from a place of lack and judgment, believing: “I am not enough.” Authenticity comes from a place of being complete, knowing: “Who I AM is enough!”
It’s about uncovering and acknowledging our inauthenticity and allowing space for it to live inside us. In acknowledging that I tend to suffer, I’m being authentic with myself. I’m not trying to hide it or cover it up with something that isn’t real. I’m giving it space to just be, and in that space of acceptance, freedom can happen. I then have a choice. I’m no longer at the effect of my suffering. I am being true.
At one point in my life, I was a staff member producing a course called the 6-Day Advanced Course. (It no longer exists but has evolved into courses produced by Landmark Worldwide). It was one of the most thrilling and exciting times of my life. I couldn’t at any time entertain being inauthentic. Here’s why:
- I had to stay present to do my job: I was a ropes/events course manager. Not being present and doing my job could have resulted in injuries and possibly death. The thought of someone else’s life at stake was bigger than my own suffering.
- I made a promise and was being held accountable. I promised to do my job and live as my word – doing as I said I would do. My promise overrode my suffering because I gave my word and stayed true.
- I had support. Everyone on staff, including the course leaders, supported every one of us in being our word, staying in integrity, maintaining health and vitality, remaining in our power.
- I knew that what I was doing was making a difference. I had been a participant in the course and knew the profound changes it had made in my life. I wanted to give that opportunity to others.
- My actions affected the whole. If the participants in the course were stuck, each staff member had to look and see where we may have fallen out of integrity. Once that was cleaned up, the course started moving again. I had to take full responsibility that I had the power to change an outcome by affecting the whole.
- It was bigger than my own fears. I remember my Ropes Course Manager training and hearing my fear blasting in my head (What the heck are you doing?).
I was playing a game worth playing. It was bigger than my smallness and called me into being authentically me. Hiding or stuffing anything would have been a disaster. I had to be true to myself.
So, now, in day-to-day life, finding all the ingredients I listed above that were available to me as a staff member, have proven difficult. Actually, I haven’t been able to find them readily out in the world. It’s a rare thing to find a structure that is “calling us to be” unless you find yourself in an extreme situation – such as war or a major disaster. Somehow the structure needs to be created by us and supported by others.
People become authentic in disasters. Years ago, I tracked a hurricane for over a week before it hit Florida because I had family and friends who lived there. I heard many people saying – “We have great neighbors, and we all support each other”, or “I can always go over to my neighbor’s house if I need to.”
People helping, supporting each other, finding themselves being heroes and doing things they would never think about doing. The result is spontaneity, contribution and full self-expression – authenticity. Love is at the heart of every human. It’s what defines us. It’s our true nature.
Let’s challenge ourselves to live a life of authenticity. We can all start by being truthful with ourselves and create a life worth living. Be as authentic as you can in each moment, and notice when you’re not.
You can begin by asking yourself: What don’t I want others to know about me? By holding the truth of ourselves back we live inauthentically, causing suffering and exhaustion. Time for a truthful existence with nothing to hide!
Here is Werner Erhard speaking about authenticity!
Link for Landmark Worldwide
For more posts on Werner Erhard and/or transformational technology –
- Transformation of Fear: Moving From Fear into Action and Engagement: An Account of Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking
- Werner speaks on compassion: Finding Your Humanity in Times of Stressful and Uncertain World Politics
- Werner speaks on being authentic: Authenticity: Being True to Yourself is the Greatest Gift
- On transformation and presentation: A Long-Awaited Change is Coming: Don’t be Surprised if Your Life Starts Shifting in a Powerful Way!
- 5. Accountability and personal experience as a 6 Day Advanced Course staff member: How Paying Attention to Your Words can Increase Your Life Force and Vitality
- Moving forward from the future: Creating a Future of Possibility
- The shape of organizations: Let’s Cut Their Tea and Coffee – That’ll Surely Help the Bottom Line!
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