Week 9: Authenticity

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The paper cup before me reads: leave the herd behind. Unfortunately, the coffee inside is flavourless. Not burnt, like the stuff you get at some chains. Or stale, like the stuff you get at an all night greasy spoon. Just bland.

This Cup of Joe hadn't just left the herd; it had abandoned the essence of coffee, entirely. Perhaps a bad batch of beans. I dunno. I'll try them again.

I came looking for something authentic. Extra Butter in Toronto makes a silky smooth, buttery blend. The Denver Bicycle Cafe brews a fruity, chocolaty local roast. Hancock and Lane Coffee serve coffee from a canal boat with London's smallest stage - all of them brew authenticity.

Most things lack authenticity nowadays. I started reading a new book this week. The author opened by highlighting the importance of originality. Then he began regurgitating the same material from numerous other books.

Being authentic is the tough. And there is a lot written about what makes a person authentic. Here's what I think is important and where I'm putting my effort. 

  1. Expressing true thoughts, feelings and views. Unapologetically. Without saying things I don't mean or doing things I don't want to do. And without fear of other's opinions.

  2. Understanding that we are unique and that's okay. Knowing that not everyone is going to agree all the time. To be accepting of other views and opinions. And instead of labeling them 'right' or 'wrong', seeking to understand them.

  3. Live in the moment, be a great listener. How often do you truly embrace the moment? Ignoring your social media feed. Concentrating on exactly what is happening in your life at that moment in time. Presence and concern for right now are achieved when we eliminate distractions. Like social media!

  4. Not trying to please other people. Authentic people strive to show compassion and understanding to everyone, but they don’t try to please everyone. You know you cannot please everyone and you shouldn’t even try. Just be confident about who you are and what you do. This way you attract the right people who value you for who you are.

  5. Self-reflective. To be authentic you have to know who and what you are, which comes through self-reflection. How can you know who you are if you are following everyone else? Self-reflection puts you in a state of personal harmony, causing you to experience less anxiety. You aren’t worried about another person’s position because you’re confident enough to focus on your own. You have nothing to hide which allows you a freedom to be yourself followers do not experience.

  6. Experiences over material things. Experiences make your life richer. Authentic people recognize that their is emptiness in material things. I'm not suggesting you remove material things. Just that you don't let them dominate your life.

  7. They love themselves. Authentic people see themselves as a person who deserves love and kindness. They see value in giving love to others. We are all connected and when we help others, we help ourselves.

Go forward and live an authentic life! Watch as your thoughts, words and actions change and influence the world around you in a bolder, more positive way.