If you’re an avid or even sometime reader of many of the personal growth and development resources available, you’ve probably come across the word “authenticity”, but what does that really mean? What does it mean to “be authentic”?

According to http://www.merriam-webster.com/, authenticity means being real or genuine, not copied or false; being true and accurate.

In other words, authenticity means not blindly following the crowd. It means not changing who you are just to fit in. It means really thinking for yourself about who you are, what’s important to you and what you value. It’s having a solid set of values for yourself that guide you and your decisions.

It’s paying attention to that inner voice that tells you when something is right and when something is wrong.

It’s living with integrity and being able to look yourself in the mirror, knowing that you’re doing the best you can, that nobody’s perfect, and that we’re all works in progress.

It’s respecting the right of other people to be true to themselves as well. It’s respecting other people and their values.

It’s being willing to walk the untravelled path to follow your dreams. It’s being willing to take a stand for yourself and what you believe in, even if others disagree and may even try to drown you out.

It’s recognizing that you are here for a reason and then making the effort both to figure out, to the best of your ability, what that might be and then doing something about it.

It’s appreciating your strengths and using them to advance both yourself and the people around you, both in your immediate circles and beyond, either directly or indirectly.

It’s admitting to yourself and accepting that you’re not perfect and while also realizing that this shouldn’t keep you from doing what you can.

It’s being open to uncovering those layers that may be holding you back. It’s accepting every part of you, even the ones that you would like to improve, so that you start from a solid foundation of self-respect and love.

It’s believing in yourself and helping others do the same, in whatever area and way you are able.

It’s about being willing to take a chance and make mistakes. It’s about stumbling along the way and then getting up and trying again – and again.

It’s about taking personal responsibility for your life and the choices you make. It’s admitting when you did something wrong and learning from the situation.

It’s keeping a long-term, big picture perspective and not just focusing on right now, even as you strive to fully enjoy and live in the present moment.

Authenticity isn’t about doing whatever feels good or gives short-term pleasure. It’s not just doing something because “everyone else is doing it,” you are physically able to do so or it’s legal. It’s not just doing whatever you want and then justifying it with the claim that you are just doing what is right for you or you are just being true to yourself. It’s not about being irresponsible or breaking commitments when you just don’t feel like it.

It’s about paying attention to the way you speak, the way you act, the way you portray yourself in your choice of language, dress and behaviour.

Who are you choosing to be?

Who are you at your most authentic self?

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth Spevack is the founder of Heart and Soul Living. Elizabeth specializes in empowering women by helping them believe in themselves and be true to who they are. Her passion is helping women who long to be more realize they are more than enough even when they are not perfect and to help them dream big and take steps towards their unlikeliest of goals. Through questioning, listening and encouraging, she helps women realize that they are not alone on their personal journey.

Having lived with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for years, Elizabeth loves to connect deeply with others and help them break down the walls that have been holding them back.

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