A pretender, imposter, and a faker are defined as a person who pretends to be someone else to deceive others for personal gain, entertainment, or fraud.
We all are familiar with these terms. We watch the great pretenders on television, read about them in stories, and at times these are our closest friends, family members, and often times the great pretender is ourselves.
But why is that true of us? Why is it hard to be authentic? More importantly, why is it hard for you to be authentic? This is an all too important question, and at times, it is a question we often ignore and need to answer honestly.
Being our authentic self means what you say in life aligns with your actions. Your authentic self goes beyond what you do for a living, what possessions you own, or who you are to someone. It is who you are at your deepest core. It is about being true to yourself through your thoughts, words, and actions, and having these three areas match each other. When we aren't in touch with our authentic self, as people, we start to breakdown and lose sight of the gift of who we indeed are and are to become. Can you relate to this in your own life?
Here's a different perspective, when we see and hear about someone being dishonest, phony, faking, or just withholding the truth, many of us tend to get upset. Trust is broken,
doubt enters the mind, and quite frankly, this is quite hypocritical when it comes to authenticity. How? How can we expect authenticity when we are not doing, saying, living, or becoming totally authentic ourselves? People Pleasing is one of the largest traps to not being our best self. As people, we tend to live our lives based on obligations, roles, expectations, and living up to society's expectations of what I should be or do in life is often a very slippery slope. When we live like this, we prevent ourselves from living based on what we do have versus what we don't have and cannot attain. This doesn't make us "bad" or "wrong," it merely makes us human, but this isn't an excuse to continue this behavior. If we recognize it, we must work to push those things out.
What if people don't like me? When we lead with our authentic selves, there are some risks involved. If you are authentic to who you are and who you say you are, you are truly vulnerable. We can't control how people will respond to our authenticity and honesty. This shouldn't stop us from being our authentic selves. When we are authentic, we stay true to ourselves and who we genuinely are and are created to be. We remain present, happy, and follow our passions regardless of who we disappoint or how others view us. Living a life of authenticity is a constant effort; when we live with unauthentic actions and behaviors, we deny ourselves accepting who we truly are. We build walls, we wear masks, we create an alternative persona and universe. Being authentic provides others the opportunity to love us, accept us, and grow with us for who we are at our core. When we are authentic, we are vulnerable; we show all parts of us, the good with the bad. Allowing for more intimate and honest relationships, behaviors, work ethic, and allows for true acceptance.
There can be moments when we are genuinely expressing our authentic selves, and then
there are moments that trigger our inner wounds. We then find ourselves acting in a way that's out of alignment with our own inner truth and, instead, acting as a reaction to our wounds being reactivated. Keeping to ourselves and trying to fit in, as we all know from experience, doesn't work, feel good, or leads us to anything meaningful or fulfilling in life. This leads to resentment, frustration, disappointment, self-rejection, and in some cases, it is the cause of depression, anxiety, fear, stress, and worry. Pretending can be easy to do but comes with terrible consequences.
Here's the thing, being your authentic self is a life-long process, but this doesn't mean that it's something we shouldn't aspire to. Just because it may take time and practice doesn't mean that you shouldn't put in the work. It's your life we are talking about. Life is a lifelong process, and we can make the most of it when we aim to be our authentic selves.
First things first, let's take a personal inventory. I have four questions, just four, and I want you to think about them and answer them honestly.
What specific messages have you received throughout your life about being authentic and yourself that stop you from fully expressing yourself?
What are the main obstacles that get in your way of being real?
What are some of the biggest fears you have about being fully yourself, speaking your truth, and going for what you want in life?
What would you do differently in your life if you know you couldn't fail?
Genuinely think about these questions. What did you come up with? In asking these questions, you can and will open up some new ideas, insights, and possibilities for yourself and begin to work towards being your authentic self. Crescent's Reflected Best Self program; offers a unique feedback experience that counterbalances negative input. It allows you to tap into talents you may or may not be aware of, increase your career potential, and provides development towards being your authentic self. Now you might be telling yourself, I believe I am genuinely authentic, or at least I try to be. Here are 10 statements that represent an authentic person's behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. Ask yourself if your thoughts and feelings match your actions in the following ways:
#1 – Being Authentic means recognizing the emptiness in material things You don't need to buy stuff with the hope that it will make you happy. While all people may enjoy material things, you don't feel like you are empty or unhappy without this one item. You don't rate other people based on the material items they have or don't have because they know it doesn't hold much meaning. #2 - Being Authentic means recognizing that experiences make your life wealthier. You are open to explore and learn, both externally and internally. #3 - Being Authentic means genuinely listen to others. You don't listen to respond; you can be fully present with another person. You can listen to others with genuine interest and care for the other person. #4 - Being Authentic means expressing your real thoughts, feelings, and views unapologetically (and tactfully). You don't say things that you genuinely don't mean. You share your unique thoughts, feelings, and opinions without fear of other's views. #5 - Being Authentic means not living to please people. People-pleasing can erode your sense of integrity. Being authentic means knowing the importance of being aware, acknowledging, and expressing your own unique thoughts, feelings, and views. You understand and know that you can share your gifts with the world by describing your authentic internal experience.
#6 - Being Authentic means seeing the value in showing care to others. You see the value in giving love and kindness indiscriminately. Being authentic means being connected and willing to help others. You know that by helping others, you are helping yourself as well. Authenticity allows and encourages others to express their own truth with care and acceptance as well. #7 - Being Authentic means loving yourself You see yourself as a person of value who deserves love, kindness, and support. Authenticity means providing yourself with adequate care to support their own health and well-being. #8 - Being Authentic means being willing to see and acknowledge your own faults Authentic people are aware that no one is perfect, and everyone has opportunities and weaknesses. You don't judge others for their own choices, but rather see it as a part of the person's own inner wounding that has yet to be healed. Being authentic means knowing that we are all works in progress; they are willing to swallow their ego and acknowledge their weaknesses and strengths. #9 - Being Authentic means taking responsibility for your life and giving yourself permission to change You don't blame other people for your actions. You take responsibility for how your actions have created specific outcomes. Being authentic means you are willing to look at how you have influenced each situation and act accordingly. #10 - Being Authentic means accepting feedback as a gift and embrace vulnerability. Feedback isn't a dirty word, in fact, feedback allows attention to our blind spots and reinforces our strengths. Authentic people listen to what others tell them and take into account how others behave in their presence. They allow others to also make them aware of the "masks" we wear.
Are you a great imposter?
Out of the list above, are any of these 10 signs of authenticity harder for you to do than others? Do some come a little more "natural" to you? How do you struggle to be authentic in your relationships and life? As mentioned above, being genuinely authentic takes time; it's a life long process with tremendous rewards!
If you are interested in exploring this topic more or interested in developing a sense of your "personal best", contact your People Group Representative.