The greatest advice most of us have ever received is to simply be ourselves. But what does that actually mean? How do we be true to ourselves, and what does it mean to live that truth in today’s world? How do we live an authentic life?
Coming to Understand Authenticity
Authenticity is such a personal, subjective idea that it can be challenging to define. It is something that can actually only be lived, like love, trust, and other primary qualities of humans. But we can explore what some philosophers have said about authenticity to begin to understand it for ourselves.
Existential philosophers defined authenticity as the ability to live in alignment with one’s true self at all times. This connection to one’s self should remain even at times when it would be inconvenient, unpopular, or dangerous. It will probably trigger a sense of separation from the external world. Authenticity requires reconciling what we know to be true about ourselves with how we are conditioned to believe the world works.
Other philosophers defined authenticity by what it is not. They would refer to the many ways humans can be inauthentic as a way to understand authenticity by its opposite. Then authenticity becomes not pretending to be someone else or lying about our needs and desires.
The essence is to be true to yourself, no matter what. Do not hurt other people or the Earth. But do not pretend to be other than you are, hide, lie, or try to “fit in.”. Do not define yourself by what other people tell you is true or healthy. Discover and live your own truth. Continue Reading →