More on “Authentic” Behavior

The other day I felt that being authentic wasn’t enough for being a friend. And that’s true. But there is more truth to discover.

Your authenticity doestn’t guarantee love and admiration from your friends, just because you are being authentic. The word “authentic” has taken on a sort of mythic proportion of human endeavor. We strive to be “authentic” and somehow, in our own competitive minds, “authentic” begins to sound like “perfect.” It’s not.

Your authenticity means that you are true to yourself, that when you screw up, you know it to be a screw up, but one made because of your mistake, not out of meanness, or subterfuge. (Unless, of course, that is your authenticity–meanness and subterfuge.) You apologize, you are sorry, but you do not go about “fixing” yourself to be better. Authentic is living in the room with yourself and accepting it all–good, indifferent, not so good.

Your authenticity is simply that–bare bones you. No making stuff up to polish your image, no trying desperately to be someone you can’t be. Authenticity has its downside–you won’t make everyone happy, you won’t solve everyone’s problems. Because authentic you is just that–the real you with flaws, failures, and hopes.

You won’t make everyone happy, but you can learn to be happy with who you are. It is enough.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer.