On Being Authentic

May 30, 2012 § 9 Comments

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

We hear a lot about being “authentic” these days. I feel like I’m witnessing a bit of a mass re-discovery that being yourself holds water. That genuine is valued over false. That individuality, not sameness, carries the day. And in my humble opinion, if people take these notions to heart, we’re going in a good direction.

But I will (hesitantly) admit that my internal radar is measuring a slight cynicism, fearing that it’s being bandied about (almost) as if it were something fashionable. A concept du jour. Hitting the target but not the bullseye. Skimming the surface. You hear it and agree that it sounds good, but what do you really do with it?

In truth, of course,  “authenticity” is as real as it gets and is never out of style. It’s wheat grown in the open field and the stars that shine above it, it’s a homemade card or a hunk of solid gold ~  and it’s who you are, your true self, how you think, what moves you, what you do about it, how you express yourself.

It’s not glamorous or badass or cool. It’s not celebrity or dying your hair blue. It’s not about clever ways to show how unique you are; it’s about being real.

Maybe the real you is about originality, maybe even outrageous ~ but it’s not authentic if it’s contrived. You don’t wake up and say, “I think I’ll be authentic today, it’ll look great with my new shoes.” You either are, or you aren’t, no matter what shoes you wear. You know the difference ~ and others usually do too.

I think it’s a lot easier to get through life without pretending to be something that you’re not, and a lot more productive, too. So go be real. Just you, the genuine article, the real McCoy, the only you there is.

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