Au·then·tic·i·ty - a word that has been making waves everywhere lately has millenials and spiritual movements alike placing value on increased self-awareness. The word itself refers to reliability, dependability, accuracy, fidelity, and credibility, suggesting that in order to be trusted, one would first need to be completely honest with themselves, look deep into both the good and the ugly. It is also a value that we can place on the way that we live life and treat other people.
Studies show that increased self-awareness could actually lead to better health choices and emotional regulation. By becoming more familiar with our shadows, we can regulate our weaknesses and make sure that we are able to better handle or face adversity. But in learning to be more aware of everything that tends to rise inside, the challenge of being truly authentic asks us to become authentic with other people - to find consistency within and around ourselves, to be aligned with our principle. How then can we become more authentic with the people around us? Here are 3 simple tips to help you get started:
1. Acknowledge how they make you feel. Part of being real is acknowledging that when human interaction takes place, there will always be an emotional reaction. Even if experts say that people don't have permission to hurt you unless you allow them to, we all know that whether we like it or not, they elicit a reaction from us. Author Heather Shumaker says that in order to teach people empathy and moral compassion, we need to be able to point out how they make us feel and how their actions have led to this. Whether it's anger, frustration, sadness, love, desire, passion, being absolutely real with ourselves starts with acknowledging how other people are eliciting all kinds of feelings and letting them know.
2. Express what you need (instead of being passive aggressive about it). When we're met with a feeling, that we often need time to digest and understand, it helps to look within and ask ourselves what would be helpful in this moment and communicate it with the other person. What is it that you need them to do? Change? Try? Being precise about the action that you would like to see from them helps them understand how they can manage your relationship better.
3. Be clear with your intentions. Before going in to talk to someone about how they make you feel and what you need them to do, it's good to always go back to your intention. Why would this be important to you? How does this align with your most true self? And how does it honor what authenticity means to you? What would speaking your truth do for you? For the other person? For the situation / circumstance?