We are all unique, yet we live in a time where there has never been more pressure to become a copy. TV shows, movies, tabloids, advertisements, social media feeds, and even peers consistently bombard us with who is doing it "right," and what we need to be doing to have it in our life.
Because of this, authenticity has become a rare experience. If we aren't scared to be who we truly are — out of a fear of it not being accepted — we're openly changing ourselves because an authority figure has made it seem more appealing.
While the process of being authentic is something that I still struggle with on occasion, my radar at identifying when someone is or isn't being their true self has never been sharper. Here are 8 qualities I've identified as very common among some of the most authentic people I've come to know in my life:
1. Know How To Say "No"
While there is a wonderful power to be found in saying "yes," there is an even more remarkable strength found in the ability to say "no." It seems like common sense, but it's something than more of us struggle with than we could ever imagine.
It is only by saying "no" when something that doesn't align with our authentic self is presented to us that we are able to stay authentic. It's not that we become incapable of compromise or closed off to new experiences, it's that we ensure we don't become a doormat to other people's demands and expectations.
2. Accept & Learn From Haters
Even if we made a conscious effort to be as socially acceptable as possible (which is completely non-authentic), there are always going to be people that seemingly dislike us.
Rather than be rattled by these apparent haters, some of the most authentic people I know not only accept and understand their existence, but they also look for ways to learn from their criticism.
3. Not Afraid to Be Open & Honest
While there are certain parts of our private lives that should remain private, there is also a great power to be found in a willingness to open up about them. Some of the most authentic people I know not only openly delve into their firsthand experiences, but they also respond to you in an honest way.
If some tough love is what you need to hear, they aren't afraid to give it to you, even if it requires them digging into the depths of their own experience.
4. Great Listeners
This certainly goes hand in hand with number three, as part of what makes the authentic among us that way is that they actually listen to what others have to say. This is how they are able to deliver effective feedback, learn from others, and fully process everything that is thrown their way.
When questioning whether or not you are a great listener, the best gauge is to notice how often you find yourself thinking of your next response when someone else is talking to you.
5. Open To Change
Being open to change may seem counterintuitive to staying authentic but it's actually completely necessary. No one in this world holds the exact same views and belief systems throughout their entire life, so why would those of us that are authentic be any different?
Some of the most genuine people I know, not only are open to change, but are also so connected to themselves that they know when the change is and isn't appropriate for them.
6. Value Their Time
While some may argue that money is the most precious resource in this world, the fact that we need time to produce money puts it in the resource captain seat. Those that are and stay authentic recognize the value in their time and choose to spend it wisely.
They make time for the things that are the most important to them, even if they don't necessarily make the most logical sense to an analytical mind. They also choose to only give their time when it feels right rather than simply because it is available.
7. Do A Lot of Personal Work
Whether it be investing in a personal development course, reading a self-help book, or even dedicating to a wellness practice like meditation, the world's most authentic tend to commit regular time to their own well-being.
There are so many wonderful resources in this world to learn and grow from, and committing time to them can be a key to not only being but also staying authentic.
8. Selectively Lazy
Chances are, when you think of laziness you have one of two perspectives towards it: (1) you accept and indulge in it as a right, (2) you vilify it and feel guilty when being it.
Being lazy is a part of life, but I find those who are authentic not only recognize that, but they also selectively choose when they are going to be. They find the drive and determination required to accomplish things when needed, and also allow themselves to take a break when it feels like the right thing to do.