“I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.” — Charles R. Swindoll
What is an authentic person? I’m not a dictionary, but my own definition would be someone who is open, truthful, and candid; someone who is themselves no matter the situation. But it also means someone who is usually unfiltered; a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. This can sometimes be startling or feel abrupt when working with them. So, authenticity and diplomacy don’t necessarily come together. They often do, but it’s not automatic.
Let me go a little further and say that someone can be authentic and still be capable of misdeeds. Honesty, integrity and ethical behavior are also separate virtues from authenticity. Again, they often do come together, but it’s not automatic. There are many men and women occupying our penal institutions who are authentic!
Still, I believe authenticity is a real virtue and should be encouraged, even cultivated in our families, workplaces, and our culture.
Are You Authentic (Real) or Fake?
What are some attributes of authenticity, and maybe more importantly, what are some attributes of those who are not authentic, or fake? Below are my thoughts:
- Real people respect others for who they are. Fake people only respect those they think are powerful or can help them in some way.
- Real people are themselves, not needing the frequent approval of others. Fake people are not themselves because they frequently need to feel valid or important in other people’s eyes and will go out of their way to gain their approval.
- Real people don’t boast or feel the need to show off. Fake people show off and brag about themselves frequently.
- Real people are straightforward and express themselves openly without any hidden agendas. Fake people are two-faced showing you one side, but another to those they gossip with, talking behind your back. Fake people are one way in public, another in private.
- Real people strive to do their best to live up to promises made. Fake people are all talk, making promises they can’t or don’t intend to keep, unless it serves their personal agenda.
- Real people care about others’ welfare, without a hidden motive. Fake people are only nice if it serves their purposes, or if it makes them look better, and they will brag about how ‘good’ they are.
- Real people admire, praise and are inspired by others knowing they can always learn from others. Fake people will criticize others believing they know more, all to make themselves look better.
Do you exhibit any of the “fake” traits above? If I’m honest, I have to say that I have had moments in my life where I’ve shown a few of these “fake” traits; moments I’m not proud of. No one is perfect, but I hope you can say that you exhibit the “real” traits above most of the time. If not, then an honest self-examination might be a step in the right direction toward living an authentic life. I would recommend you discuss this with your spouse or a trusted friend, someone who is “authentic” and will be honest with you out of genuine concern for your welfare.
What other real/fake traits have you seen in people? Leave your comments below. Would love to hear from you.