Tag Archives: authentic

11 Signs of a Truly Authentic Person

In the last week or two, the topic of authenticity has been coming up in my life.  The discussion of authenticity came up a couple times in a class and then it came up again during a therapy session.  This led me to sit back and ask myself: What actually constitutes a truly authentic person?

Upon deeper introspection, I came to the conclusion that becoming authentic is a lifetime — and beyond —  process.  It’s like peeling an onion and over time as we grow, heal, and love ourselves more and more, we become more of who we truly are.

There can be moments when we are truly expressing our authentic selves and then there are moments that trigger our inner wounds.   We then find ourselves acting in a way that’s out of alignment with our own inner truth and, instead, acting as a reaction to our wounds being reactivated.

So as I said before, it’s a lifelong process, but this doesn’t mean that it’s something we shouldn’t aspire to.  Just because it may take time and practice to do a headstand in a yoga class, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother doing the work so you can eventually do it with ease.

So here are the 11 signs of a truly authentic person:

#1 – They recognize the emptiness in material things

They’re not out buying Gucci with the hope that it will make them happy.  While they may enjoy material things, they don’t see it as “If I just have this one item, then I’ll be happy”.  They also don’t rate other people based on the material items that they have or don’t have because they know it doesn’t hold much meaning.

#2 – They recognize that experiences make their lives richer

They’re aware of how life experiences create more meaning and richness in our lives.  They are open to explore and learn, both externally and internally.

#3 – They truly listen to others

They don’t listen in order to respond.  Nor do they listen to others while being distracted by their phone, the TV or whatever else may be a distraction.  They’re able to be fully present with another person.  They’re able to listen to others with a genuine interest and care for the other person.

#4 – They express their true thoughts, feelings and views unapologetically

They don’t say things that they don’t truly mean.  They don’t do things that they don’t really want to do.  They are able to share their own unique thoughts, feelings and views without fear of other’s opinions.

#5 – They’re not out to please people

They know that by living their lives to please others all the time disconnects them from their own inner experience.  The know the importance of being aware, acknowledging, and expressing their own unique thoughts, feelings and views to the world.  They know that by expressing their true internal experience, they are able to share their gifts with the world.

TrulyAuthenticPeople

Click to Tweet: Authentic people know that expressing their true internal experience, they are able to share their gifts with the world. via @jenilyn8705

#6 – They see value in giving love to others

They see value in giving love and kindness indiscriminately.  They understand that we are all connected and are willing to give others a helping hand.  They know that by helping others, they are helping themselves.  They allow and encourage others to express their own truth with love and acceptance as well.

#7 – They love themselves

They see themselves as a person of value who deserves love, kindness and support.  They provide themselves with adequate care to support their own health and well-being.

#8 – They are willing to see and acknowledge their own faults

They are aware they we are all wounded and may have various prejudices.  They don’t judge others for their own prejudices, but rather see it as a part of the person’s own inner wounding that has yet to be healed.  They know that there are aspects of themselves that they don’t like either, and they’re willing to swallow their ego and acknowledge those parts regardless. 

#9 – They understand that we are all unique — and that’s okay!

They know that not everyone is going to agree on everything all the time.  They are accepting of differing views and opinions.  They don’t label themselves as “right” and another person as “wrong” or visa versa.

#10 – They take responsibility for their lives

They don’t blame other people for what happens to them in their lives.  They take personal responsibility for how they’re actions created a certain outcome.  They are willing to look at how they influenced each and every situation and act accordingly.

#11 – They’re connected to their own inner guide

They’ve been able to clear their minds of the constant mind chatter in order to hear an inner voice that is greater than them.  They are able to act in accordance to their inner guidance with trust and faith, despite not having external validation.

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Out of the list above, are any of these 11 signs of authenticity harder for you to do than others?  Do some come a little more “natural” to you?  How do you struggle to be authentic in your relationships and life?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

When You Want More Love and Support in Relationships

This article was originally published on TinyBuddha.

For years, I felt unfulfilled in my relationships.

I often felt drained, and as if I was the only one giving and doing things for others.

I couldn’t quite understand what I was doing wrong and why relationships were so challenging for me. All I wanted to do was to feel loved and supported. Why couldn’t I get that?

Then, nearly three years ago, after a bad break-up and a ton of other relationship challenges, I reached a breaking point. I knew I had to make some serious changes, so I found myself a therapist, a ton of self-help books, and a few other self-development professionals.

Through this journey, I’ve learned several lessons that have helped me find and create the fulfilling relationships that I have today. Here are four lessons I learned.

#1 – We have to accept people where they are.

Even though I wanted more depth, intimacy, and support in my relationships, I had to learn to accept that others didn’t always want the same things I did; or, they did want the same things, but they were simply not ready for them at that point in time.

In learning this lesson, I was able to let go of idealistic dreams that some people would one day change and appreciate those relationships for what they were.

Many times we are unfulfilled in relationships because we are lying to ourselves. We choose to reject what is while clinging to our own idealistic dream of what could be.

When we accept relationships as they are, we open the door to connecting with others who are able to give us what we know we deserve.

#2 – Love begins on the inside, not the outside.

One of my all-time favorite passages on love begins, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” When I was younger I interpreted this as though I had to find someone who was patient and kind, not jealous or boastful, and so on.

I thought it was telling me that I had to judge other people according to that criteria to determine if it was truly “love” or not. I thought it was about seeking it in the external world.

Then, when I heard this verse a couple years ago at a friend’s wedding, I had a huge “ah ha” moment: This verse has nothing to do with looking for these traits in other people. It’s telling us that this is the love that we can find within ourselves.

It is the love that makes this universe exist and keep it together. It is a love that we all possess.

We are not meant to seek love externally in the world but to connect to it within so that we can create even more of that love in the world around us.

The love that we seek is something that we already have. When we make the conscious effort to tap into that inner love and express it in the world, we can then begin to see all the love around us.

PossessLoveWithin

Click to Tweet: The love that we seek in our relationships with others we already possess deep within ourselves. via @jenilyn8705

#3 – It’s more painful to fear being authentic then to actually be authentic.

I always held back my inner truth in relationships because I feared rejection. Deep down, I felt that I wasn’t good enough or worthy.

I feared that others would automatically reject me if I expressed my unique, genuine interests and talents. I felt that by blending in with people, I’d guarantee acceptance.

The reality, though, is that it took so much more effort, more strain, and more heartache to hold on to this fear.

As I have gradually learned how to simply express my authentic truth in relationships, it has not only made my relationships better, it has also given me more energy that I can put into more proactive things.

#4 – We get what we give.

Even though I often felt like I was giving a lot in my relationships, what I was giving wasn’t necessarily healthy. I often gave to others in order to be accepted and avoid rejection, because I feared being vulnerable. I was giving out of fear, not from a place of inner love.

If you want others to be more real and vulnerable, then you have to be more real and vulnerable. If you want others to openly discuss feelings, then you have to openly discuss feelings. This doesn’t guarantee they’ll reciprocate, but it opens the door for the type of relationship you’d like to have.

Many of us know what we desire in our relationships, but we don’t realize the importance of our part. We have the ability to create the tempo. If we are willing to set the example, others will be more likely to follow and reciprocate.

The more we realize the power of our own actions and align them to our heart’s true desires, the closer we’ll get to creating relationships filled with love, support, authenticity, and fulfillment.

It Starts With You

This past weekend I found myself in a little bit of a debate with my boyfriend.  It wasn’t like a full-out argument or anything like that, but it was just enough to ruffle my feathers a bit.

The truth is, I hate any kind of debates.  It just doesn’t sit well in my being.  All I ever want is for there to be harmony.  I’d take just some simple empathetic understanding over a more intellectual debate any day.

So when things got into a bit of a disagreement I found myself getting more and more frustrated, upset, and, honestly, just sad.

Shortly after the conversation ended, he came up and asked me, “How are you feeling?  Are you okay?  Was I being a jerk?”  This followed up with, “I’m asking because, well, I’m not good with all this emotional stuff”.

In that moment I kind of chuckled to myself a bit because he used the same exact words that I had used earlier that day when I had made a joke that I realized may have offended or hurt him.

It was in that moment that I fully realized: It all starts with me.

Many of us wish to have a fulfilling relationship.  We may desire to have more intimacy or a better connection.  We may wish our partner was more open and honest with us.  We may wish that our partner was more affectionate or more open to sharing their emotions.

Many of us desire these things but we struggle to get these things to happen and can’t understand why.  We wish that our partner would change.  “I wish he was more honest” or “I wish he was more aware of his own emotions” is what we may tell our friends.

Though it is true that the compatibility of each person’s unique traits are a huge factor in determining success of our relationships, it is also true that modeling the behavior you desire in the relationship yourself can drastically change the relationship for the better.

That is the mindset shift that many of us struggle to make and it keeps us in this place of suffering: That it is our own personal responsibility to model the change.  We fail to take personal responsibility.  We fail to realize our half of the equation and how our actions can dramatically impact the relationship.

Instead, many of us habitually focus on the external.  We focus on what we are getting or not getting.  “He’s not….” “She’s not…” are our common thought patterns.

But what we need to do is look back at ourselves and ask: What am I not doing?  How am I not allowing this to happen?  We have to realize the importance of our actions.  We have to be willing to step up and do the behavior we wish others would do so that we can help them develop their weak points.

Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  What is it that you want to see in others?  Whatever it is, then be it!

starts with you

Here’s another example: For years I couldn’t understand why none of my boyfriends or friends would stand up and be honest about their feelings before a big “blow up” would happen.  Now I realize that they reason they did it with me is because I wasn’t being open and honest with my feelings.  I was off repressing all of my stuff and rather than openly sharing it with them.

As a result, they felt uncomfortable and it came out as a “blow up” rather than in a calm and collected manner.  Fortunately I now know that if I want other people to do be open and honest about how they feel then I myself have to be open and honest regularly and often.

The more we express and do the thing that we wish others would do, then the more they will do it.  The more that we embody what it is that we desire in others, they then feel more comfortable doing it with us.

So now it’s time for action…

(And seriously — do this!  Don’t just read it or do it in your head!)

Write down a list of things that you wish you had in your relationships.  What is something that you wish a partner, friend or family member would do for you?  Do you wish they were more honest?  More genuine?  More emotionally supportive?  More sensitive to your feelings?  More open to talk about conflict?  More vulnerable?  Write down whatever comes to mind right now.

After you make your list, look at each wish and very honestly ask yourself: Am I doing this in the relationship?  Am I really being genuine?  Am I really being honest?  Am I really being sensitive to their feelings?

Then reflect on how you can help bring more to that in the relationship.  How can you be more genuine or sensitive?  How can you be more supportive?  Search for ways that you can better embody what it is that you would like them to do through your actions towards them.

The Extremely Awkward Situation I Caused Myself Due to People Pleasing

A few months ago I made a new friend. We met at this community get-together and we had a few interests in common. I felt happy to be making some new connections in the area. We made plans to go hang out. We debated to ride our bikes around or just get some coffee at the local Starbucks. Eventually we decided to on see a movie and get a bite to eat. Just a simple friendly Friday-night hangout… or at least that’s what I thought.

It was within the first 5 minutes of walking into the movie theater that I came to the awkward realization of “Oh wait… he doesn’t think this is a just a friendly hangout like I thought… he thinks its a… date”.

Very awkward situation – and I had NEVER found myself in this situation before. I was petrified, nervous and really didn’t want to deal with a confrontation right smack dab in the middle of his perceived date. So what did I do? I did the very thing that I’m best at… being a people pleaser. I focused on keeping him comfortable despite my extreme uncomfortableness.

Now, when I say “people pleaser” here I don’t mean that I went along with this and pretended it was a date too. Oh no no! I set my boundaries, but I did try to avoid the confrontation that could potentially lead to a very awkward situation, which would result in hurting his feelings or embarrassing the hell out of him. I filtered my words in order to avoid mentioning “boyfriend” when at all possible at this point… all the while trying to remember if I did mention “boyfriend” at all in our first meeting and then asking myself over and over again if why I didn’t say that word in EVERY sentence I spoke to this guy from the very moment I met him. And then recreating what tI should have said in that first meeting so I wasn’t stuck in this god-awful situation. It was something like:

“Where are you originally from?”

“The Midwest. I HAVE A BOYFRIEND.”

“How long have you been coming here?”

“I HAVE A BOYFRIEND. It’s only my second visit. BOYFRIEND! DID YOU HEAR THAT?!”

Maybe they should just make t-shirts for women to wear who are already in a relationship, I thought to myself. Then we never EVER have the possibility of this happening (cause, trust me, I really hope NO other woman finds herself in this situation).

I implied buying my own dinner, though he didn’t seem to get the hint or notice my extreme awkwardness about the whole thing. I ended up letting him pay for my dinner at the time to avoid the awkward confrontation I could see it would cause. And, though it confused him, I was sure to make it known that I was NOT interested in any of his advances.

Most. Awkward. Situation. Ever.

Eventually, even though I dreaded the thought of doing it, I build up enough guts to tell him. It didn’t go as well as I hoped, but, realistically, could that have turned out well?

Needless to say, I spent the next day beating myself up over it. Feeling bad for hurting him, his reaction when he did find out, and over-thinking how I should’ve did things differently when we first met.

I was really stuck on all those bad feelings, so I took a little break and began to write down a prayer on a piece of paper. The prayer was to help me release all of the feelings from this situation and to heal. As I was writing the full reality of the situation hit me:  When you’re people-pleasing, you are not really “pleasing” anyone — you’re just making a mess of things.  In every moment, just be honest.

people pleasing

I realized that in this situation, if I actually told him the very second I recognized that he perceived our hangout to be a date, then the whole situation would’ve turned out so much better. It was simply because I waited it out due to fear of embarrassment (both mine and his) that the end result became as bad as it did. If I said something right away it would’ve been easily forgotten and things would’ve carried on smoothly.

This same idea can be applied in many situations, such as:

  • Avoiding to ask a friend you drive with to class if she could split the cost of gas with you because you feel bad asking for money.

  • Being annoyed with your roommate because she is cleaning the kitchen after 5 PM and now you have no room to cook yourself dinner. Yet, you avoid telling her your feelings because you don’t want to hurt her feelings.

  • Telling your boyfriend that you will go out tonight with him even though you’re tired and you have a lot of work to do.

Every time we avoid expressing our authentic thoughts and feelings it doesn’t mean that our own half of the equation has just “disappeared”. It’s still there. It’s just that now it’s hidden, repressed, and chances are it’s still going to come out one way or another. Either by the person finding out or just making ourselves miserable.

So next time you find yourself avoiding to tell someone your truth in hopes to please them, keep in mind that you’re actually not pleasing anyone by not saying it. The only TRUE way to “please” is to be honest.

And, hopefully, that can help us to not only diminish the severity of conflict, but also help us avoid some pretty awkward situations.

Stop people pleasing and start being more authentic today!

How has people pleasing hurt you and your relationships? Has there been any awkward situations you’ve put yourself in all because you’ve wanted to “please” someone else? What can you tell someone today in order to truly “please” you and others?