Monday, July 26, 2010

Authenticity Pondered (Part 1)

Authenticity – “the quality of being not false or copied; genuine; real”. But what does it really mean -- lived out? What does it look like? How can we do we do it?

We can look at a handmade vase in a museum and say, “That is authentic.” But a vase is not alive; it does not act, feel, or think. It does not make mistakes. It does not have a personality.

I believe that we crave authenticity in others. I think we crave it in ourselves. The whole idea of what it means to live authentically has been on my heart.

A year ago (seriously, has it been that long?) I asked the question, “What does being authentic mean to you? What does it look like lived out?” I received quite a few responses, and today I am going to share with you some of the ideas that my readers shared with me.

· Being comfortable in your own skin.

· Being the same person regardless of the audience

· I think that personal authenticity starts with a desire to honor God through our unique design. Do we believe God has created each of us in such a special way that we appreciate ourselves and desire to share ourselves with others in order to be about His work in a way only we can accomplish? And then, unfortunately, there is our sinful side. Who wants to share that part, authentically? Yet, in our weakness, He is strong.

· It means being who you are, not doing for others to get accolades, not doing/buying for yourself to get attention from others. Simply put, doing what you want when you want for yourself and the benefit of others, not to be showy or boastful, but to just be who you are.

· To me, being authentic is not only speaking the truth, but living it. My authenticity comes from how God defines me, not the world, my friends, not my family, from Christ!

· A person who says one thing, but does another – that person is not authentic.

· True to whom you are in the core of your being or not trying to be something that you are not.

· An authentic person is real in all areas of life – will admit when they are happy, sad, struggling, what the yare working on, etc… An authentic friend has human faults, recognizes that others have faults, too, and accepts you for the human that God created.

· Authenticity is the ability to be yourself, without holding anything back or hiding behind the mask of who you want people to believe you are instead of who you really are. To be authentic then, you must be “whole” – the same inside as you are behaving on the outside. Authenticity is frightening because it makes you vulnerable, but it is also freeing for trying to be something that you are not is exhausting.

Thought provoking? I think so. Some ideas you may agree with, others you may not; it's an interesting cross section. I don’t have all the answers either, but I will be back tomorrow to share with you some of the thoughts that I have bouncing around in my head and my view of living authentically. Feel free to add to the conversation.

4 comments:

Amy Sullivan said...

Good topic, and although I agree with most of your list, I struggle with some of it too.

Being authentic can be difficult for me as I tend to be gaurded. I will share certain things with certain people, but really have trouble with throwing myself "out there". Even writing that makes me vulnerable...I think being fake isn't my issue. Being open, now that can be.

Andrea @ Unfailingly Loved said...

Thanks, Amy. I love your comment about "being open, now that can be (an issue)". I agree. And sometimes being guarded is wise. It's tricky, no doubt.

I'm glad you added your .o2.

Deanna@MilesToRun said...

Thanks Andrea. I enjoyed reading this first thing this morning. My favorite part was,

"Authenticity is frightening because it makes you vulnerable, but it is also freeing for trying to be something that you are not is exhausting."

Can't wait to read more!

Andrea @ Unfailingly Loved said...

Thanks, Deanna. Your words were timely. I was just getting ready to post Part 2 and was feeling vulnerable -- your note encouraged me to persevere and post. Thanks.

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