The Work of Authenticity

The Work of Authenticity

How many times have you said to someone or you’ve heard it said to you, ‘just be yourself’?

Or, ‘just be you, everyone else is taken’.

It turns out that being yourself is harder than all those quotes say.

In fact, this takes up the majority of the work I do as a coach, supporting individuals to not only be their authentic self but first they sometimes have to find it first.

Why is it hard though? Why do we have such a hard time showing our true selves, saying what we really think, sharing our feelings and admitting our fears?

This is such a huge question and without trying to sound like a great philosopher or even admitting that I have the answer, from a coaching perspective, it all comes down to how we learn to adapt to our life experiences. Human’s are highly adaptable, that’s what makes us successful as a species.

However, it’s also this trait that comes into play when we’re struggling to ‘be ourselves’ or be vulnerable or be more authentic in how we show up in our lives. Ultimately, we adapt our way out of being ourselves as we learn to protect ourselves from being hurt and learn strategies to get our needs met.

And then there’s Jennifer or Thomas, both working professionals, aged 43 and 51 respectively who come to me feeling stuck, wanting to find a deeper sense of meaning in their work and feeling a bit lost with what the next step is in their career (and life as it often happens that way).

This is where the work of authenticity comes in.

Because it is work. 

the work of authenticity article

It’s work to undo or even look at the adaptations you’ve made to navigate your life experiences that have distanced you from your authentic self and/or your values.

It’s work to undo the strategies you’ve developed to protect yourself. It’s work to face the fears you might have found a way to avoid. And it’s work to acknowledge those parts of yourself that perhaps you learned to reject or be ashamed of.

In this article I’m not sharing a ‘how to’ or a ‘5 steps to being authentic’ or any kind of answer on how to do it. I’m simply telling you that it’s work, it’s deep work and it’s hard work.

It’s hard work to be authentic because of all the forces against us to not be, especially as we get older.

So don’t give up the endeavour because it’s hard. Don’t stop the work because you’re afraid of what you’ll find. Keep going, keep searching, keep opening and keep being curious.

Because the gift of it all, of all the work you’re doing is freedom, healing, inner peace, connection with yourself and others, being who you want to be and having what you truly want in your life.