What Authenticity Really MeansAug 08, 2021
I have been spending time musing upon what vulnerability and authenticity mean to me and how it manifests (or doesn't manifest) for myself and others in the outside world. I am writing a much longer article on some wisdom I have learned on vulnerability in the last few weeks. For this week I will start with authenticity. I believe vulnerability and authenticity are sacred sisters. Like many popular personal growth buzzwords, I feel as though these concepts have been misunderstood to mean how we should show up in the outside world. But by definition they are PERSONAL. They are meant to be internal soul-led processes of getting to know ourselves more deeply and then CHOOSING how that shows up in the outside world.
As always when I contemplate words and concepts I go to the dictionary to see what the dictionary says. And then I look at the original origins of the words. Because often meanings get lost in translation, time, and cultural norms. Let's look at a few definitions of authentic from Mirriam-Webster:
worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact
conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features
true to one's own personality, spirit, or character
What strikes you about these definitions and is this what authenticity means to you?
What strikes me is the idea that to be authentic is to be worthy of acceptance, and we can only be accepted if we conform. And then toss in the idea that we are to conform to an original and reproduce it. And herein lies the problem. Many of us are trying to show up as a reproduction of someone or something else, or living someone else's story of who we are supposed to be. But the truth is every single human being (and non-human beings) is an original and unique production. There are no two of us alike. Not physically, emotionally, spiritually, or at a soul level. And that is such a beautiful thing.
The last one, being true to one's own personality, spirit or character is the closest to the origins of the word. Do you see the disconnect? One definition says to be true to your SELF (the Big Self or the soul) and the other two discuss conforming to something else....something more original than you are to be worthy of acceptance.
What I observe is a lot of people authentically being something they think they are based on what the outside world thinks they should be. Many of us may not want to admit that. We see authenticity as being honest, showing up, being in integrity. These are all good traits, amazing traits, we should continue doing these things. But they are not what authenticity means. And authenticity has very little to do with how we show up to the world, rather it is about going deeper and showing up to and for ourselves. To learn and remember who we really are at a soul level. And then bit by bit express that in the world through our creations.
Let's take a look at the origins of the word. The roots of the word come from the Greek "authentikos" or "authentes". Authentikos means original or geniune. Authentes means acting on one's own authority.
Auth means Self, it also is the root of the word author. Thentes means doing or being. (I prefer doing and being).
Micheal Meade the wonderful mythology teacher and author of "Awakening the Soul", explains it as "auth" being the author, the maker; being at the beginning of the world as things are falling apart. And entikos as the ground of being. His definition of authenticity which I think is beautiful is anything that comes from the origins of life and the seed of the soul.
With this perspective and definition in mind I will ask the question again and invite you to ponder on it.
What does authenticity mean to you?
Here are a few extra journal prompts to get you musing upon this.
Where and how do you feel like you are being your authentic self?
Where do you feel like you are NOT being your authentic self?
How can you go more deeply into your soul and what seeds want to be expressed from that place of being?
How are you trying to be a reproduction of something else?
How would it feel to show up as an original? What small steps are you willing to take to be your own original, magical self?
For me, authenticity means to show up to myself and be in conversation with my soul when making all choices, when creating, and in every aspect of life. As much as I can and whenever I can. I am only human of course, and we are all influenced by the outside world but the more I allow my soul to speak through me the more rooted I am, and I find the more I am surrounded by people that love the original creation that I am. I am able to create a life that is unique to me and that I would not trade for the world. My desire is the same for you.
Love and Light,
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