Stamping out inauthenticity
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
In my first introductory post on this topic I discussed how we can truly Be Authentic.
My research suggests trying to Be Authentic can often impede our authenticity. Confusing, right?
But there’s one way we can truly be our authentic selves, and that’s to stop being inauthentic.
So since January began I’ve been trying to spot my inauthentic moments and take note of them. By doing this I hope to recognise inauthenticity and root it out; and change my behaviour in the long term.
How do we do this?
Inauthenticity is when you're being your true self. When something feels fake or forced, we are often being inauthentic.
For example, I’ve told you about the time I tried to be a beauty blogger. My posts were awful, and I wasn’t being true to my real passions. It's probably been my biggest inauthentic moment of the past year. But this month, I've been looking at my other smaller inauthentic moments.
Here are some of my inauthentic moments this month:
- Saying ‘I’m busy’ rather than hanging out with people.
I ALWAYS do this. Sure, I may have blog posts to write and to-do lists bigger than I can fit on one page, but I always enjoy myself when I’m social. So why do I always turn it down? Variances of this are 'I'm tired'.
Flirting is the bane of my single life. This month I realised that the reason I hate it, is that I often try not to be myself. I try to be 'cool' - you know, someone who doesn't spend most of their evenings binge watching Netflix. Instead, I've decided to be myself and more honest.
- I feel totally uncool when my answer to ‘What are your plans for the weekend?’ are laundry and watching movies.
Every Friday this question comes up. And I’m often tempted to lie. I came close to lying last weekend and making up some imaginary plans, but I stopped myself before I fell into the inauthenticity trap.
Over the last few weeks I’ve discovered that a huge part of my inauthenticity is that I fear just being me.
Hear me out.
I often struggle to be myself. For example, growing up when your biggest interests were Pokemon and reading books that the other kids weren't interested in was tough. I lacked confidence from an early age and rather than admitting my hobbies were often on the obscure spectrum, I kept quiet about them. I still don't often admit that my favourite TV shows are all sci-fi and comic book orientated.
And over the years, my lack of confidence has somehow evolved into me shutting off sides of my personality in public. I'm a guarded person. It takes me a while to open up to people. Part of it is the fear of rejection that being me may elicit.
Sometimes I forget to just be the cheery Zoe with multiple odd obsessions that my friends and family know.
For the past few weeks I've been trying to be more open and honest and in turn, engaging. I’ve been able to actually make conversation by remembering how inauthentic it is when I shut off. And I've shared more about myself to my work colleagues in the last 3 weeks than I have in the previous 7 months I've worked here.
Already I feel better.
I have spent well over a decade afraid to be authentic. But this month I've been taking small steps towards my authentic self. A self that I have finally learned to love.