Enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends recently, conversation turned to more personal topics and soon some pretty honest sharing was happening. I found myself feeling so privileged to be part of these friends’ lives and privy to the depth of sharing that was taking place.
It is an amazing thing to be among people who live authentically and are willing to reveal more of themselves than what is on the surface.
So what is authentic living? What does it look like and why should we aim for it?
Well, for me, authentic living does not mean telling every single person you come across, your deep dark secrets. I think it has more to do with being true to your beliefs, about life, yourself and the world.
But that’s hard sometimes. We want people to think we have it all together, for others to look at us and, dare I say, envy us. We to project to the world the ‘us’ we would like to be.
Sometimes, that’s a good thing, if we are trying to be a better person. Sometimes the only way to make that happen is to do it until it comes naturally.
But other times, we need to be ‘real’ with people, as much for their benefit as ours. Being real, and honest about who we are, is liberating. It frees us up to share a burden, or own up to a truth about ourselves. It frees others up to be who they are, with no pretence or shame. Revealing that we don’t have it all together, allows others to open up about the areas of their own life they are struggling in.
To live truly authentic lives means to live with integrity and a certain amount of knowledge about ourselves. I admire people who live transparent lives, who know enough about themselves to be honest about who they are or honest about the circumstances they are dealing with. I am a long way from it, but being with authentic people edges me closer and closer after every encounter with them.
We are never fully grown. We can never say we have ‘made it’. There is always something new to learn about ourselves; always some area that could do with improvement.
And what better environment to confront ourselves than in the company of authentic people.
What does living authentically mean to you? Who do you know who lives authentically?