Living authentically

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?

10 thoughts on “Living authentically

    • So glad you enjoyed it and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It does take bravery and courage to live authentically, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why we shy away from it.


  1. So true. There is much pressure to show the better version of ourselves. It’s a nice reminder to be our real selves more often. Maybe that’s why Facebook is so popular, maybe it should be called fake book. Great post.


  2. Living with integrity, being honest, and yes, using a little caution. Fake-book. haha. Yes, much of it is…the trading of ‘likes’ for numbers and promoting as favors and not because you actually like the post…no way.


  3. Actually, I’m a bit of the opposite. We live in a very small town; the kind of place where everyone likes to think they know everyone else’s business. Because of this I find myself being much more guarded in person than I am online. I understand what everyone is saying about fake-book, but I tend toward more authenticity online. If I don’t care for someone or something online, I ignore or block. If I genuinely like or love someone or something, I let them know it. The majority of the people in my social circles locally don’t even know I’m a writer. There are few I care for online who don’t know that and much more about me. Interesting, Susannah. I love your posts because they always make me think and reflect. Thanks.


    • Now, that is interesting, Vaughn πŸ™‚ And I can totally see what you are saying. However, I am sure in your close relationships, you live very authentically. And like I said, I don’t think it means letting your guard down to just anybody, rather, making informed choices about who to share with and when one does, to do so with complete honesty.
      I agree, too, sometimes it’s easier to be authentic online due to the anonymity of it all. We can be a bit more honest and authentic when we can choose the level of interaction, too. Unfortunately, facebook (and other social media) is often used as a convenient bragging, one-upmanship, tool, instead of for honest sharing.
      Glad it got you thinking πŸ™‚


  4. A beautiful post about something I’m passionate about. I too love the company of authentic people and strive for that myself. Maybe the age-old advice of being ‘as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves’ is appropriate in this situation. We can be wise in choosing who and where we reveal our true selves and be gentle in the process, making sure we’re not putting others down or boosting our own egos at the same time. Thanks so much for making me stop and think πŸ™‚


    • I agree with you totally. Choosing who, and when, we share our inner selves with others requires maturity and wisdom, often learnt the hard way! You definitely strike me as someone who is both authentic and someone others can be free to be authentic with.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting πŸ™‚


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