This week I have been giving a lot of thought as to what it actually means to be your ‘Authentic’ self. I have been giving a lot of thought to how I personally represent myself, and I found myself thinking about the concept of branding. If I am a business what are the key characteristics that I would want others to think when they heard my name. Who is this Sarah Keetley and what is she all about?
According to the Urban dictionary, the word authentic can be defined as being all real and not about the fake stuff, so it got me thinking about what this really means, so I read further. The Urban Dictionary says that you are at your authentic self, when you remove hair colour, false nails, silicon from the breasts. Interesting?!?!
Obviously the word ‘authentic’, when thinking about oneself, runs deeper than the nails, the hair and the boobs. Its about who I am and how I represent myself to my family and my friends, as well as too the wider community, and business colleagues and opportunities. Who is this Sarah? What do I like, dislike and what makes me tick? What am I passionate about, and what are my core beliefs and values? What kind of person, and parent am I? Where do I stand on issues of the heart and issues in the community, and in society? What am I all about? How could Sarah be defined?
As I think about the answers to all of these questions, I realise that what I know for sure is that I am and will always be a work in progress. I don’t believe I will at any time be perfect. Being a human being is fraught with imperfection and problems – much like society. Society could be defined as a group of people with a range of issues, imperfections and problems. It’s not necessarily saying that society is unhappy, its just that there are a range of people – happy, unhappy, imperfect, and while some are enjoying life – others aren’t. Human beings are similar – its the issues which are different.
Authenticity to me is about being real. Its about being genuine, its about being transparent, honest, having integrity. It is also about how we treat people, are we consistent, non-judgemental, happy, friendly? Am I compassionate? Do I show empathy? Can I be counted on? Am I dependable?
I also believe that you shouldn’t have to scream how authentic you are from the mountain top. Who you are should be transparent. Your authenticity should shine through, and shine louder than our imperfections. We all have our off days, but it is our off days that define us. Its how we react to our circumstances and our situations that prove our authenticity, or our integrity.
While writing this blog post I have linked the words authenticity and integrity, but I am now thinking that while the actual definition of authenticity says nothing about the values of integrity, I know for me personally, I can’t help but link them as this is how I want others to see me. For me personally I believe that integrity is a huge part of who I am – it is a core value to who I am, and this means that it needs to be in my definition of what it means to be authentic.
When all is said and done – I am a wife, a mother of four, a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, a friend and a woman with personal goals, hopes and dreams. If I accomplish my goals, hopes and dreams, but I do not display myself as authentic, or display myself to be a person with integrity – I don’t believe my accomplishments can be considered significant.
So tell me what are your thoughts and beliefs on the subject of becoming your authentic self? I would really love to hear your points of view?