Judy Garland immortalised the phrase:
“Be a first rate you, not a second rate version of someone else.”
How often do we find our identity in the work we do: I am a teacher, a librarian, a bank manager, a waitress. When we identify ourselves by how we earn a living, we diminish the innate qualities that make us unique.
We are authentic when our behaviours and words are in synch with our core beliefs and values. It was Nietzsche who said: If we own our why of life, we can put up with any how.” He reminds us that when we submit to a system we compromise our integrity: we become a cog in the larger machine of the system. As part of a system we are more likely to conform to the values of others. Of course, it may be that the system in which you work, live, and seek leisure has similar values to your own: you will know.
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of authenticity. When we are in touch with our emotions and behaviours we are likely to understand what triggers us. When we understand our imperfections, making decisions is easier. We need to be open and honest with our failings and fears. It is living with vulnerability and courage. Living this way we become aware of the values that drive us. We know the barriers that hold us back.
Three years ago I took an authentic look at my life, I wanted to know how I was tracking and what needed to change. Was I living with authenticity? Was my life real? And how was I reflecting humanity? An examined life is a genuine life that understands the shifting sands on which we exist.
Being a first rate you requires honesty, courage and big doses of self-awareness.
I am participating in the A-Z Challenge this month. You can find out more about the challenge here.