The importance of being authentic
When it comes to online dating, the best advice you can take is to just be yourself. Rebecca Perkins shares her thoughts on being authentic
‘Don’t waste your life trying to become somebody else. Don’t waste your life imitating others. Don’t waste your life living out other people’s expectations. Be authentic. Be genuine. Be real. Be yourself.’ Tai Sheridan, author of Buddha in Blue Jeans.
Authentic is one of my words of 2017 (along with joy and connection). I appreciate that the word has become a bit clichéd in recent years, hijacked by big businesses that use it to sell themselves as trustworthy, but bear with me!
I hope that by the time we reach midlife, we’ve experienced enough of life to appreciate ourselves, our gifts, our successes, and what we bring to the world. And I believe that being fully authentic is part of this. Being genuine, being real, is no doubt what attracts our friends to us, and vice versa.
And yet, I’ve spoken to a number of my midlife clients who believe that they need to be someone else – to try and be different – in order to attract someone. I, however, would urge you not to go down this path, both for your sake and that of your future partner!
Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned about being authentic and fully embracing who I am:
- Never feel that you have to change yourself to fit in. You really don’t need to be one of the coolest kids on the block to find approval. In fact, you don’t need approval from anyone other than yourself.
- We’re all unique. That, to me, is part of the joy of being human. Why would you want to try to be someone else?
- Fear is what usually stops us from being fully authentic. We fear we aren’t good enough, successful enough, thin enough or intelligent enough. We’re scared that we need fixing in some way, that there is something wrong with us. But that’s not true at all. We’re human and we’re perfect. That’s enough.
- Many of us have grown accustomed to wearing a mask that shows the highlights reel version of our lives. You just need to spend a short time on Facebook or Instagram to see the dangers of this. We all know that people post their ‘perfect’ life online and that it’s often far from reality. We’re asked, ‘how are you?’ and we respond, ‘great thanks’, even when we’re not feeling so good. We do it because we’re afraid of upsetting people and afraid of being seen as somehow less than perfect. It’s time to take the mask off!
- I find that I connect better with people when I’m being my authentic self. It feels like less hard work being me than trying to be someone else. I’ve also found that a sense of trust develops when people say that you’re being authentic. People feel more relaxed and comfortable around you when you’re being you. As an author, I’ve also vowed to always write authentically, and I know that I connect with more people because of that.
- There’s no need to try to be authentic or to learn how because if we’re being our true selves then we already are being authentic.
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