What Doesn't Kill Us

The new psychology of posttraumatic growth

What Are the 3 Things That Authentic People Do?

When am I the real me?

Be true to yourself is advice we are often given. Going for a job interview or on a romantic date our friends might say to us ‘just be yourself’.  It is good advice. But what does it mean? 

From the moment we wake up in the morning to when we go to sleep most of us have at least some moments where we can be truly ourselves; but for many parts of the day we are putting on a show.   We are not being authentic.

 

People often have a niggling anxious sense that something in their lives is not quite right; this niggling sense is our built-in alarm alerting us to the tension of inauthentic living and urging us to make changes.

 

There are three things that authentic people do.

 

1        They say what they mean

Authentic people say what they mean, and they mean what they say.  They might be keeping their thoughts to themselves but if you ask them a direct question the chances are you will get a direct answer. 

 

2.       They stand up for themselves

Authentic people will go against the crowd if they have to.  It is more important to them to be true to themselves than to please other people.

 

3.       They know what they are feeling

Authentic people know what’s going on inside them.  They know when they are tired, unhappy, joyful, frightened, and so on.  They are in touch with themselves and their feelings.

Does that sound like you?

Here is another question. What about the times that you feel that you cannot be the real you?  In what way do you feel you are not being the real you?

Now take a few minutes to think about the times that you feel that you are being the real you.  What makes the difference? 

Stephen Joseph, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology, health, and social care at the University of Nottingham, UK, and author of What Doesn't Kill Us.

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