Reflections on What it Means to Live Authentically

Written by on May 29, 2017 in Quotations, Self-Awareness, Sense of Purpose

Live Authentically


The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. ~ Carl Jung

The notion of being “authentic” has been kicked around so much it’s become something of a buzzword. But hype aside, the question remains, just how do we find that special place of truth within ourselves?

Seriously, have you ever taken the time to clarify your core values, or considered how many of your beliefs and values are holdovers from your childhood or the influence of others, and how much of it is grounded in what you believe (or have been told) you should be?

Being authentic is more than being real; it is finding what is real. Click To Tweet

When it comes to the question of what being authentic actually means, there is no shortage of theories since this is a subject that has been intriguing people for decades.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow (best known for known for his hierarchy of needs theory) suggested that authenticity occurs when an individual has first satisfied their physiological needs and then turned to satisfying their “being” or growth-oriented needs which he presumed would lead to a path of self-actualization.

Psychologists Brian Goldman and Michael Kern define authenticity as “the unimpeded operation of one’s true or core self on one’s daily enterprise.”

And here’s my definition …

We connect with our authentic self when we learn to genuinely embrace all our quirky bits and pieces and act in ways that are consistent with our deepest values, rather than attempting to alter our appearance or behavior in order to fit in or to gain the approval of others.

However you choose to define it, researchers have identified some pretty impressive benefits associated with the ability to live authentically that directly relate to your well-being.

Authentic people feel better about themselves, are more resilient, and are less likely to turn to self-destructive habits for solace. They tend to be purposeful in their choices and are more likely to follow through on their goals.

Think about that while we consider a few more thoughts on what it means to be authentic.

Reflections on Living Authentically

*To be authentic is to create a life that feels good on the inside. Not one that just looks good on the outside. ~Author Unknown

*Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest, the choice to let our true selves be seen. ~Brene Brown

*To become authentic requires a thirst for freedom, freedom from self-pity, fearful ideas, and from the rigid ideals that have been taught to us through our entire lives. ~Don Mateo Sol

*Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs. ~Kristin Hannah

*I’ve fed mouths that have talked shit about me. I’ve wiped tears off of the faces of people who have caused mine. I have picked up people who have tried to knock me down. I have been there for people who have not been there for me. Crazy? Maybe. But I will NOT lose myself in the hatred of others. Life isn’t easy, but even through all the BS, I will still be here, being me. ~Dr. Steve Maraboli

*One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your own sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else. ~Author Unknown

*Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced. ~Carol Mosely-Braun

*Be real. Embrace that you have a weakness because everyone does. Embrace that your body is not perfect because nobodies is. Embrace that you have things you can’t control because we all have a list of them. ~Dan Pearce

*As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today I know this is authenticity. ~Charlie Chaplin

*An authentic life grows like a sturdy tree. And like a tree, it grows slowly. Every time you make a different and better decision, it grows a little. Every time you choose to do the right thing, even when nobody would find out otherwise, it grows a little. Every time you act with compassion, relinquish your right to strike back, take a courageous stand, admit fault or accept responsibility, it grows a little. ~Steve Goodier

*We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. ~May Sarton

*We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide examples for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves. ~James Hollis

*As you become more aligned with the truth of who you are, the question of liking yourself goes away. It is a natural state of being. ~Rachel Archelaus

*It is naive to think that self-assertiveness is easy. To live self-assertively – which means to live authentically – is an act of high courage. That is why so many people spend the better part of their lives in hiding from others and also from themselves. ~Nathaniel Branden

*We need to find the courage to say no to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity. ~Barbara de Angelis

Finally, in the crazy world we live in today this quotation seems particularly relevant …

*I am not afraid of people who say all the wrong things that make others gasp in disbelief. I am afraid of the people who say all the right things that make others bow in admiration. It is incredibly easy to say all the right things. We all know exactly what the majority of people want to believe and want to hear. All we have to do is give them what they want, they will bow before us. Anybody can do that. I am more afraid of people who would like to persuade me into admiration, than of people who are simply being people; sinning openly and talking like drunken thieves. That’s who they are on the outside, it’s also who they are on the inside. ~C. JoyBell C.

Your turn: How do you define authenticity? Have you taken the time to become clear about your deepest values and priorities in your life?

Related reading …
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.

Thank you for sharing!

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  1. Joyce Hansen

    As I think about this, being authentic may be one of our hardest challenges. We are so inundated with thoughts and images of who we should be that the effort to discover who we really are is frightening. We want to be like and loved and the teens years are filled with the angst of trying to fit in. Then we spend the rest of our adult life complying to social norms. It takes courage to be authentic. It means loving ourselves for being ourselves.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Is Your Business Brain Headed for Burnout?My Profile

  2. Ikechi

    Hi Marquita

    Although people see it different, i believe that it is less stressful to be yourself and more of a burden to be someone else.

    I like the quotes you shared as i gained so much insight on being authentic. I also agree that to be authentic means that you should not be bothered by what others feel about you.

    Thank you so much for mentioning my post. What a great articles. Thanks for sharing. Take care

  3. You are so right, Marquita, that being authentic means so many different things to different people. I agree that it’s very important to identify what our own core values are. For me it also means basing them on a Source higher than me so that they’re on a solid foundation. Enjoyed reading your post and many of the quotations that hit the proverbial nail on the head. 🙂
    Yvonne A Jones recently posted…5 Simple Hacks to Increase Productivity in Small BusinessMy Profile

  4. Great article Becoming who you are. Being authentic. It takes some time to finally understand who you are. Loved the quotes but especially this one “To be authentic is to create a life that feels good on the inside. Not one that just looks good on the outside” Over the course of a lifetime it does not matter how you look, it matters how you feel inside.
    Kathryn Maclean recently posted…Pinterest – Many ways to attract your ideal clientsMy Profile

  5. One thing that resounds with me from this blog is that part of the basis of being authentic is making sure that you are living life based on your values and not just what you grew up with–parents, peers, people.

    I was very blessed to grow up with parents and a family who had strong core values. There was right and wrong and although a tolerance for gray existed, if you operated in that area, you’d better have a good reason for doing so.

    Because of that base, it actually took a long time into adulthood for me to realize I needed to make sure that I was living my own values–even if they remained similar to my parents. That’s something I strive to do every day. Be honest, speak the truth and do my best to look myself in the mirror.
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Downtown Tucson, Arizona is an Eclectic Mix of Old and NewMy Profile

  6. sazia kazia says:

    Hi, This article is so touchy and very valid points explained. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tips with us.
    sazia kazia recently posted…Top Search Engine Optimization Technique Trends 2017My Profile

  7. Vatsala Shukla

    I loved all the curated quotes, Marquita and yes, JoyBell C’s quote is very relevant in today’s day and age.

    I stay in integrity and authentic by following the simple principle of walking my talk and if I can’t make that commitment to myself, then I keep quiet. 😉
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Procrastination: It’s powerful impact on important Needs & Life GoalsMy Profile

  8. Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos

    Marquita, I think this a timely blog. There are so many workshops and Events to teach you how to be your Authentic Self when in fact they are teaching you how to be what is authentic to themselves and forget that what makes us truly authentic is different for everyone. If we are not authentic others will be so disappointed when the Authentic self surfaces and people in our lives find they have fallen in love with a stranger. Great Blog!

  9. Teresa Salhi

    I’m lovin’ so many of these quotes. This one pulls me in so much and is what I am so much reaching for every day for myself and others – *To be authentic is to create a life that feels good on the inside. Not one that just looks good on the outside. ~Author Unknown

  10. William Rusho

    Be true to yourself is an old saying, I do sometimes worry about people, who think being authentic and real, means saying what ever you mean even if it is being rude and ignorant.
    We do have to balance who we are, and what impact we have on the others.
    William Rusho recently posted…Albany, A View from a WindowMy Profile

  11. Edward Thorpe

    Hi Marquita,

    Loved this post about becoming & being authentic! Enjoyed all the quotes, especially the wrap-up, but the ones attributed to Dan Pearce & Steve Goodier appealed most.

    Thinking about core beliefs should be a young person’s endeavor. Yet, experience should finetune them over the years. Until, some day, you’ve no guilt when you look anyone in the eye and say “No, thank you, I’ve other plans…”

    Of course, that example is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg…Thanks for a good read, Edward
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…Five Reasons Yoga Will Extend and Enhance Your LifeMy Profile

  12. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    Great topic once again. Being authentic is like closing out all the “noise” in your head that is negative. It is just being yourself without thinking how others perceive you. Acceptance of self is a freeing feeling.

    I love your quotes especially *To be authentic is to create a life that feels good on the inside. Not one that just looks good on the outside. ~Author Unknown

    Donna Merrill recently posted…7 Ideal SEO Techniques to Pump Out More Traffic To Your Blog TodayMy Profile

  13. Jeri

    I have been consistently told I am an authentic person, and I’ve finally made the move to embrace that with my writing. I am steadfast and rarely veer from my core values. It’s hard to explain. One of the things my ex noted about me was how I am always strong and do the right thing. I accept who I am, but am still brave enough at times to break out of my comfort zone. That’s a way to continually test one’s mettle.
    Jeri recently posted…#AuthorInterview: Donna CookMy Profile

  14. Wonderfully insightful post, Marty. Authenticity is a fascinating topic, and one that I truly search for in the people that I profile in my work as a writer.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Adorable Chocolat, best chocolate east of QuebecMy Profile

  15. Chery Schmidt

    Hello Marty! What a great post my friend! I really enjoyed all your quotes yet the one that really stuck with me is “To be authentic is to create a life that feels good on the inside. Not one that just looks good on the outside”

    Oh So True! Thanks for sharing,…
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Start Programming Your Mind For SuccessMy Profile

  16. Mandy Allen

    Great quotes here and they illustrate your topic so very well. A few people I have never heard of that you are quoting, always great to expand my knowledge!

    Enjoy the journey!

  17. Rosary says:

    What an interesting post! I think authenticity is being happy with who you are and what you have. It’s only when you can accept yourself for what you are that others can accept you for who you truly are. That sounds very cryptic but I’m not really sure how else I can put it. Basically authenticity is being comfortable in your own skin and living your life knowing that it’s fully yours, not anyone else’s. Thank you for sharing!
    Rosary recently posted…[comic] – getting sidetrackedMy Profile

    • Sounds great Rosary, and while the point is definitely to be happy with who you are, the question is who ARE you? For example, can you list your core values – the values that best represent what you stand for in this life? Thanks for sharing and contributing to the conversation!

  18. Mark

    Thanks for sharing another outstanding post M!

    I virtually love all of your quotes! But especially, the ones by Dan Pearce, Charlie Chaplin, Rachel Archelaus and Nathaniel Branden.

    And I love your passage in your second paragraph, where you ask us to question, how much of our -so called- core values, are merely holdovers from our childhood and or the influence of others?

    So there’s a thought, worth seriously considering. LOL! And I also love where you pointed out, authentic people, definitely are more resilient and feel better about themselves!

    I’m all for more of that!LOL! Thanks M! For sharing another fun and extremely helpful read! As per usual!
    Mark recently posted…Since Your Small Business Can Generate Marketing Leverage Why Pay For Advertising?My Profile

  19. Phoenicia

    Thought provoking post, Marquita.

    Authenticity is about being true. It means presenting the “real” you rather than who people think you are. The words “transparency” and “sincerity” come to mind. Though I do not ram it down their throats, my colleagues are aware I am a Christian and heavily involved in ministry. It is a huge part of my life and therefore factors in the;

    “How was your weekend?”
    “Are you doing anything nice this weekend?” conversations.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Does frustration get the better of you?My Profile

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