It's a real eye opener for me. And a huge disappointment.
Of course, as with most things in life, this disappointment could be in my own naivety. Or gullibility. Either way, it is disappointing. Even at my age. Which is old. Unless you're older, then I guess I'm not THAT old.
But I am old enough to know better, to use better judgement when determining the authenticity of others. Sometimes, though, we might not discover that someone we've known for YEARS is not an authentic person until one day, during a conversation with the right person at the right time. Or merely from observation.
So, what determines whether or not a person is authentic? Here's what I think:
1. Tell the truth. They are not going to say something because it's what's expected or because it's what someone wants to hear. They are going to be truthful regardless. They are open and possess integrity. They have nothing to hide.
2. Do not pretend. You know who they are because they are who they are regardless of where they are with whom they are spending their time. They can't help it. They have to be themselves. And they cannot be swayed.
3. Are responsible. For their lives, their actions, for everything they say and do. And they do not try to turn anything around on someone else. They step up.
4. Do not need approval or validation. Authentic people don't really care what others think about them. They are comfortable with themselves and they like themselves. They don't need someone else to make them feel this way.
5. Are not envious of others. Instead, an authentic person is happy for the success of others. You will probably even see them being a motivating force behind the success of others.
6. Do not judge. Authentic people tend towards being nonjudgmental. However, being human makes being totally nonjudgmental difficult. When an authentic person falls into this trap, they seem to do so in a more positive manner. They treat others with respect and compassion regardless of whether or not they agree or disagree with them.
7. Listen. They care enough about others to take the time to truly listen to what they have to say. They make real connections with others.
8. Fail. Yep, authentic people fail. But they learn from it instead of getting frustrated and quit. They know how to regroup, reevaluate and try again. Or, if a brand new route is called for, they take it willingly and with enthusiasm.
9. Do not sit still. Not that they don't rest but they don't just sit idly and let life pass them by. They go out and embrace their surroundings. They do things. They have fun. They enjoy life.
10. Have no hidden agenda. They do things for others without expectation of return but, rather, because they are nice, caring people. There is no hidden agenda with authentic folks.
That's my top ten characteristics of authentic people. Am I authentic? In some ways, but I certainly have a lot of work to do. After some recent discoveries of a few people I know, what I've decided is that it's time for some self-reflection.
I can't make others be authentic. But I can work on myself.
Are you authentic?
This is Day 1 of the A-Z Challenge!