What is “Authentic,” “Genuine,” and “Real”?
Would knowing who you really are allow you to be happier and to make better choices in your life?
When we are talking about people and how they comport themselves in the world, I have wondered whether many people would pass the test of being “authentic, genuine, and real?” Now that I have posed that question, I also wonder whether people really care about how they behave as they choose to live their lives. For me, the search for answers begins with finding the definitions of these words based on internet dictionaries… (Most relevant to this article are definitions which are emboldened and underlined.)
Please work your way through these definitions and the article will continue on the other side…
Definition of AUTHENTIC Webster’s
3. not false or imitation : real, actual
5. true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
Or au·then·tic adjective
1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.
2. having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified: an authentic document of the Middle Ages; an authentic work of the old master.
3. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy: an authentic report on poverty in Africa
Definition of GENUINE
1 actually having the reputed or apparent qualities or character b : actually produced by or proceeding from the alleged source or author c : sincerely and honestly felt or experienced d : actual, true
2 free from hypocrisy or pretense : sincere
1. possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real: genuine sympathy; a genuine antique.
2. properly so called: a genuine case of smallpox.
3. free from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere: a genuine person.
4. descended from the original stock; pure in breed: a genuine Celtic people.
1. See authentic. 3. true, unaffected, open, honest, forthright.
Definition of REAL:
Real describes something that is true and authentic or something is very important or significant. (adjective)
1. An example of real is an actual designer purse as opposed to a fake.
2. An example of real is a serious problem.
1. true; not merely ostensible, nominal, or apparent: the real reason for an act.
2. existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious: a story taken from real life.
3. being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary: The events you will see in the film are real and not just made up.
4. being actually such; not merely so-called: a real victory.
5. genuine; not counterfeit, artificial, or imitation; authentic: a real antique; a real diamond; real silk
1. a. Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
b. True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.
c. Of or founded on practical matters and concerns: a recent graduate experiencing the real world for the first time.
2. Genuine and authentic; not artificial or spurious: real mink; real humility.
3. Being no less than what is stated; worthy of the name: a real friend.
4. Free of pretense, falsehood, or affectation: tourists hoping for a real experience on the guided tour.
5. Not to be taken lightly; serious: in real trouble
Definition of SNARKY (Why “snarky”? Because many people attempt to behave in this way and seem to be opposite to actually being “real, authentic, and genuine”.)
adj. snark·i·er, snark·i·est Slang
1. Rudely sarcastic or disrespectful; snide.
2. Irritable or short-tempered; irascible.
adjective: Informal touchy, short-tempered, irritable,
Everyone seems to be able to achieve the status of being authentic, genuine, and real a part of the time. The amount of this time varies greatly based on how important it may seem to be real as opposed to being in a “role” of being the type of character (or person) you may need or want to be seen as. I believe that too many of us spend too much time “acting” or pretending to be someone else because we are not comfortable being who we actually are… I also believe that these “roles” are so comfortable and prevalent that we often do not have a good idea of how to be authentic, genuine or real because we DO NOT KNOW who we actually are… In fact, this lack of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, personal insight, and authenticity is common, accepted, and often preferred by both the person playing the role and the people whom they encounter. Perhaps it is simply easier than being real or genuine.
What would the advantage be to being authentic, genuine, and real?
Would this make life more satisfying?
Would this help to make relationships more solid or real?
Should people strive to be more demonstrative of whom they really are?
And, how do you get to be more authentic, genuine, and real, and live in this true form?
When you meet a person who is genuine and real do you find that you can “TRUST” that person more easily because they do not seem inauthentic? Do relationships benefit from moments when the people in the relationship achieve an interaction which is sincere and genuine?
When we are born, we are genuine, authentic, and real. But, things get complicated and we develop filters by which we begin to experience the world. These filters may be cultural, or from family values, or political, or burdened by religious teachings. We then evaluate and “judge” other people and interactions based on these filters and we often find ourselves acting in character from the filters which we have adopted. Babies are not born as: “born again Christians,” or Muslin Extremists, or “right-wing” angry conservative Republicans, or “left-wing” “bleeding-heart liberals,” or drug addicted “street people,” or over-educated intellectual snobs, or rabid football fans, or tattooed, NASCAR enthusiasts. Babies are exposed to these philosophies and adopt these characteristics from the role models they live with. With that said, are these developed personalities authentic, genuine, or real?
How does common sense, or the lack thereof, play a role in living as a genuine person?
Is the definition of “phony” (or acting “fake”) the opposite of authentic, genuine, and real?
When the time comes that a person realizes that they are not as authentic as they may want to be, how does a person find their way back to an authentic self? And, how will they really know that they have gotten to that internal place of being genuine, real, and authentic? (Is it a feeling of insight or can it be understood by an evaluation process?)
Does being “real” allow for unfiltered, inappropriate, snarkiness and uninhibited impulsivity? In this day and age, many people express themselves through a cynical, sarcastic, and caustic style that seems to be in vogue with many celebrities and pundits who are allowed vast amounts of media exposure. As a society, the tolerance, acceptance, and celebration of this style of behavior appear to communicate the insecurity and need to be condescending toward fellow citizens. This lack of tolerance and respect seems endemic in our culture. Why do we have to put other people or concepts down just to aggrandize ourselves or our opinions?
Also, is there a time in people’s lives when they realize that they have been chasing a dream or expectations that may prove unsatisfying for them? When we are young do we impulsively strive for a cultural expectation of “success” that during “mid-life” (mid-30’s to late 40’s) changes dramatically causing dissatisfaction and unhappiness which can cause dramatic changes in career choices, relationships, and lifestyles? Would better self-awareness with authenticity allow for greater life satisfaction before, during, and after these mid-life travails? Does the desire for mid-life change denote a need to strive toward greater self-awareness, authenticity or genuineness?
It has been a common belief that self-realization gives you power because you know and better understand your own strengths and weaknesses/flaws. If you can remove yourself from being a victim to your expectations or unconscious characters (the roles we assume should bring us happiness or success), then you can make better life choices and find your path to satisfaction and happiness. It may prove difficult and confusing to wade through the old self-concepts and roles that may be getting in your way, however you can achieve self-awareness and a greater sense of being “authentic, genuine, and real.”
If you wish to explore how to become more “authentic” or genuine, with the possibility of increased self-acceptance, consider coaching from the Stress Education Center at www.dstress.com The Stress Education Center offers a coaching process which offers increased self-awareness, personal control, and a self-realization that will allow greater success and life satisfaction.
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