Tips for Authenticity
A quick guide for educators, parents, and individuals on teaching and practicing authenticity
How to Teach Authenticity
1. Encourage kids to pursue their passions, share what they like, and express their emotions
We live in a world in which our success is often defined by the number of dollars in our bank account rather than our happiness. This limits people’s abilities to be their authentic selves. Encouraging children to find what they are passionate about takes away the societal pressure of earning more money and replaces it with the goal of finding happiness and fulfillment: in the way most authentic for them.
2. Model behavior that illustrates staying truthful
By modeling authentic behavior yourself, kids will learn the value of simply being how they want to be.
3. Understand body language and adapt to circumstances.
Being aware of body language is important because if you see that your child is uncomfortable with something, it is your responsibility to point it out, understand why, and not force them to do something that feels inauthentic. This ability to adapt to circumstances will teach your child that their feelings and instincts are valid, and when possible, they should stick to what makes them feel happy and content.
How to Practice Authenticity
1. Tell the truth, but keep empathy in mind
Constantly telling the truth leads to consistency with what you think and what you say. This uniformity of thought and word keeps you at peace and allows you to be truthful and authentic around others.
However, sometimes, silence rather than blatant truth is also beneficial. It is unnecessary to criticize something if you have no constructive feedback or reasoning. These criticisms are not authentic to yourself or the object of your critique. On the contrary, as a Greater Good Berkeley article puts it, "our feelings are always true" (Carter).
“Just keep being true to yourself, if you’re passionate about something go for it. Don’t sacrifice anything, just have fun.” -Blake Lewis
2. Let your body point you towards what is true for you
Our bodies react to what we say; they know when something is true and when something doesn’t feel quite right. Whether our jaw clenches, or our shoulder raises, or our body tightens, we have a physical reaction to telling a lie. Thus, when faced with a decision of truth, listen to your body’s instincts; your body might know better than your mind.
3. Stay in your own truth and let others be
It is easy to want what is best for other people. However, the only person that knows what is best for you is yourself. Staying focused on your truth allows you to be present for your own needs and lets others do the same for themselves.
4. Accept all of yourself, including the challenging aspects
When we accept the parts of ourselves that we don't like, we recognize that we are all simply human. We all make mistakes; mistakes allow us to grow and learn more about ourselves and the world. Once we realize this, we no longer obsess over ourselves and fitting societal norms; instead, we focus on living our most authentic life and doing what makes us happy.
Written By: Sonali Agarwal | Camp Kindness Counts TIPS Intern
Carter, Christine. “Five Ways to Be Fully Authentic.” Greater Good, 21 June 2017, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_ways_to_be_fully_authentic.
Davis, Tchiki. “Develop Authenticity: 20 Ways to Be a More Authentic Person.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 15 Apr. 2019, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201904/develop-authenticity-20-ways-be-more-authentic-person.