How Can We Better Understand Authentic Behavior?
Authenticity is defined as the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions. It is the sincerest form of honesty and means that in all of your actions in life, you are acting with no intention that is not clear and you are truthful with every word you speak.
Authenticity is often compromised because of the pressure to appear to be a certain kind of person, the pressure to adopt a particular mode of living, the pressure to ignore one’s own moral and aesthetic objections to have a more comfortable existence.
Taking into account the views and opinions of Jean Paul Sartre, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Erich Fromm, the existentialists, we have compiled the 8 different characteristics and definitions of authentic behavior and authenticity.
1. Authenticity Comes From Within
Because of its nature, authenticity has to come from the persons own will. It can not be learned by repeating a set of actions. That, in itself is the opposite of being authentic. In this way, it is linked with creativity as it is original and not arrived at by repeating instructions.
2. It Is How You Relate To The World
Authenticity is a very general concept and it is not tied with any political or cultural ideology. It is how you interact with the world. Acting without authenticity, we ignore crucial facts about their own lives in order to avoid uncomfortable truths which can be harmful to us.
3. You Are Not Encouraged To Be Authentic
External influencing factors like the media and society on the whole do not support authentic and personal behavior. Your opinions can be formed by the news and your likes and dislikes dictated by advertising and the media. It is easy to follow and conform, but in this way, you are not being authentic. You should face reality, make a choice and then passionately stick to it.
4. Its Your Responsibility
An authentic person is someone who elevates themselves over others in order to transcend the limits of conventional morality in trying to decide for oneself about good and evil, without regard for the virtues. It is important to trust your judgements and avoid commonly held beliefs by questioning them for yourself, without blindly following and abiding.
5. Being Authentic Is Being Creative
Whether it is writing or any other form of art, authenticity is hard to achieve. Artists are motivated to conform to accepted norms and restricted if they want to achieve success. And authentic artists must transcend and create something original and unique to them alone. The art, whatever form it takes, is more valuable when it is created authentically.
6. Its Where New Ideas Come From
As someone who makes a conscious decision to create their actions from an authentic place, you will be able to contribute more value in your thoughts, words and actions. The consequence of this is positive and ensures that as a person you grow, mature, create yourself and project yourself into the future.
7. Trusting Others Authentically
Behaving in a way that is accepted by society, or in accordance of societal norms can also be called authentic if it results from personal understanding of its drives and origins. If you are following because you agree with the reasons behind it instead of following through blind faith, this can also be called authentic behavior.
8. Culture Can Be Inauthentic
Cultural norms can be inauthentic because they are often forced on people and also because they require people to behave in-authentically towards their own desires. It is then difficult to understand the true reason behind peoples actions.
Further reading on Authenticity:
Jean Paul Sartre – Existentialism Is a Humanism
‘The idea of freedom occupies the center of Sartre’s doctrine. Man, born into an empty, godless universe, is nothing to begin with. He creates his essence—his self, his being—through the choices he freely makes (“existence precedes essence”). Were it not for the contingency of his death, he would never end. Choosing to be this or that is to affirm the value of what we choose. In choosing, therefore, we commit not only ourselves but all of mankind.’
Soren Kierkegaard – Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing
‘Through irony, dialogue, and parable, Kierkegaard slices through the masks and fascades we construct that delude us into thinking that all is well with our soul. With the skill and precision of a surgeon’s hand, Kierkegaard opens up the true condition of our motivations in life and faith. Kierkegaard is not afraid to stare in the face the dark side of our humanity.’
Paul Tillich – The Courage to Be
‘Tillich is concerned with how the question of finding the courage to face up to existential doubts about death, meaninglessness, and guilt are tied to the ontological questions of being versus nonbeing. How can we affirm our existence when it seems so temporary, meaningless and full of moral failure?’