“The authentic self is the soul made visible” - Sarah Ban Breathnach
Conversation with a friend tonight turned to the subject of authenticity. It is a word that is often used on these pages of ours. We struggle for it, we talk about it, we admire it, and rather bizarrely it is also something we try to emulate. But is authenticity something you can find or create? Is it something you have to learn or do we just have it? And how can we tell if it is... authentic or not?
You can usually tell when someone is new to blogging. It is often obvious that they have been reading blogs for awhile. It's the lingo that gives them away. I know this because I did the same thing. I knew what sort of people I wanted to meet and I tried to leave comments that would entice them back to my blog. Very quickly I learned that it was too hard to pretend to be something I am not. As soon as I started leaving comments that were more like me and less like everyone else I started to make friends. I started being authentic.
Authentic is your voice. Authentic is your essence. Authentic is the you that you are in your head. It is honesty about what you stand for and what you want to say. It's not the nuts and bolts of your every day, or what you think people want to hear. You know authenticity when you see it. It's the reason that some blogs 'resonate' (there's that lingo again) and some blogs don't. If someone is being authentic, they give us permission to do the same. It's only natural to want that.
So back to my question. Is authenticity something you have to learn or do we just have it? I've come to think that authenticity is something that you must lean into. It's something that you have to stand at the edge of and test over and over again until you are comfortable with the view. It's about knowing who you are and being okay with that, warts and all. If you can do that, write from that place, and stop trying to be like anyone else, you will find what we are all looking for.
I'll keep leaning into it if you will.