8 Acts Of Authenticity
Experts offer their views on how to lead the authentic life.
- Read novels. “It’s the best way to figure out what it feels like to be in someone else’s head—and that’s what helps us to distinguish our own identity.”
- Meditate. “Meditative absorption creates moments of happiness not contingent on outcomes or external factors or manipulation of the environment. From that platform you can investigate how to create real fulfillment.”
- Be deliberate. “Authenticity consists in being aware that you have choices and consciously choosing what you do.”
- But not too deliberate. “People often make better decisions when they don’t think about them. Go with your gut. Authentic reactions are much more at a gut level.”
- Cultivate solitude. “Quiet and time for the self are a big plus. If you’re worried about inauthenticity, there’s nothing like shutting the door.”
- But stay connected. “Community is an outlook toward life in which you define yourself in relation to the world around you, rather than only in connection with yourself. I recommend enlarging the sense of self.”
- Play hard. “Whether it’s taking an art class, playing basketball, running, or just hanging out with friends, doing something you really enjoy allows you to express who you really are.”
- And be willing to lose. “Feelings of inauthenticity are heightened by a lack of a philosophy that allows failure to be part of life. If you’re leading a full life, you’re going to fail some every day.”
Eudaimonia refers to a state of well-being and full functioning that derives from a sense of living in accordance with one’s deeply held values—in other words, from a sense of authenticity. Some characteristics of the eudaimonic life include:
- Being open to experience without censorship or distortion
- Living fully in the moment, so the self feels fluid rather than static
- Trusting inner experience to guide behavior
- Feeling free to respond rather than automatically react to life events
- Taking a creative approach to living, rather than relying on routine and habit.