Why Can’t All of Us Live an Authentic Life?

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Article by Wendy McCance

A talk with my oldest daughter has triggered a question I can’t seem to shake.  Why is it so hard for people to be authentic?  When do people stop being their true self and start faking it?

When we are kids, I mean before you even enter kindergarten, you are the purest version of yourself.  At such a young age, it would be difficult to be anything but authentic because you don’t have enough life experience to pull off acting in another way or considering that faking who you are could be a good idea.  Nope, little kids are the best.  What you see is what you get.  Period.

Somewhere along the way, maybe a kid is 8 or 9 or 10, it occurs to them that there is a hierarchy of sorts.  Some kids are more popular than others and so the days of trying to be something that the kid is not becomes a theme in their life.  Acceptance is everything and everyone wants to be accepted.

Here’s the thing though, being something you aren’t isn’t impressive and usually makes you look worse than if you were basking in your own personal greatness.  It’s a crazy thought that people would rather make themselves look worse by coming across as fake than to just be themselves.

I just don’t get it.  Everyone has done it, hell I did it too, but why does everyone at one point or another feel it is a better choice to become something they aren’t than to just be themself?  Is it that much easier when someone is turned off by “fake” you than by who you really are?  Is it easier to play it off with excuses like they didn’t really know me so I can’t be hurt that they don’t like me?  But, I still don’t get it.  People connect to each other based on feelings.  If someone is unable to show how they feel, how do they expect others to connect to them?  It’s like in art, music, writing and dance, the more you are able to show others how you feel, the more others will connect to you.

Here’s the kicker, vulnerability is the key to connecting on a deep level.  After so many years trying to conform to a particular mold to make others happy, people start to wake up and then they are drawn to the few people who are bold enough to celebrate living in their own skin.

People who are happiest being themselves are the ones that others are mesmerized by.  What secret do they know?  How were they able to shed away any insecurities and delight in being who they really are?  How do others learn that same trick?  These are the people who are creative, who will accept living with the happy moments and the tragic moments because they are ultimately living a real life.  They get one chance on earth to do it right and they choose the authentic route because it feels best and creates the most intense feelings, ideas and abilities.  Sort of like a superhero.

When you live an authentic life, the places you can go are unimaginable.  Living in a way where you trust your gut, staying true to yourself and surrounding yourself with like-minded people inspires and propels you toward intense amounts of personal and professional success.  It’s that moment when you lift the veil of society and wipe the outside images from your brain. You are satisfied with the way you view things and depend on yourself to take care of having a life worth living.  You become strong and wise and lose the ability to be easily manipulated.  You become proud and curious and don’t worry about asking when you don’t know and don’t fear doing it wrong as long as it was something you wanted and it wasn’t to please others.

Why can’t all of us live an authentic life?  Can you imagine all of the amazing things that would be discovered?  Can you see how much less people would be hurt by taking pride in celebrating who they are.  The strength of the people would be incredible.  A happier vibe would take over.  Will the world ever wake up and enjoy just being who they really are?

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com
Wendy McCance

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10 thoughts on “Why Can’t All of Us Live an Authentic Life?

  1. Hi Wendy, I deal with this on a daily basis, because I teach acting just North of Detroit. Actors have to be trained to be vulnerable, that’s what I do. But they also have to trained to be self-confident. Most of what I do for actors is show them how to get out of their own way and be genuine (read authentic). I have a definition for a Self-confident person: someone who has thoughtfully arrived at their opinions and who holds their opinions as the most important. That makes everyone else’s opinions just information to be considered, not dismissed, but just considered seriously before accepting as true. If you like the way you look and someone else states they don’t – it’s just an opinion to be considered. It doesn’t make you go home and change, it is just information. There is also the situation that lots of people don’t really make enough informed choices about life, so they don’t actually have an “authentic” self. Then there are the societal, familial and religious pressures that cause us to “act” in a certain fashion without making choices, except that we choose to mindlessly conform. If you are looking for people to be “authentic,” then you will first have to ask them to be personally responsible for who they are. They will have to to do some serious thinking before they will know what they actually think. Personally, I have found that a lot of people are not willing to do the work and take the responsibility. Michael at Acting On Instinct

    • Hi Michael, I love the way you defined a self-confident person. Sounds like you would be a terrific acting teacher!! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

    • Michael’s remark regarding ‘taking self-confident action to responsibly choose for oneself’ powerfully connects with me -*- as do these ‘How to’ details I supportively offer to others as ‘WELL’ (as this fits & flows for me):

      Choose to GO LIVE WELL -*- & Simply Do IT (genuinely/authentically-compassionately-consistently-actively) from & by Heart:

      Believe in Bigger Good-> For You: Actively Love 2 Balance Your Life
      Help Your Life Spirit♥️ Flow Key Steps _-*-_ WELL Power
      Life-Love-Music-Spirit -*- All as One In Harmony

  2. Dear Wendy,
    In a job I recently worked at, I had to portray myself as someone I was not. In order to ingratiate myself with the office administrator, who effectively ran the whole department and also influenced the way papers moved back and forth or up and down the organisation, I had to conform to be on that person’s good side in order that I could survive in that place.
    One day I got sick of living the duplicate life, which I hated, and quit the job.
    Now I am on a limbo with no job, no money, lot of taunts ( from ” well-wishers”) but I have my self respect intact and I am loving myself more than at any time during the past 6 years.
    It is better to live an open book life, easier on yourself and better for the world.

  3. Wendy, you may realize that you began to answer your own ‘Why can’t all of us live an authentic life?’ question with these passages from above: ‘there is a hierarchy of sorts’; ‘Acceptance is everything and everyone wants to be accepted’.

    Beyond this, as we are evolving we are coached to 1) strive for perfection and 2) project an image that will gain social acceptance and approval from others. So, the journey to a) discover ‘Who I really am’ can get clouded; and the path to b) ‘live an authentic life’ can understandably become unclear.

    For some, the youthful energy & passion to explore & individually learn continues on … well beyond the perfectionist’s reluctance (anchored to fear of making mistakes) … and approval seekers’ acceptance-driven actions. While some of us prize ‘keeping our spirit alive’ by ‘being true to oneself’, others seem content to be less adventurous. Beyond my observation that more seem to follow others than lead their own lives these days, is a concern that ‘life spirit’ is being compromised …, as this is precious & can slip away without really being noticed.
    My experience is that the best way to advocate ‘being authentic’ and ‘keeping your spirit alive’ is through one’s own ‘continuous learning & exploring’ example -*- as you have exemplified … via your blogging journey, your recent immersion in music endeavors, & more.

    We learn best with positive examples. Continue on … Thank again -*-

    • Thanks so much for sharing what you have learned. I wish it wasn’t so very difficult for people to celebrate who they are. I wish more people could be happy living in their own skin.

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