The Merriam dictionary defines it as “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character” or “not false or imitation: real, actual.”
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about authenticity. Just being real and showing your raw, beautiful self. But why does it seem that nowadays it is so hard for some to just be real? What has made our generation of millennials lack the power of authenticity?
The bigger question is, what is killing our authenticity?
Answer #1: Approval.
Our generation has become so broken, hurt, and hopeless from the extreme pressure of obtaining perfection that they no longer know how to show their true identity. Everyone wants to feel accepted. Everyone wants approval. Through social media, some of us have allowed our true selves to sink into the deep waters of trying to be like others. Our generation has become so cautious of what others think about them more now than ever in history. So we become less of ourselves and try so hard to be like someone else.
Think about it. Millennials post on Instagram almost every day just to let the world know what they are eating for lunch or what their daily “to-dos” consist of. We only post what will bestow as approved. You don’t post your mother’s three-day-old leftovers, right? You post your grand and delicious-looking entrée from a five-star restaurant. And why? Oh, because everyone else is doing it. Why is it that many young people today just want to jump on the bandwagon? People have stopped being true to themselves and showing a unique character because it’s just easier to do what everybody else is doing.
We have become a “monkey-see, monkey-do” generation.
Answer #2: Pointlessness.
The older I become, the less is see authenticity. It has become seemingly dead all for the sake of approval and the “pointless” mindset. And the older I become, the more I realize how valuable and scarce authentic relationships truly are.
If I were to ask you what the majority of your conversation pieces are, would they follow a certain pattern such as:
- Your latest new outfit from Zara.
- Your friend’s new relationship status on Facebook.
- The latest “gossip” with ____ that your best friend said about _____ the other day.
Sounds like a typical conversation, right? The only problem is that these are all surface-level, shallow, and superficial topics. Am I saying that it is wrong to be excited about a new outfit that you got on sale the other day at Zara? No, absolutely not. But my point is to not allow the things that really don’t matter at the end of the day (like a new outfit) to consume and dry out your real self. Pointless things lead to aimless minds that result in unauthentic characters. For example, we have allowed our opinion of ourselves to be based off what others think they know about us through social media.
Don’t agree with me? Listen to this startling fact by The Sun, a UK news company: “Pretty Scale is . . . a cruel website which ranks your beauty from one to 100.” After looking at images that women (and men) posted on this website, I saw results such as big forehead, big chin, wide mouth, bad face symmetry, and the list goes on.
You are probably thinking, What is so wrong about this? Well, The Sun also states, “Pretty Scale quickly boomed in popularity and now gets 20,000 to 40,000 hits a month, but a body image charity has slammed it as being ‘dangerous.'” People, like you and me, are all looking for acceptance.
Be Real. Be Authentic. Be Genuine.
Show the world the real “you” just as God created you.
The other day I went to IHOP with some girlfriends, and our time together was genuinely overall awesome. Here’s why: Did we take our phones out and use our social media as a hook for something (or someone) to talk about? No. Did we take selfies of ourselves and quickly post them on social media to let the world see? No. We had a nice cup of coffee in our hands, cell phones put away, and we were engaged in authentic, real conversations. It was so great to see that I was actually able to be around friends who didn’t need to talk about aimless topics or hang out on their cellphones to fill time.
And guess what: there is beauty in pure authenticity!
I want to be a woman that offers genuine beauty — to invite others to go deeper in genuine conversation that’s actually fruitful. A conversation that concerns others and is not just self-absorbed. To have a true character that will fill others in such a positive way.
So, listen to the type of words that are coming out of your mouth. Let your words give life. Let your heart have a soulful beauty that inspires. Be a woman who knows when to listen and when to speak. A woman who doesn’t listen to speak, but listens to understand.
Authenticity is powerful. Live it. Cultivate it.
“There is an abundant need for your exact brand of Beautiful.” – Lysa Terkeurst
I want to believe that I am who I am and nothing will change that. This world doesn’t need more fake or masked people. Acceptance will not change me. Aimless wondering will not change me. Social media influence will not change me. The only thing that will continue to shape me is Christ. Staying true to who you are and to your unique authentic self is so essential to being an amazing soul. We are uniquely and wonderfully made by our Creator.
Jessica Wyatt is a senior at Indiana University and will be graduating this upcoming spring of 2019 with her Bachelor of Liberal Studies (B.L.S.) degree. She then plans on pursuing her Master of Science (M.S.) degree in International Studies. She resides in the little town of Paragon, Indiana. Jessica attends Emmanuel Apostolic Church and is involved as a praise singer and Sunday school teacher. She enjoys the outdoors, her Shih Tzu (Lola), traveling abroad, reading, and pursuing health & wellness. Most importantly, her ultimate desire is to please her Creator & Eternal Savior with her life and to reflect His love to all mankind. Follow her on Instagram @jessicawyatt_.