We’ve established the importance of authenticity, as discussed in a previous article. However, society doesn’t always encourage authenticity, and societal norms even shape its definition.
People strive for authenticity because it’s attainable and commendable.
Now, let’s examine the common obstacles that hinder us from embracing our authentic selves, including societal beliefs and thought patterns.
Society’s Limitations on Authenticity: How Some Roles Are More Dominant Than Others?
Every person plays a unique role in society’s fabric, be it as a rockstar, a lover, a scientist, an artist, or a businessperson. Each part furthers societal progress, but some overshadow others, and societal norms can restrict certain roles.
Philosophers, profound thinkers, artistic souls, and activists, similar to authentic individuals, often encounter limitations or suppression. By “suppression,” we mean their contributions are not adequately recognized or rewarded. This limitation directly hampers the potential of these authentic individuals.
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Society’s Limitations on Authenticity
Society often prioritizes its needs and desires, and authentic individuals who can meet those needs without clashing with society’s core roles may become more attractive, loved, and supported.
However, many authentic people don’t fit society’s norms and rules. If you do fit in without issues, you might experience benefits like higher status, love, and support from society (or at least an increased likelihood of it).
How Can We Measure or Evaluate Our Level of Authenticity?
What Are Some Indicators We Are Being Authentic or Inauthentic?
In truth, “authenticity” is innate to all of us and cannot be directly measured.
What sets us apart is our demonstration of authenticity. Are you showcasing your authentic self to others and living by your terms and beliefs?
The concern isn’t about the extent of authenticity but the capability to project it to people and society. You might embrace society completely, yet your authenticity level could surpass that of someone who rejects culture, believing they are more “authentic.”
How Can We Differentiate Between a Genuine Desire for Authenticity and a Coping Mechanism to Fit in With Societal Norms?
Authenticity isn’t about becoming more charismatic or popular. While there’s no harm in seeking approval, it’s not genuinely desired by all and can become a way to manipulate authenticity for false self-esteem.
Being authentic doesn’t mean neglecting societal responsibilities or primal needs, like refusing to drink water. Authenticity is about knowing and respecting our true selves and our biological necessities.
Regardless of societal approval, authenticity isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about standing out as uniquely you.
How Can Self-discovery Through Music, Dance, Philosophy, or Spiritual Practices Help Individuals Find Their Authenticity and Unique Character?
Philosophy and self-discovery are crucial to uncovering authenticity. This exploration can happen through music, dance, or spiritual practices like meditation, atheism, Taoism, or Sufism. Any pursuit that allows you to connect with your core being and express your true self can aid in revealing your authenticity.
Authentic people tend to have contradictions, which make them unique and unpredictable. One of my favorite quotes on this topic is from the mystic Sufi poet Shams-i Tabrizi:
― Shams-i Tabrizi
“We can only learn and advance with contradictions.
The faithful inside should meet the doubtful. The doubtful should meet the faithful. Human slowly advances and becomes mature when he accepts his contradictions.”
This profound insight into human nature provides a valuable experience for life, thoughts, and paradigms. It also serves as a duality, as the Taoists call it, the “yin-yang” balance.
Anything that helps you “discovers” and become true to yourself contributes to your authenticity.
For example, in “The iceman,” Wim Hof is authentic not just because he can withstand the cold but also because of his way of living and perceiving life.
I hope the article has helped you understand authenticity and given you some perspective on the topic. I strongly recommend you check out my article for a more detailed version.