We live in a competitive world — and social media has intensified the game.
We’re constantly bombarded with images and ideas about how we should be, look, and act.
Peer pressure — at all ages — may warp our self-esteem.
Resultantly, we let marketing “ideals” guide our paths and become increasingly uncomfortable in our own skin.
Which begs the question: How can you be an authentic person?
To that end, we’re unpacking the characteristics of an authentic person below.
- What Does It Mean to Be An Authentic Person?
- 13 Signs You Are An Authentic Person
- 1. You Don’t Fill Social Media With “Backdoor Brags”
- 2. You Don’t “Status Lie”
- 3. You’re Accepting
- 4. You Acknowledge Your Own Mistakes
- 5. You’re Not Very Judgmental
- 6. You’re More Empathetic
- 7. You Have a Healthy Grasp on Reality
- 8. You Regularly Engage in Self-Reflection
- 9. You Don’t Become Ruinously Jealous
- 10. You’re Emotionally Mature
- 11. You Aren’t Afraid To Speak Up
- 12. You’re a Good Listener
- 13. You’re Confident But Not Arrogant
- Who Are Some Authentic People?
What Does It Mean to Be An Authentic Person?
In the broadest sense, authentic people are those without much distance between their behaviors and beliefs.
They know who they are and don’t try to hide it.
Examples of being authentic include:
- Being true to your values
- Refraining from the status game
- Putting compassion ahead of want
- Avoiding the pull to be someone you’re not to conform
- Knowing how to apologize
- Taking responsibility for your life
At first, being authentic may seem like the easiest thing. But in truth, it’s one of the most challenging personal growth hurdles humans face because of a sociological phenomenon known as “contextual determinism.”
In short, it means: “We are what we know.” The people and influences around us shape us.
For example, someone who grew up in a fundamentalist community will have very different views and biases than someone who grew up on an inclusive, atheist compound.
Moreover, we play various roles in life (partner, child, parent, professional, friend, et cetera), and they require different attitudes and outlooks.
So, in a way, nobody can be 100% authentic at all times. But the more you are, the better you’ll feel.
13 Signs You Are An Authentic Person
Authenticity is something to strive for. Life becomes much more manageable, fulfilling, and enjoyable when we operate from a place of peace and humble confidence.
The studies are in, and they prove that authenticity is an excellent mental health balm.
So today, we’re looking at 13 examples of being authentic.
1. You Don’t Fill Social Media With “Backdoor Brags”
Do you know someone who constantly posts “backdoor brags” on their social media? Or perhaps they publish “perfect pictures” every day.
On the one hand, you’re happy for them. On the other hand, their “my life is flawless” shtick is starting to work your last nerve.
People who don’t feel the need to showcase a “perfect life” on their public-facing accounts are usually authentic.
There’s nothing wrong with occasionally sharing good news or a picture of your family, partners, or vacations. But if you do it daily, it becomes a bit obnoxious, and authentic people usually don’t engage in that kind of status jockeying.
Tough Love Tip: If you tend to “social brag,” ask yourself why you do it. Don’t lie to yourself. Is it because you’re trying to fit a specific mold?
2. You Don’t “Status Lie”
Are you a status liar?
If so, don’t beat yourself up. Many people share this flaw — but authentic people have overcome it.
Why? Because they’re comfortable in their own skin and not obsessed with status.
That doesn’t mean authentic people don’t bother with nice things. However, they never shove it in anyone’s face and don’t use material possessions as an assessment gauge.
Tough Love Tip: If you catch yourself lying about money or assets to impress, try not to beat yourself up. Many people go through that stage. However, do try to turn a leaf.
Ultimately, you’ll be happier if you give up on “fitting in.” And remember, 9.5 times out of 10, the people with whom you’re trying to “keep up” are faking the funk themselves.
3. You’re Accepting
Authentic people are accepting people. Not only do they cut themselves slack, but they also extend the same grace to others.
Furthermore, authentic people appreciate their own company. Spending a weekend alone doesn’t phase them. Additionally, they’re not the kind of people who always try to appear like the most popular person on the planet.
Accepting people are interested in becoming the best possible them, but they never judge other folks for not having the same drive or abilities as themselves.
Tough Love Tip: If you waltz around saying you’re accepting but are constantly talking about other people behind their backs, you still have a long way to go. If you genuinely believe you’re not judgmental but totally are, your journey is even longer.
4. You Acknowledge Your Own Mistakes
One of the most challenging hurdles to clear is learning to acknowledge your mistakes and faults.
Sure, we can spot our inner critics — but we aren’t nearly as great at identifying our actual faults and mistakes. Plus, humans are terrible at absorbing constructive criticism without taking it personally and throwing a fit.
And yet, we’re superheroes at pinpointing other people’s rough edges.
Overcoming fixable personality faults — like dishing it but not taking it — is the work of authentic people.
Moreover, they religiously learn from their mistakes and embrace them. They don’t stomp off in a fit of high dudgeon when someone gives feedback about their behavior or work.
Tough Love Tip: Fault bragging doesn’t count. For example, if the only faults you think you have are “working too hard” or “being too nice,” head back to the drawing board.
5. You’re Not Very Judgmental
We touched on this concept above, but let’s state it clearly: authentic people aren’t super judgmental.
It’s human nature to have opinions. But constantly turning your nose up at other people and spreading rumors isn’t authentic behavior.
(Seriously, don’t be that person. It’s not cool; it’s obnoxious, and karma will eventually find you.)
Tough Love Tip: Highly judgmental folks frequently believe they’re angels who never think or talk badly about anyone who doesn’t deserve it. If this sounds like you, it’s time to stare down your shadow.
6. You’re More Empathetic
Are you able to see things from other people’s perspectives? Do you even attempt to do so?
Empathy and genuine compassion are hallmarks of authentic people. They make an effort to understand others’ viewpoints. You needn’t agree with everyone. In fact, it’s fine to disagree vehemently.
However, going along with the crowd for the sake of “fitting in” isn’t something authentic people generally do.
Tough Love Tip: A lot of self-centered people claim the empath crown. Where do you fall? (Hint: If you immediately thought, “Oh, I’m definitely an empath,” you may want to dig deeper because true empaths don’t think like that.)
7. You Have a Healthy Grasp on Reality
Quirkiness is a fun quality. Dreaming big is also a good idea. Moreover, you should never let other people convince you you’re not capable or good enough.
They are dead wrong. Sure, things may come easier to some folks, but the effectiveness of hard work is well documented.
Ultimately, there’s a difference between reaching for the stars and being delusional.
For example, if you’re a 55-year-old person with ovaries, the chances of naturally giving birth to 10 more children is probably not in the cards for you.
Authentic folks tend to have a healthy grasp of reality.
Tough Love Tip: Are you the type of person who regularly and passive-aggressively belittles other people’s intelligence or talents?
It’s a terrible quality, and you’re probably doing it because you’re cripplingly insecure about your own. You’re not a bad person, but you do need to work on that.
8. You Regularly Engage in Self-Reflection
Life is a journey, and figuring yourself out is a part of the trip. The quest to become a genuinely compassionate, kind, accepting, fulfilled and peaceful person is challenging but worth every second.
Reaching a point where you fully accept yourself and others feels downright miraculous.
Anxiety escapes to more accommodating grounds, and you no longer need to lug around that material-status monkey on your back. It’s blissful.
But getting there requires self-reflection.
Tough Love Tip: If you always conclude that you’re in the right, you’re probably in the wrong more than you realize.
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9. You Don’t Become Ruinously Jealous
Look, there are exceptionally few people alive who’d rather be destitute than comfortable. And if your finances aren’t exactly sparkling at the moment, it’s normal for a bit of jealousy and desire to sneak into your soul.
Dramatic, pathological envy, however, is a different can of worms. Seething with jealousy is never a good look.
You’ll know you’ve reached the tipping point when you start grafting your insecurities and judgments onto others and assuming that everyone is as status-driven as yourself.
Authentic people understand their faults and don’t saddle others with their baggage. They’re not terrified of being looked down on because they know and like who they are.
Tough Love Tip: Reaching the stage where you lob passive-aggressive quips at lovely people for superficial reasons — or you find it very difficult to be genuinely happy for other people — run to the nearest therapist or life coach.
10. You’re Emotionally Mature
Do you freely express your opinions, or are you always catering to the “popular person’s” view? Do you let yourself experience the spectrum of emotions?
Authentic folks aren’t afraid of their feelings and can safely express them when needed.
Tough Love Tip: If you’re the person who constantly chastises others for being “overly emotional” and your only mode is “stoic,” it may be time to open up and release.
11. You Aren’t Afraid To Speak Up
Authentic people tend not to cower in a corner. Those who fall on the extroverted end of the scale shine their light long and bright — which is terrific! More people should do that.
Authentic souls also stand up for what’s objectively right from an egalitarian perspective. They genuinely believe that every person on this planet has talents and deserves respect.
Tough Love Tip: Finding a balance between speaking up and shutting up is a vital interpersonal skill worth working on.
12. You’re a Good Listener
We’ve all known a person who couldn’t remember a thing about our lives, not because of a neurological condition or mommy brain, but because they were pathologically self-focused.
We’re talking about the self-involved “bestie” who fails to remember anything you tell them (except if the thing makes them feel superior or better about themselves).
You’ve “been friends” with them for years, and they still can’t remember basic facts about your life that even your hairdresser knows.
Authentic people don’t behave this way.
Tough Love Tip: Highly sensitive-but-insecure people often get caught up in themselves and don’t recognize the depth of their self-centeredness. Do the hard work to discover if you fall into this camp.
13. You’re Confident But Not Arrogant
There’s a thin line between confident and arrogant; sometimes, it’s difficult to find.
Believing in yourself, working hard, and recognizing your talents are super qualities. On the other hand, assuming you’re better than other people is a hard no.
Interestingly, arrogant people are usually cripplingly insecure on the inside. So try not to treat them too terribly. They’re just self-conscious folks who haven’t yet dealt with their shadow selves.
Tough Love Tip: Faults we see in others are often the same ones we’re blind to in ourselves.
Who Are Some Authentic People?
We’ve discussed the characteristics of authentic people. Now, let’s look at a few examples.
Keanu Reeves is one of the most beloved public figures on the planet. It’s near impossible to find someone who can’t stand him.
He’s chill, humble, vulnerable, and generous. Plus, his girlfriend is not a celebrity.
Dolly Parton is a national treasure. She knows who she is, shares her beliefs, and serves as an inspiration to many. Plus, her rhinestones are amazing.
You may not like his antics or think he’s an attention-seeking lewdster, but you can’t deny that Dennis Rodman is himself.
He’s loud, proud, marches to the beat of a different drummer, and befriends dictators. It is what it is.
Some may argue Rodman is arrogant and, therefore, not authentic. And fair enough. But his arrogance is more “shock jock” than “haughty highbrow,” which is leagues better.
The cute Canadian, Ryan Gosling, is another beloved celebrity. He mostly stays out of the spotlight in-between projects, and he’s got a great sense of humor.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Whether you like the duke and duchess is neither here nor there for our discussion about authenticity. We’ll debate that another time.
But whichever camp you fall into, there’s no denying the couple continues to do what they love regarding media projects and philanthropic pursuits. They haven’t let naysayers slow them down and don’t quit when they experience a loss.
That’s authentically commendable.
Living an authentic life feels so much better than the other options. It opens the portal to healthy self-love, which is never wrong.