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Authenticity: Being Yourself in a World That’s Taught You Otherwise

By: Nicole Nourian

      To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to mold your every choice and opinion is one of the bravest things you can do. In modern society, we have access to others’ opinions, trends, politics, etc. more than ever before. The amount of content we receive each day about how we’re supposed to look and what we’re supposed to believe in can be intoxicating for the authentic mind. These days, it’s becoming too common to fall into the mob mentality.

     Mob mentality describes the way in which people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain thoughts and behaviors. Also known as “peer pressure,” mob mentality is at the forefront of why so many individuals find it hard to be themselves, even if fitting in the crowd is detrimental to their mental and physical health.
      Human behavior can be thought of as being directly or indirectly influenced by other humans. Social facilitation teaches us that we change our behavior when we are with others rather than when we are alone. So, it is no wonder that we’re constantly evolving to what the majority of the crowd encourages us to be like. In the Paleolithic era, survival of the fittest would convey that those who do not fit in well with their environment (think of this as our culture, society, and community), will not survive. Well NEWS FLASH, it’s 2020.
     It’s time to find your true calling. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the constant need to keep up with society’s ever changing rules, I’m here to tell you, BE YOURSELF! Yes, I know…it’s not easy. However, has anything good really come out of it being easy? Let’s talk about this. It’s easy to run with the crowd, but it’s much harder to stand alone. Why is that? Well, you’ve been conditioned to believe that you as yourself are not good enough and will not succeed in this environment.
     Let’s look at the facts. The most successful people in this world were authentically themselves. Do you think Mark Zuckerberg, Kobe Bryant, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Malala Yousafzai, Anna Wintour, Ellen Degeneres or Oprah Winfrey cared about what other people thought? I can guarantee you these individuals, along with many other successful individuals, would not be as established as they are today without one key ingredient…authenticity. After all, have you ever heard of any type of true success that came out of being a follower?
     So, if you’re reading this and wondering, “Well ok Nic then how am I supposed to be authentic?” I’m here to help. Let’s get to the basics. Every authentic person must have the ability to self-reflect. You can’t be yourself if you’re constantly looking outside of yourself for validation. Self-reflection puts you at an advantage. This advantage allows you to be in a state of personal harmony, and worry less about another person’s position because of your own confidence. Self-reflection also gives you the chance to maintain a healthy ego.
     A healthy ego comes from having a good heart. Your ego can become superficial and convince you that you are better than someone else due to your social or wealth status. This isn’t going to get you very far. Status can be temporary and subjective, whereas your heart remains at the core of your being. Additionally, your ego can be your greatest obstacle. It will convince you that events which set you back or make you feel rejected actually mean something about you as a person.
     With that being said, you must maintain a strong sense of character. Maybe you don’t really know who you are after so many years of following the crowd. It’s possible that your sense of character has been clouded, causing you unnecessary distress. You need to ask yourself which parts of your character you believe serve your life in the best way possible. When you find those attributes, hold on to them.
     Every person has something to offer in this world. When society tries to convince you otherwise, remember who you are. You are a unique individual whose upbringing has shaped you to be a certain way. No one can take that away from you. You need to remember that when others act hostile towards you because of your individuality, the hostility is a form of confusion. Others will be confused as to why you, unlike them, are not conforming to the rest of society’s way of doing things.

     If you don’t live your life for yourself, how can you really be happy? You can’t continue to let others’ opinions, judgments, or actions get in the way of you living your life. You’re not a clone. You’re an individual with your own opinions, choices, and style. Now is the time to detach from the notion that others have any power over you and how you want to live your life. Being authentic is a unique quality to have. Embrace it rather than undermining who you are to satisfy anybody else. This is YOUR life. Don’t live it for anybody but yourself.

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