In one sense, you could argue that everyone is authentic. After all, we are all real people.
But there’s no denying that some people are more authentic than others.
Have you ever met one of those people who just seem so genuinely and comfortably themselves? The type of person that doesn’t have to hide their personality to make others like them?
The funny thing is, those are the kinds of people that others tend to like more.
People who are true to themselves are some of the most inspiring and exciting to be around.
And if you do these things, it’s a good sign that you are really true to yourself.
1) You examine yourself
Put the microscope down!
Being an authentic person means understanding yourself on a deep level. It means knowing exactly how you want to live and pursuing that, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Simply put, authentic people know themselves really well.
They get to know themselves by constantly examining their own thought processes and actions. Not in a self-absorbed or narcissistic way, but in a healthy and self-critical way that allows them to get a very good idea of their strengths, weaknesses, desires, and needs.
A genuine person can often surprise those around them with the depth of their understanding of their own motivations and/or processes.
2) You go with your gut
As if that’s not enough, authentic people know when to trust themselves. Because they examine themselves so closely, they develop a very finely-tuned intuition that guides them through life.
That’s not to say authentic people are impulsive. Far from it.
But they are able to trust their intuition because they have spent so much time coming to understand themselves.
That can make an authentic person seem highly decisive and spontaneous. But in reality, it’s a consequence of knowing themselves really well.
3) You don’t apologize for who you are
One thing authentic people do is never apologize for who they are.
Authentic people are comfortable with themselves, and if others don’t like that, that’s okay.
That even applies to the things they are passionate about. Authentic people may have hobbies and interests that other people find boring or even ridiculous.
But genuine people just don’t care. As long as they are having a good time and not hurting anyone, that’s all that matters to them.
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean authentic people don’t apologize.
Authentic people have no problem issuing a genuine apology if they have done something wrong. That’s because they’re comfortable in themselves and don’t feel any threat to their self-worth by admitting fault.
4) You share what you really think
One of the most striking characteristics of an authentic person is that they will tell you what they think. Sometimes, this can even make them seem blunt or abrupt to people who prefer to have things sugarcoated.
A genuine person isn’t trying to upset anyone by the things they say.
But they aren’t trying to hide their true nature, either. If asked, they will gladly tell you what they think about you, about others, or about any given situation.
No sugarcoating required.
That makes genuine people unusual in a world that prides fakeness. But it also means that with an authentic person, you always know where you stand.
5) You follow your own path
One of the most inspiring qualities of a genuine person is that they follow their own path through life.
Authentic people are often highly creative, and able to see solutions other people don’t.
Also, because they aren’t particularly interested in what other people think of them, they are more likely to pursue an unusual path in life just because it suits them better.
We all face social pressure to fit in and conform. But we also know that the traditional path of chasing a career, starting a family, and buying a house in the suburbs isn’t for everyone.
Authentic people know this, and so they aren’t afraid to live out of their own sense of what is desirable.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they all eccentrics. But it does mean that however they choose to live, it will be because they chose it, not because somebody else told them they should want it.
6) You don’t take criticism personally
One of the most admirable qualities of a genuine person is that they don’t take criticism to heart.
Partly, that’s because they don’t put a lot of value in what other people think of them.
That doesn’t mean they don’t like other people. As UK-based psychologist Dr. Stephen Joseph points out, authentic people are just as accepting of others as they are of themselves.
But it does mean that when people criticize them, they don’t take it to heart.
An authentic person will analyze whether criticism is coming from, and whether it is valid or not.
There’s an old quote – often wrongly attributed to Morgan Freeman – which states, “Don’t take criticism from people you would never go to for advice.”
Authentic people live this truth every day.
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean they ignore criticism, either.
Because they always reflect on themselves and their actions, authentic people are willing to take criticism if they consider it valid.
This is one of the many ways a genuine person learns and grows throughout life.
In other words…
7) You focus on growth
Authentic people know that, as Joseph Campbell said, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
They also know that journey never ends.
Authentic people are unapologetically themselves. But they also know that there is always room for improvement and growth.
That means they will seek out opportunities for growth wherever they can find them. It might be the ancient wisdom of a shaman or the latest scientific research on psychology.
But whatever it is, authentic people will take advantage of anything that helps them grow as a person and become more fully themselves.
And this focus on growth and self-development also means…
8) You don’t complain
Authentic people have better things to do with their time than complain about the situation they find themselves in.
That doesn’t mean they never get frustrated or feel down.
But it does mean they know complaining doesn’t solve a problem. And instead of griping about the hand they have been dealt, they will focus on strategies for improvement in any situation they find themselves in.
That makes authentic people some of the most resilient you will ever meet. And it’s a trait we could all do with a little more of in our lives.
9) You don’t worry about what other people think
This is one of the biggest signs of a truly authentic person.
In fact, this single quality is where many of the other qualities of this list come from.
As Dr. Theo Tsaousides writes, “Being authentic means behaving in congruence with one’s values, beliefs, motives, and personality dispositions.”
As you can see, other people’s opinions don’t appear anywhere on that list.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that authentic people don’t care what others think at all.
As I mentioned above, authentic people will take criticism of themselves on board if it comes from a source they trust and makes sense to them.
But a genuine person never lives their life according to how other people think that they should.
Authentic people are quite happy going against the grain. That’s why they rarely get caught up in mass phenomena like moral panics.
Instead, authentic people pursue what seems like the best life to them, without worrying if anybody else thinks they should.
Are you an authentic person?
We could all use a little more authenticity in our lives. After all, people who are true to themselves are often some of the happiest and most well-balanced people you will ever meet.
If you display these signs of authenticity, there’s a good sign you are a genuine person.
And if not? Well, it’s never too late to work on these behaviors to become more fully the person that you are.