Authenticity is overrated

Image: Alexandre Chambon

Authenticity... We hear how important this quality is in today’s world — especially when creating an online brand, doing creative work, etc.

You must. Be. Authentic.

Sounds amazing, right?

Yeah! Authentic! That’s me! I can do that!

And then we go to write that blog post, film that video, take that client call, or phone that special someone and that ever-familiar little a**hole voice pops up in our minds…

Wait! Don’t do it. You’re not being… Authentic.

So what happens? We start photoshopping the ‘authenticity’ in. We force things that may seem more ‘authentic’ to the public eye. We start looking around at others’ authenticity and seeing how we can incorporate it into ours.

If you ever really want to put a screeching halt on the important work you do and get entirely up in your head, try being authentic. It’s like trying to talk like yourself — something that’s only authentic when you’re not trying to do it.

You’re setting yourself up for failure from the get-go. It’s a needless, useless exercise. A gigantic waste of time and mental/emotional gray matter.

Here’s my two cents on authenticity…

Forget about being authentic and just show up.

Seriously, just live. Just create. Just BE.

Know that you WILL fall on your face. Realize that you WILL come off as a fake, phony, fraudster to some people…

But here’s the real kicker... Mainly to yourself.

Your own ego will be the main critic of your ‘authenticity’. A certain part of you will likely be calling the Higher part of you inauthentic for as long as you decide to do things that matter and/or have an impact. The key is, you HAVE to high-five that bad boy and move on in the face of it.

Right now, as I type this, I swear to the gods and goddesses above, a part of me totally feels like I’m being inauthentic. It’s telling me that this has all been said before and that what I’m writing here is probably a cheap rendition of that.

But another part of me knows that I totally believe in this idea so much that it doesn’t matter how ‘inauthentic’ that shitty part of my thought pattern is telling me I am — and it urges me to write it anyway. Because this Higher part of me knows it’s all just a story. Like Choose Your Own Adventure in every moment.

Well, I choose the Higher story — this Higher Thought — right now (weird how I named my entire publication after this idea) and I’m publishing this piece regardless. No matter how uncomfortable or inauthentic it feels to my ego.

Give yourself total permission to be inauthentic.

As long as your intentions are pure and you’re setting out to serve in whatever capacity it is for you to serve/delight/etc. — whether that’s being an awesome parent, flipping burgers, building your website, making upper management decisions, or taking your partner out on a moonlit canoe cruise, just be there. In all your inauthentic glory.

Keep showing up in spite of the doubts and the negative self-talk about your inauthenticity. Put your best self out there, no matter how authentic or inauthentic your ego tells you it is.

Get authenticity out of your mind and be in the world in however you choose to show up in the moment.

If you can do that — that’s just about the most authentic thing I can think of.

I’m Jonas Ellison — a motivational messenger and transformative guide who writes daily here on Medium. To get my short vignettes in your inbox every day, click here.

If you enjoyed this piece, proclaim your love to the world by recommending it below and sharing with your people. Thanks!