How can I know someone who has real character

Authenticity: The art of being authentic

Authenticity, sincerity, authenticity - what is that, actually? Don't we all play some roles every day? Day in and day out, we meet expectations in the job, meet some clichés, meet gender or status stereotypes in the office, adapt or play roles in private to please others, to provoke them or to be noticed - as required. But is that still real at all - or is it a big lie? It is understandable that in many of us there is a longing for authenticity grows, the desire for being instead of appearance. After that, taking off the masks, being real and most importantly: authentic. But is that even possible - and if so, how?

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Definition and meaning: what is authenticity?

Hardly any other term has been mentioned and desired so often in the past as to be authentic. Google alone now finds around 10.4 million entries for the search term "authentic", three years ago there were only 1.1 million hits. So great is the longing for the real today.

The noun becomes accordingly authenticity today often translated as “authenticity”. If something as authentic applies, then according to the definition it was checked for authenticity and as a original found. This applies to things or documents as well as to people. Only, of course, are more difficult to test. That is why we often try other criteria - such as the consistency of speech, actions, feelings or ways of thinking of a person.

The etymological consideration of the term is therefore perhaps more productive: This is how the word derives authenticity from Greek authentikós from: "Cars" means self and "ontos" be. To be authentic means something like to be yourself.

Authentic people usually come across as truthful, unaffected, open and relaxed. An authentic person radiates that he stands by himself, his strengths and weaknesses. To a certain extent, he is in harmony with himself and the environment also feels that.

Synonyms for authenticity are accordingly:

  • credibility
  • reliability
  • Authenticity
  • truthfulness

Speaking of which: What do you associate with "be authentic"? Not yourself let bend? Be upright Be credible, reliable, real? Not making lazy compromises?

Actually, I'm completely different, I just don't get around to it very often. You’ll soon meet someone I don’t know any more than you do.

This is what Udo Lindenberg and Jan Delay sing in their hit “Ganz Anders”. The first half of the quote actually comes from someone completely different: the Austro-Hungarian writer Ödön von Horváth and his work “Zur Schöne Aussicht”. Behind the statement is the desire to know yourself better and the longing for Truth and truthfulness - just for authenticity.

In fact, many then already perceive their counterpart as believableif the person behaves according to their own ideas. People with rough edges, on the other hand, are latently suspicious of up to something. This leads to the grotesque situation that in the end those who play their role particularly convincingly or behave as we expect them to be perceived as particularly authentic.

Are these indications really sufficient?

The desire for authenticity is growing everywhere, but the Internet often leads us to do the opposite in everyday life. For example, it allows us to anonymity as well as a kind of digital puzzle out of the different Facets of our personality: On Facebook we are the nice buddy with the exciting party life; On Instagram we play trendsetters and like influencers, on Xing we are once again very professional: sober, factual, serious.

Sometimes that's even wanted. Self-marketing is not just a modern trend. Your own reputation, the virtually designed image and the online reputation have long been an important career factor for professional success. The optimization of the self and the appropriate facade for it advance to Personality brand. What comes out is often even more perfect than that original.

But that throws ask on:

  • Which of them is then real?
  • How long does the one who acts in this way remain himself? real?
  • Where does admissible self-promotion end and where does opportune begin bluff?

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The 4 criteria of authenticity

In fact, numerous scientists in the past have looked at the authenticity busy trying to measure it in some way, or at least pinpoint it a little more precisely. The social psychologists Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman from the University of Georgia make a distinction here, for example four criteria (PDF) that must be fulfilled so that we can experience ourselves as authentic:

  1. Awareness.

    We have to know our strengths and weaknesses as well as our feelings and motives, i.e. why we behave one way or another. Only through this self-reflection are we able to consciously experience and influence our actions.

  2. Honesty.

    Unfortunately, we humans tend to see ourselves more beautifully than we are. Even literally. There is an amusing attempt by Nicholas Epley and Erin Whitchurch with portrait photos and variants enhanced by Photoshop. When asked which of the photos the test subjects themselves showed, they each time decided in favor of the pimped up photo. If, on the other hand, they were to identify the portraits of other participants, they easily chose the untreated, authentic face. Sad but true: if you want to be authentic, you have to look reality in the eye and accept unpleasant feedback - be it visual or verbal.

  3. Consequence.

    Those who have values ​​should act accordingly. This also applies to priorities that have already been set or in the event that disadvantages are negotiated as a result. Hardly anything seems more mendacious and inauthentic than an opportunist.

  4. Sincerity.

    Of course, you can keep a beautiful picture for a while. A bit of a show and such. But not when it comes to authenticity. If you want to be truthful, you have to show the greatness and reveal your negative sides.

So authenticity always begins with oneself. Anyone who tries to conform to roles and clichés is already moving away from them, may be popular, but often opportune and inauthentic.

The art of being authentic - despite development

But even if Self-image and external image Being in harmony doesn't mean we have to stay the way we are.

Our personality is not a cemented state. We are constantly developing. Not just our skills and competencies - too Personality traits are changeable. A wallflower does not necessarily turn into a rampage pig. But let's change ours identity every 20 years on average, according to a study by Margaret King and Jamie O’Boyle. After that, the typical adjustment phases are roughly in the respective ages between 15 and 20, 35 to 40, 55 to 60 and over 75 years.

The completed one finished manwho is what he is is therefore an illusion. We can still be authentic, even if others state: “But you have changed!” Authenticity is not synonymous with conformity. Rather, what is decisive is truthfulness towards ourselves.

Is authenticity wrongly glorified?

Truthfulness now has a bright glow. It shines particularly brightly in times when deceit and corruption cling to the bel étage and authenticity (as well as transparency) mutate into a hastily put on penitentiary dress. Then the truly honest appearance even outshines what's inside the dress: personality.

Anyone who pretends to be dishonest is considered dishonest; who adapts as an opportunist; whoever is open to everything can no longer be completely sealed. But whoever is who he is has at least what it takes to be an original ... Holy, holy - glory, glory!

In Wikipedia for example, there is another definition of authenticity:

Applied to people, authenticity means that the actions of a person are not determined by external influences, but are rooted in the person himself.

It's easy to read, but demands a lot from us in everyday life. It means, no lazy compromises to close, to be true to yourself and to stand by your beliefs and act accordingly.

But is that enough to make it authentic as such desirable to transfigure?

Don't get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with that honest skin. Not at all. But it is partly nothing more than a scam, an abundantly transparent one at that, in which the authentic is declared to be the only true value and thus embodies all the qualities that a role model needs today.

Authenticity can be like a iceberg to be in the arctic sea: imposing on the surface, but underneath the danger lurks.

  • Authenticity per se ennobles the office nerd just like that Chief suppository and the despot.
  • She transfigures the calculating Egoists to the brave warrior and
  • the eternally nagging Not good a valuable lateral thinker.

They are just like that - but at least they stand by it and stay true to themselves ... Great. What can he do Pit bull for biting everyone? Ouch!

The art of staying authentic

From the Twin research it is now known that genes have at most 20 to 50 percent influence on a person's character. The rest is free will. Or with the words Epikets:

First make it clear to yourself what you want to be; and then do what you have to do.

That asshole may very well help it one asshole is. In any case, its authenticity does not ennoble the excrement to a 5-course menu.

It is not the authentic that deserves our admirationbut the gift real Recognize, preserve and live values. The goal is not who you are today, but who you want to be - and if possible in a better version than the current one.

It's the art of going along without them wrong direction to strike.

Those who make mistakes and recognize them can adapt and change - and yet stay authentic. This is not a contradiction, on the contrary: The change in thinking and acting is also part of the real Personality development. And an essential characteristic of authenticity.

But the reverse also applies: Anyone looking for the authentic must also be ready to experience, endure and live with people with rough edges. The person has to be ready to have different opinions, different thoughts and actions to appreciate and to see in it - despite all the friction - an enrichment, or possibly even because of it.

Many cannot do that, which unfortunately can often be observed on the Internet. You push your (partly unfounded and unreflected) Beliefs in front of you and comment according to the motto: Anyone who disagrees with me must be an idiot.

In all honesty: Those who act like this may still be authentic in a certain way, but they also prove mental immaturity.

And maybe that's the real art of staying authentic: honest and faithful to live one's change and to practice tolerance towards what is otherwise authentic. And be it only for the one as an incentive, the other as an impetus and the third as a leader.

11 reasons why it pays to be true to yourself

It is not always easy to be true to yourself. You want to impress your boss or be liked by your colleagues, and you play a role because you think you will be better off with it. But whoever pretends to be permanently unhappy with it. What happens when you stand by yourself:

  1. You are getting stronger mentally.

    Your self-esteem no longer depends on those around you. You take pride in your strengths, but you also accept your mistakes and weaknesses. Criticism no longer hits you so hard because you no longer perceive it as a personal attack.

  2. You will have more fun.

    Your charisma changes. You will go through life much more freely. You don't always have the feeling that you have to please everyone else and bend overboard, but instead you dare to do what you feel like doing. The way you deal with other people is changing and becoming more relaxed.

  3. You will know what you want.

    Those who are true to themselves also pay attention to their own needs. You will have the courage to live your life the way you see fit. The goals you are working towards are not determined by others, but come from you.

  4. You will make decisions more easily.

    You no longer have to wonder what other people think of everything you do. You only justify your decisions to yourself. This makes you more courageous in your decisions.

  5. You will experience more respect.

    Everyone wants respect and appreciation from their fellow human beings, and some mistakenly think that if you say yes and please everyone, you will get it. But the flag in the wind is just a follower. People who have strong opinions may not be liked by everyone, but they respect those who like you too.

  6. You will respect yourself more.

    Anyone who pretends to be permanent can no longer suffer themselves at some point. In order to please the colleagues, you have again kept your own opinion behind the mountain. Especially when the role you play contradicts your own values, you secretly despise yourself for it. Those who stand by their values ​​and attitudes can also respect themselves.

  7. You will doubt yourself less.

    When you are authentic, you show yourself who you are and you are very conscious of that. You know yourself, you know your motives, your thoughts and feelings. This enables you to act consciously and in accordance with the situation and to use your resources in a self-reflective manner. This way you also know where your limits are and what you can achieve.

  8. You will be proud of yourself.

    Those who manage to stand by themselves even in difficult situations have a good feeling afterwards. For example, if you were able to show your boss or colleagues your limits, you will be proud of your self-confidence and your courage.

  9. You will be more relaxed.

    To pretend permanently or to play a role that is supposedly better received or in demand is enormously exhausting. You have to go against your nature every day, disguise, hide, act. This is safe for a while if the destination seems attractive enough. Not having to pretend anymore becomes a relief.

  10. You become a role model for others.

    When your fellow human beings notice that you are not afraid to stand up for yourself, you are encouraged to do the same. With your behavior you are signaling to others that there is no reason to pretend.

  11. You will be more successful.

    If you are authentic, you live in accordance with your values, you are in a flow. So they are also more stress and crisis resistant in the long run. In addition, authentic people are particularly popular and highly regarded. Then success will not be long in coming.

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