The Power of Authenticity: How Being Authentic Can Transform Your Life

The Power of Authenticity: How Being Authentic Can Transform Your Life


Merriam-Webster's choice for Word of the Year for 2023 is . . . authentic. It makes sense and at the same time is rather ironic given that we see so many examples of pretense and distortion, from the prevalence of fake body parts driven by desire to meet idealized standards to carefully curated social media personas that hide a different reality behind the mask. 

Are you wondering:

What does authentic mean?

What is authenticity?

Why do people value authenticity?

What does it mean to be authentically yourself?

Are there any benefits to living authentically?

How can personal authenticity contribute to personal growth and fulfillment?

What does being authentic mean in the context of relationships?

How do you live authentically?

I'm excited to see the word authentic get this positive attention. Authenticity is one of the qualities/skills that made it onto my Top 40 relationship booster list. It's crucially important for personal and relationship success.

When you are authentic, you are more likely to attract genuine connections, find true happiness, and create a positive impact on the world around you.

In this article, I'll share tips for being authentic and quotes on authenticity from past and present influencers to help you explore the importance of authenticity and practical ways to cultivate and embody it in your daily life.


What's in this Post

 What Does Authentic Mean?
 Authenticity Definition
 Brené Brown's Definition of Authenticity
 More Quotes about the Meaning of Authenticity
 The Authenticity Continuum
 Words to Label Unhealthy Levels of Authenticity
 Examples of Too Little Authenticity 
 Examples of Too Much Authenticity 
 What are the Benefits of Being Authentic?
 15 Benefits of Authenticity Quotes
 14 Quotes about the Importance of Authenticity in Relationships
 11 Roadblocks to Authenticity (with infographic)
 Help for Becoming Your Authentic Self



Building Skills to Uplevel Life: Silver Lining Emotional Intelligence Workbook


What Does Authentic Mean?

Authentic is an adjective that describes a person, place, thing, or experience that is genuine, real, or true, without any imitation, deceit, or distortion. 


Authenticity Definition 

My definition of healthy authenticity is being real with others and with yourself. It includes getting to know your genuine thoughts and feelings, dealing with them consciously, and not stuffing them or pretending they are something different than they are. 

Healthy authenticity helps you decide what, when, and where you reveal yourself. As well as with whom and to what degree. 


Brené Brown's Definition of Authenticity

Brené Brown is an influential researcher, speaker, and author who has gained significant recognition for her work on topics such as vulnerability, resilience, and authenticity. (For more about Brené, check out another of my posts: Brené Brown Vulnerability Definition and Quotes with Images.) 

Here's a couple of my favorite Brené Brown quotes explaining her view of the meaning of authenticity.

  •  "Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen." - Brené Brown
  •  "Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are." - Brené Brown


Brene Brown definition of authenticity meaning


More Quotes about the Meaning of Authenticity

  •  "Authenticity is not just about being true to oneself; it's also about being true to others." - A.D. Posey
  •   "Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently." - Harris K. Telemacher
  •  "Authenticity is not about being a certain way; it's about being true to the essence of who you are." - Tara Stiles
  •  "Authenticity is when you say and do the things you actually believe." - Simon Sinek
  •  "Authenticity is a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and living in alignment with your true values." - Deborah Day
  • "Authenticity is not a show we put on for others. It's the realness we bring to ourselves." - Scott Stabile


The Authenticity Continuum

Like any quality, having too little of authenticity is unhealthy and having too much is also unhealthy. Being on either end of the authenticity continuum extracts costs from ourselves and the people around us. We want to aim for the middle green zone. 


what is authenticity?


Words to Label Unhealthy Levels of Authenticity

The graphic includes a word to label each end of the too little and too much ends of the authenticity continuum. Here are some more words that can label underusing or overusing authenticity. (It's not a complete list. Add some words that come to mind for you in the comments section.)


  • Artificial
  • Inauthentic
  • Overly Reserved
  • Conforming
  • Disingenuous
  • Deceptive
  • Overly Guarded
  • Scripted
  • Fake
  • Insincere
  • Repressed
  • People-pleasing
  • Over-exposed
  • Over-sharing
  • Brutally honest
  • Unfiltered
  • Indiscreet
  • Tactless
  • Undiplomatic
  • Inconsiderate
  • Impulsively transparent
  • Unrestrained
  • Brash
  • Pushy


Examples of Too Little Authenticity 

examples of being inauthentic


Being on the too little end of the authenticity continuum can show up in many different ways, driven by a desire to deceive, fit in, manipulate, please, or avoid. Here are some examples:

1. The Cover-up: We can't talk about too little authenticity without acknowledging the most blatant example which is motivated by a desire to cover up wrongdoing. (Check out my post 12 Types of Lies and Deception for the many ways people use to cover their tracks.)

2. People-Pleasing: Constantly agreeing with others or suppressing personal opinions and desires to gain approval, not rock the boat, or avoid disappointing others even when it goes against their true feelings.

3. Virtual Persona: Crafting a carefully curated image or persona that is presented to the world, but doesn't align with their true self, in an effort to meet societal expectations, fit a particular mold, or put themselves above others. 

4. Avoidance of Vulnerability: Steering clear of expressing emotions or vulnerabilities, creating a facade of strength or perfection to avoid being perceived as weak or imperfect.

5. Fear of Disapproval: Being overly cautious in interactions, overly focused on seeking validation and avoiding actions or expressions that might invite criticism or disapproval from others.

6. Surface-Level Connections: Keeping relationships and interactions superficial, avoiding deeper conversations or sharing authentic feelings to maintain a sense of control and avoid potential discomfort.

7. Manipulative Maneuvering: Employing deceitful tactics to influence others, cover the truth, or exert control. 

8. Conflict Avoidance: Refusing to engage in conflicts or disagreements, even when it's necessary, to maintain a facade of harmony, avoid potential discomfort or disapproval, or fit a role.

9. Blind Adherence to Social Norms: Conforming strictly to societal norms, expectations, or trends without considering personal values or preferences, leading to a lack of individuality.

10. Overemphasis on Perfection: Constantly striving for perfection in appearance, achievements, or behavior, often at the expense of genuine self-expression and self-acceptance.

11. Fear of Judgment: Letting the fear of judgment dictate behavior, choices, or expressions, resulting in a life lived according to others' expectations rather than one's true desires.

12. Chameleon Behavior: Changing behavior, appearance, or opinions based on surroundings or the people they are with. This is particularly common with people who have Borderline Personality Disorder. 

It's important to recognize that finding the right balance on the authenticity continuum involves being true to yourself while also considering the social context and the impact of your actions on others.


Examples of Too Much Authenticity 




While authenticity is generally celebrated, being too authentic comes at a cost to the individual being overly authentic or people around them. Here are a few examples:

1. Over-Sharing Personal Information (TMI): Sharing deeply personal or intimate details without considering the appropriateness of the setting or the comfort level of the people hearing the information. There's a balance between authenticity and respecting social boundaries.

2. Blunt Honesty Without Tact: Being brutally honest in a way that lacks tact or consideration for others' feelings can sometimes come across as too direct. Authenticity doesn't mean disregarding sensitivity or social norms.

3. Disregarding Professional Norms: In a professional setting, being excessively casual or informal to the point of disregarding workplace norms may be seen as being too authentic. 

4. Expressing Unfiltered Emotions Constantly: While expressing emotions is healthy, constantly sharing every feeling that comes up without considering the impact on others can be overwhelming. Authenticity doesn't mean being oblivious to the social context.

5. Refusing to Conform in Group Settings: In certain group situations, refusing to conform to basic social norms or expectations can create tension. Being too authentic might be perceived as a lack of consideration for the group dynamic.

6. Unfiltered Criticism: Criticism can be constructive if delivered thoughtfully. It's essential to communicate feedback in a way that encourages growth rather than tearing someone down.

7. Aggressive Persuasion: You can assertively present your perspective in a healthy way, but fervently attempts to persuade others to adopt your political, religious, or personal views, without considering or respecting differing perspectives can be a too pushy level of authenticity. 

It's important to note that these examples don't negate the value of authenticity; instead, they highlight the importance of self-awareness and adaptability in various social contexts.

Getting into the authenticity green zone involves striking a balance between being true to yourself while also taking into account the circumstances and the impact your expressions have on others.


What are the Benefits of Being Authentic?

Authenticity can help you have genuine connections and relationships with others, as people are more likely to trust and respect you when you are authentic. It can lead to increased self-confidence and self-acceptance, since you are not constantly trying to live up to family or cultural expectations. It also helps you make decisions that align with your true desires and passions, leading to a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction.

Overall, authenticity allows you to live a more genuine, honest, and fulfilling life.


15 Benefits of Authenticity Quotes

1.  "Authenticity is everything! You have to wake up every day and look in the mirror, and you want to be proud of the person who's looking back at you." - Demi Lovato

2. "Authenticity is a magnet that draws people to you because they can sense that you're real, not a replica." - Tony Gaskins

3. "The greatest advantage of being authentic is that it earns you the trust and respect of those around you." - Simon Sinek


quotes about authenticity


4.  "Authenticity breeds strength, resilience, and a sense of inner peace that is unmatched by any facade." - Kris Carr

5. "Embracing your authenticity gives you the power to positively impact the world by simply being yourself." - Oprah Winfrey

6. "When you are authentic, you create a certain energy that becomes contagious and attracts like-minded individuals to your life." - Carlos Wallace

7. "Authenticity is the key to building strong and lasting connections with others." - John C. Maxwell

8. "Authenticity is not just a personal trait; it's a superpower that unlocks doors and creates opportunities in both personal and professional realms." - Trudy Vesotsky

9. "The beauty of authenticity is that it allows you to shine as you are, and in doing so, you give others permission to do the same." - Scott Stabile

10. "Authenticity is a beacon that lights up the path to self-discovery, personal growth, and a life filled with purpose." - Kristi Ling


authenticity benefits quote


11. "Authenticity is empowering. It frees you from the burden of pretending and allows you to fully embrace your uniqueness." - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

12. "Authenticity is not just about being true to yourself; it's about inspiring others to do the same." - Anonymous

12. "Living authentically means living a life that is in harmony with your values and true desires, resulting in genuine happiness and contentment." - Debbie Ford

14. "Authenticity is a gift to yourself and others. It invites people to get to know the real you, and in turn, creates meaningful connections." - Julia Ford-Carther

15. "The authentic you is the best version of you, and that's where true success and fulfillment are found." - Steve Maraboli


14 Quotes about the Importance of Authenticity in Relationships

Authenticity cultivates genuine connections, promotes emotional well-being, and enhances the overall quality of relationships. 

When you are authentic in your interactions and behaviors, it creates a foundation of trust and genuineness. Authenticity allows for open and honest communication, as you and your partner feel comfortable being your true selves. This level of trust and mutual understanding leads to stronger connections and deeper bonds.

Authentic relationships also promote personal growth and self-acceptance, as you and your partner can freely express your thoughts, feelings, and desires without fear of rejection. 

1. "Authenticity in relationships is the key to creating connections that stand the test of time." - Ari Eastman

2. "The foundation of any healthy relationship is built on authenticity – the ability to be genuine, vulnerable, and true to oneself." - Unknown

3. "In relationships, authenticity is the bridge that connects hearts, fostering trust, understanding, and deep emotional intimacy." - Mastin Kipp

4. "Authenticity is not just about being honest; it's about being open, vulnerable, and willing to share your true self with someone you trust." - John Mark Green

what is authenticity


5. "The most beautiful connections are formed when two individuals bring their authentic selves into a relationship, creating a bond that is real and enduring." - Lori Deschene

6. "True love flourishes in an atmosphere of authenticity, where both partners can be themselves without fear of judgment or rejection." - Kelly McNelis

7. "Authenticity in relationships is not about being perfect; it's about being real and working through imperfections together." - Alex Elle

8. "A relationship built on authenticity is like a sturdy tree – it weathers storms, grows stronger over time, and provides shelter for both partners." - Mandy Hale


authenticity helps you weather storms quote


9. "Authenticity allows you to bring your true self into a relationship, creating a space where love and acceptance can thrive." - Elena Brower

10. "In authentic relationships, both partners are free to express their true feelings, creating a foundation of trust that is unbreakable." - Brené Brown

11. "Authenticity is the glue that holds relationships together, allowing them to evolve and deepen with each passing day." - Cleo Wade

12. "The most fulfilling relationships are those where both individuals feel seen, heard, and loved for who they truly are." - Harville Hendrix

13. "Authenticity is the heartbeat of genuine connection in relationships – it's the rhythm that keeps love alive." - Mara Glatzel

14. "Authenticity is the currency of true connection in relationships, where vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength." - Esther Perel


11 Roadblocks to Authenticity

While authenticity is valuable for creating genuine connections and personal well-being, roadblocks can get in the way of embracing and expressing your authentic self.

Roadblocks to authenticity


1. Fear of Judgment: The fear of being judged by others can be a significant obstacle to authenticity. People may hesitate to show their true selves if they worry about how others will see them.

2. Social Expectations: Group and cultural norms and expectations often pressure individuals to conform to certain standards or roles. This pressure can discourage people from expressing their authentic thoughts, feelings, or identities.

3. Perfectionism: The pursuit of perfection can prevent authenticity, as perfectionists may fear that revealing imperfections or vulnerabilities will lead to criticism or rejection. (I talk about toxic perfectionism in another post: The Link Between Perfectionism, Anxiety and Depression.)

4. Cultural Conditioning: Cultural backgrounds and upbringing--including family, religion, group, or nationality--can instill certain beliefs or behaviors that may conflict with an individual's authentic self. Adhering to cultural norms might limit the expression of one's true identity.

5. Low Self-Esteem: Individuals with low self-esteem may doubt the value of their authentic selves, fearing that others won't accept or appreciate them for who they are.

6. Comparison to Others: Constantly comparing oneself to others can create a desire to conform to societal standards or emulate someone else's life, inhibiting authenticity. This is particularly prevalent in the social media era.

7. Lack of Self-Awareness: Some people may not have a clear understanding of their authentic selves, making it difficult to express something they are not fully aware of.

8. Pleasing Others: A strong desire to please others or gain approval can lead individuals to suppress their authentic desires and conform to external expectations.

9. Past Trauma: Previous experiences of rejection, criticism, or trauma can create a reluctance to be vulnerable and open, hindering authentic self-expression.

10. Insecurity: Feelings of insecurity about one's identity, abilities, or worthiness can make it challenging to embrace and display authenticity.

11. Overemphasis on Image: A focus on maintaining a certain image, whether in the professional or social realm, may lead individuals to present a glorified version of themselves rather than their authentic selves.

Overcoming these roadblocks often involves self-reflection, self-compassion, and a willingness to confront and challenge limiting beliefs. Encouraging surroundings (people, systems, and cultures) that celebrate authenticity and self-discovery can also play a crucial role in helping individuals overcome these barriers.


Help for Becoming Your Authentic Self

My most recent book, Building Skills to Uplevel Life: Silver Lining Emotional Intelligence Workbookprovides information, tips, and worksheets to help get your authenticity in the healthy green zone and make your life better in so many ways!


Building Skills to Uplevel Life: Silver Lining Emotional Intelligence Workbook 

Building Skills to Uplevel Life: Silver Lining Emotional Intelligence Workbook

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  • Ann Silvers
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