The Thing About Authenticity
I feel like authenticity is a word thrown around rather a lot in the internet world, don't you? It can become a compliment or an insult, whether someone fulfils the desired criteria.
Here's the thing, I can't not be authentically me, and for me that means being really honest about where I'm at. I'm not saying this as a "look how wonderful I am" or casually throwing shade at those who aren't, because I actually don't think there's anything wrong with fronting. People who front will probably be far more happy and successful than I am, and sometimes a mask is the only way to get through. I get that, you do you and you won't hear any complaints about it from me.
I just say this because I'm just come to realise that it's my style, for better or for worse. I almost certainly overshare, and I am teased for my Instagram captions because they contain long rambles about my thoughts. But that's just who I am.
You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are - Amy Poehler
I just had an informal conversation that was kind of maybe an interview, and in it I found myself sharing my experiences with panic attacks and telling them that I psych myself into thinking I can't do things. What a way to sell myself, huh? And yet it actually seemed to go down really well. When I admitted I didn't have a game plan about how I wanted the rest of my career to go – or even the next six months – these two smart and highly successful women told me that they operated in the same way. Regardless of what comes next, I hung up feeling both satisfied about how genuine I'd been and encouraged by two incredible role models. If that's not a great way to end a Friday night maybe-interview, I don't know what is.
But a while back a friend told me that people had asked him if I was being authentic with my oversharing style. The question floored me: was I making up self-hatey streams of thought and posting them for the fun of it? I get asked this with my blog too, and I guess the idea of someone sharing so much of themselves on the internet is kind of hard to handle. But I honestly don't know any other way, and (for me) I'm not sure I'd want to. If I kept these parts of me hidden behind closed doors I wouldn't get half as much support as I do, I wouldn't be able to inspire people to open up and get help with their own struggles, and I'd feel like I was doing myself a disservice.
We're all authentic in different ways. To some, being authentic is keeping quiet and containing their thoughts in close circles. Friends, if you know that's your style and it's what suits you best, that's awesome. But don't assume that those who share aren't doing it from the depths of their soul. Maybe there are some people who write "inauthentically" (what ever that means), but can't we just assume we all are?