In modern times, there’s a lot of talk about authentic engagement. The idea of an individual’s authentic self is considered in various contexts. They include, but aren’t limited to, one’s work life, familial relationships, friend groups, community commitments, and lastly, one’s social media presence. However, when you really think about it, what does it mean to authentically engage with self and others?
Defining Authentic Engagement
When I talk about authentic engagement, I’m referring to the ability to be real with and true to oneself & others. At the core, authentic engagement requires honesty, awareness, openness and transparency. This means knowing your feelings & needs and expressing them, irrespective of what others will do or think. Authentic engagement is about going after what you want prior to editing your actions for social acceptability.
I want to be clear, authentic engagement isn’t about behaving recklessly or without regard to others. It IS about having the audacity to show up and live life as your full self. It’s radically connecting to oneself and others. In the next section, I touch on what authentic engagement is NOT.
Authentic Engagement Is Not
As previously mentioned, authentic engagement is not an excuse for bad behavior. Quite the reverse, moving closer to living your truth and purpose results in you being happier and more fulfilled. Which will ultimately reflect in your ability to show up for others in light and love.
Authentically engaging does not mean showing up the same in every place. That simply doesn’t work. Different settings, be they work, family, social, or community have different requirements with associated expectations and boundaries. These boundaries exist for good reason and don’t preclude your ability to live fully.
Lastly, authentic engagement isn’t being a truth teller (to call out others) while lacking the ability or willingness to examine your own behavior. It’s not an excuse to drop bombs or cleverly place landmines for others to manage the fallout. It’s about self-knowledge, owning your truth and using your voice to honor yours and the needs of others.
The Quest for Authentic Self
The benefit of functioning as your authentic self is that, with time, you relinquish the burden of “other”. What will others think? How will others react? What will others say? You also cut back on second-guessing yourself and editing yourself for others. If you’ve spent time around children, you know they have an uncanny knack of saying exactly what occurs to them. I don’t know when parents correct for that trait, but doing so can have the unintended consequence of distancing us from our authenticity. We get messages about prioritizing others over ourselves early in life.
One way to reconnect to your authentic self is to lessen time spent on social media. We literally live in the age of influence and often don’t realize how intrinsically we’re impacted by what we consume. Do a social media fast, start with 1, 3 or 7 days and see how you feel.
Another way to connect with self is to spend time navel-gazing. Consider your feelings, wants, needs, and the why behind them. Keep a journal to order your thoughts and to get clear on what’s important to you.
Finally, consider where you currently are in life and where you’ve been. After doing so, then envision where you want to go. Be intentional and keep track of your desires. And be sure not to confuse wishing and wanting with pursuing. To manifest your vision, you must be true to yourself and start pursuing your desires on purpose.
For more information on authentic engagement and how The Perry Perspective can support your quest for authenticity, schedule a consultation here.