The Oxford Dictionary describes the word AUTHENTIC as being of ‘undisputed origin’ and not a copy ~ genuine’.

If that is the case, then the most authentic beings I know are animals and children. Why? Because they exist exactly as they are. With no false pretences or agendas, fully engaged in the present moment, expressing their needs, thoughts and feelings, with absolute honesty.

As we mature, we learn that for some people our behaviour is not acceptable and we begin to change who we are in order to please others; to fit in, to make our lives easier, or because our truth may hurt someone.

Recently, I have been reflecting on the many times that I have not been authentic in my life. Whether it was out of fear of being seen, of hurting someone or having to share a difficult truth.

Importantly, the times in which I have not been authentic have cost me dearly ~ personally, professionally or socially.

Being authentic means showing up fully engaged in the present moment; whatever that moment may bring. It takes a potent combination of courage, trust and vulnerability.

By being deliberately intentional in our choice of where we come from, we then have a choice to either use all of the ‘defense mechanisms’ that we have built up over a lifetime that protect us from deep intimacy, or we allow ourselves to be truly seen.

To be authentic, you just have to BE.

Be with the things you can’t be with. Speak your truth. Risk being vulnerable. Cultivate courage. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Love others. Detach yourself from a desired outcome. Be committed to yourself and to the process and let go of what could, should, must, or needs to happen.

The gift of growing older is that you care less about what others think as you develop a more authentic connection with yourself, with others, with life and with everything around you.

The best way to achieve a more fulfilling and passionate life is to cultivate a more authentic life and here are 3 ways in which you can begin today:

1) Identify areas, people and situations where you are not being authentic.

Start observing yourself in various situations with others and check in to see if what you are doing, how you are being and what you are saying is coming from a space of personal truth or whether you are just trying to please others, to fit in, to make your life easier or not to upset the status quo.

2) Cultivate the courage to speak your truth.

Speaking your truth is an essential aspect of living a life of passion, fulfillment and authenticity. However, for many of us it is much easier to talk about speaking our truth than it is to actually do it.

Speaking our truth means that not everyone may agree with us and that’s okay! We don’t all need to agree on everything to have respect or love for each other.

3) Risk being vulnerable.

Vulnerability is not easy. It requires honesty – honesty with how we’re feeling, with what we want, what we need, what we fear, etc. And though at times it may be difficult, vulnerability will promote an intricate and irreplaceable intimacy with everyone in your life.

It takes courage and vulnerability to show up and reveal who we really are in any moment or situation, however the rich rewards of a deeper intimacy with life and with others is surely worth the risk.

You know what? We can all sense authenticity in a person and isn’t it one of the most attractive qualities around?

Show up. Be present. Take risks. Reflect. Keep on trying, and know that we are all in this together.

In its best and most functional sense, authenticity is a deep connection with SELF – the I AM presence.

Imagine a world where we all had the courage to be AUTHENTIC IN EVERY MOMENT.