Be you. Be your true self. Stay authentic. It’s easy enough to say, but just how does one even go about being true to themselves, anyway?
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we learn how to remain ‘genuine’.
The appeal of authenticity is hard to deny. It even makes good business sense. A 2016 study from the Foster School of Business at the US-based University of Washington found that while emotional intelligence (EQ) is critical to people’s performance at work, it doesn’t do a thing for them if they aren’t genuine. Sincere leaders were found to be far more effective at motivating people, since they inspired trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words.
So, who would you be if you could just ‘be you’? Here are a few tips from US-based Greater Good Magazine, by the University of California, Berkeley, to ensure you’re staying true to yourself:
1. Don’t lie
Unfortunately, most of us were not raised to be truth-tellers – we were raised to people-please. With notions like ‘telling white lies is okay’, our society is formed by people who have often had to pretend, perform or play nice. But any form of lying can be stressful to our brains, and our body. According to a 2015 review article in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology, constant lying is associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate, vasoconstriction, and elevated stress hormones in the blood. So, when you avoid lying, you’re automatically happier and healthier.
2. But don’t always say what’s on your mind
Even as you live your truth, it’s not advisable to always say what’s on your mind. Sometimes, you may want to say something that comes across as unkind (“that dress is unflattering on you”), or judgmental. The better alternative is to stay silent. If you do want to say what’s on your mind, you could do so by explaining how you feel in the situation, rather than what the person has done wrong or badly. For instance, say, “I feel nervous and upset when you’re doing that…” rather than “You are terrible for doing that…”.
3. Follow your gut
Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what we want in a situation, or even who we are. But our body already knows what we’re feeling, even if we’re not conscious of it. Try listening to your body’s feedback – like the tensing of your jaw when you’re angry or a slight shoulder-raise when you’re anxious. Similarly, when you experience something profound that truly resonates with you, your eyes may well up with tears, or you may get chills. So, if there’s something that’s not aligning (or aligning perfectly) with your inherent nature, your body will definitely try to let you know.
4. Accept all parts of yourself
Being you isn’t about being perfect, or being the best possible version of you. It’s about knowing your flaws just as well as you know your strengths, and accepting them with forgiveness and compassion. Loving and accepting ourselves for who we are, enables us to be authentic and connect much more deeply with those around us.
How do you try to be more genuine in your relationships? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at email@example.com.