Posted on | June 21, 2011 | 24 Comments
I’m getting seriously tired of that word.
I admit I use it too—way too much. And everywhere I turn, I find an article about it. Bloggers are wringing the juice out of the concept.
Yeah, I get it. I need to be authentic.
You get it too, don’t you? You strive to be authentic, right?
You probably do. People who don’t give a rip about being authentic rarely read blogs like this one.
But are you REALLY being authentic?
I’d be willing to bet Ducky (and you all know how much I love Ducky) that you’re not being as authentic as you think you are. You probably are more authentic than you used to be, but you may be stuck at a new level of authenticity that isn’t quite the real deal.
I’ve recently realized I haven’t been nearly as authentic as I claim I am. Sure, I’ve made uncommon life choices. Yes, I buck the trends and the acceptable ways to live. But am I totally free to do things my way?
I have achieved what I now understand is “acceptable authenticity.”
Acceptable authenticity is being authentic within the bounds of what other people will see as okay. You’re being yourself, but you’re not being SO much of yourself that others will thing you’ve dropped off the deep end and landed on a slide that will lead you right into the loony bin.
When I say “other people,” I mean the people you have chosen to have in your life. The funny thing about authenticity is that when we set out to be authentic, instead of truly standing on our own, we just change peer groups. We leave behind a group that wouldn’t like what we’re doing and find a group that “gets us.” But then, we find ourselves trying to fit within that new group.
Not long ago, I had a conversation with a friend who has a blog. She told me about some paranormal experiences she had and said she was thinking about sharing them with her readers—a group of people she’s consciously chosen and attracted based on her “authentic” way of being. “But I don’t want people to think I’m a kook,” she said.
Not long after that, I was thinking about writing a post about parallel realities and Bashar, who I mentioned when I wrote about following your highest excitement, and I caught myself thinking the same thing my friend did—I don’t want my readers (people who wouldn’t be here if they weren’t drawn to the “authentic” me) to think I’m a kook.
The Kook Test
This desire to be an Anti-Kook is one we all have. No one wants people to think they’re crazy or stupid or silly or any of those other “negative” words we use to describe people who have taken leave of their senses.
Even people who pride themselves on being “out there” don’t want to seem TOO out there. They only want to be out there enough to fit with the others who are out there with them.
So we all have this sort of internal Kook Test we apply to what we do. We ask ourselves, “What will they think if I do this?” “They” are the peers we’ve chosen to fit in with.
It’s reasonable and understandable that we do this. We all want to be loved and respected, and we think we need to avoid kook status to have that love and respect.
But the kook test is a barrier to full authenticity. It’s a box that keeps us from fully being who we are.
The Truth About Kookiness
Where would we be without the kooks? Really?
Let’s think of just a few: Galileo, Columbus, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford.
Kooks. Every single one of them. Total lunatics.
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be a part of that lunatic club.
The truth is that kookiness is a necessary part of brilliance, innovation, and genius. Kookiness is the foundation of achievement and wonder.
Kookiness is the key to fully being who you are. AND THEREFORE, kookiness is what will get you love and respect … and joy.
Ticket To Joy
The only love and respect you really need is your own. If you have that, you won’t need or want anyone else’s love and respect.
If you get it, great. But you won’t need it.
And once you have that love and respect, you also have joy. Nothing gets you to full-on, want to whoop at the top of your lungs and dance a jig joy better than feeling suffused with love and respect.
Think about it. Really think about it. Don’t you do much of what you do because, at the core, you think these things will bring you love and respect?
Can you imagine how awesome you’d feel if you had all the love and respect you need NOW?
In order to get that level of feel good, you have to be you and only you.
You have to stop caring one tiny bit about whether someone thinks something you’re doing, saying, or believing is kooky … or “wrong.”
You have to care about one thing and one thing only: does what you’re doing and being feel right to YOU.
I’ve started living that way, and I have to tell you that it feels darn good. I’m pretty sure it’s a feeling similar to what Ducky feels when I take her to the beach and unhook her from the leash.
It’s a free-flowing rush.
And I believe it leads to greatness.
I’ll let you know how that unfolds for me.
In the meantime, I encourage you to take a look at how authentic you’re letting yourself be. Are you still caring about what someone thinks of how you look or how you sound? Do you care about whether someone thinks what you do is good or not? Do you care if someone thinks your beliefs are insane?
Be really honest here. It’s easy to say you don’t care but then feel the pinch in your gut after someone disapproves or criticizes you, that pinch that tells you that you DO care.
If you are still looking to others (even if it’s a select group of others) to give you parameters of okayness, here’s how to shift to inner okayness:
1. Imagine that you live in a world where there is only one entity you HAVE to please. (Hint: you do live in such a world.) Think of this person as The Boss Of You.
2. Make that person look like you.
3. Imagine that The Boss Of You doesn’t speak but instead communicates his or her approval or disapproval by making you feel either good or bad. If you feel good, The Boss Of You likes what you’re doing or thinking. If you feel bad, The Boss Of You doesn’t like what you’re doing or thinking.
4. Now use that feel good/feel bad system to replace the Kook Test.
Note that this is an entirely internal system that has nothing to do with what anyone else thinks of what you’re doing.
When you live like this, you’re being authentic. And you never need to use that word or read an article about authenticity ever again.
It comes down to this:
You are YOU and all you have to do is DO YOU STUFF. And nothing else matters.
Here’s a fun video to help you get the hang of it:
Fast Tube by Casper
What do you think? Have you achieved real authenticity or acceptable authenticity? Have you already thrown out the Kook Test? If not, are you ready to let it go?