There is a saying that goes, “The best gift you can give yourself, is the gift of being yourself.” Although the author is anonymous, they are not alone, as many others have pitched similar ideas along those lines. From the ancient Egyptians, to Lao Tau, to Oscar Wilde, to Michelle Obama, numerous people have spoken about the importance of being authentic to who you truly are.
Actually, I would bet that most of us have even been encouraged at one point or another by expressions such as “Don’t be afraid to be yourself”, and “It pays to be genuine”. Maybe you have even studied this subject for spiritual or academic reasons. It is safe to say the majority of us are fully aware of the importance of authenticity. However, I would like to take it a step further and say that not only is it important, but it is absolutely necessary if we hope to inspire and create lasting change.
I believe that most people come into this world without having a real sense of who they are. I certainly did. In fact, it was only after having gone through various experiences that I was able to gain a strong sense of self, and identify different aspects that I wanted to refine. The more I dug in through self-analysis, the more I began to recognize and appreciate my strengths and weaknesses, and obtain confidence in my personality. Through all of this, I was able to gain clarity on who I really was, that is, what made me, me.
What makes you authentically, you? If you could describe yourself in only a few words, how would you do it? Knowing ourselves is of course the basis for living authentically, and beyond that, it’s about continuing to learn and grow in order to see how we can be more impactful in our work, our communities, and life in general.
As a student at Veritas, how can you practice being your authentic self, and what can it benefit exactly in the long run?
One of the ways during classes is through the speech reading-out practice. After understanding the meaning of the words, students have the opportunity to make the speech their own by focusing on delivery and how they choose to resonate emotionally with an audience. Another practice is the business leader interview discussions, where it is less about presentation, and more about asserting your own original opinions. And nowhere is this authenticity more relevant than in the self-introduction presentation, where students are encouraged to really dive deep, and tell their authentic stories as if introducing themselves for the first time.
One additional way to get a sense of what it means to be authentic is by observing the leaders we study in class.
We could go out on a limb and say that they were all passionate about the subjects they discussed, however that passion was depicted in different ways. While Jack Welch may have spoken more sternly and directly as he talked about his company, Emma Watson displayed her passion for gender equality in a gentler way. But both are okay, because both styles were original to them as individuals. By looking at these examples and others, we can see that what makes a message really memorable or relatable, is not what the speaker does to get our attention, but how much they are willing to simply be themselves.
The world doesn’t need carbon copies or clones, it needs more of you – your personality, your passion, the way you express yourself, your voice, your strengths, and your weaknesses. One thing I have learned is that we should never be afraid to be our authentic and true selves. Not only can we be more impactful and inspiring to others, but the world can be a much more colorful place.
Born and raised in Texas, USA, Chelsea from an early age took an interest in learning about people of different cultural backgrounds. After studying International Relations in college, she sought out various opportunities to travel and work in different settings. Inspired by the history and culture of Japan, she decided to move to broaden her career in the summer of 2018. Currently, her hobbies include cooking, hanging out in neat coffee shops, design, and continuing to study Japanese! She loves feeling settled in Japan, spending time with friends, and believes that every moment is a precious opportunity to learn something new.