The word authentic is thrown around so much on the Internet today that I usually run from even using it. Yet, I will use it here because I think this is the right word.
Authentic means what is real, actual, or true.1 It is not something copied or done to conform to what one perceives someone else wants.
Do you have an authentic self-awareness? Do you look at yourself honestly and realistically?
I want to share five observations about authentic self-awareness.
Authentic self-awareness is an increasing challenge.
While authenticity is a buzzword used by so many people today, it is a challenge to have a clear and honest picture about who you really are. Talking about authenticity does not mean authenticity is taking place. With the barrage of information you face each day due to the ubiquity of social media, truth about anything—including yourself—is difficult to evaluate.
Growing older does not guarantee you will have any more clarity about yourself. In fact, it may cloud your view even more. With age, your life changes, your body changes, and at times, even your desires change. You may begin to delude yourself, which is not helpful for anyone.
Sometimes success adds to the increasing challenge of authentic self-awareness. When people say things about you in a public manner, good or bad, it makes it more difficult to see yourself in a healthy way. Periodically, I challenge people to remember that when you believe everything good people say about you, then you will also have to believe everything bad they say about you. It’s best to be cautious in our response to both.
This is why it is an increasing challenge to practice authentic self-awareness.
Authentic self-awareness is a perilous quest.
Scripture warns us to not deceive ourselves.2 This means self-deception does occur, and the power of imagining ourselves to be something we are not is an ongoing threat for each of us. It also means that we often miscalculate who we are through false reasoning and delusion. Authentic self-awareness is a perilous quest, because deception lies around every corner.
Be careful. Peer pressure can often press in on you personally, tempting you to pretend to be something you really are not. Personal pride enters in, and all of a sudden, you become blind about who you are and what you do well. This leads to discontentment. Soon after, you take another job and within months, realize you are not in your sweet spot.
People telling you what you ought to be doing with your life will lead you to deceiving yourself. Be careful. Be wise. Be discerning. Authentic self-awareness is important. Rest in who God made you to be.
Authentic self-awareness is a spiritual imperative.
Evaluate yourself continually. Make this a regular part of your spiritual journey. Appeal for God’s help. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you who you really are.
As you read the Bible, always pay close attention to any counsel about who you are in Christ. You are not who you think you are, nor who others believe you are; you are who God says you are. From this point of biblical authority, reflect upon who God has made you to be and gifted you to be. You are a work in progress to the glory of God.
Authentic self-awareness is a personal wake-up call.
If and when God shows you any variance to who you think you are versus the reality of who you are, let it serve as a personal wake-up call. It should call you to ask Him for His intervention in revealing the truth about yourself to you.
If this happens, deal with it spiritually. Confess it to God and receive His forgiveness. Then, go forward being filled with and walking in the Spirit. Deal with it practically. Adjust your life and desires to it. Refuse to be coerced into trying to be someone God has not really made you to be.
Authentic self-awareness is a healthy respect for who you are and where you are in your life.
God made you special. There is no one else like you. Having a healthy respect for yourself is important. You do not have to succumb to the pressure of other people. Living respectfully is accepting yourself.
This involves accepting who you are, but it also involves accepting where you are. Where you are is another plea to see yourself through your life gauges. There are times when you may not be fit in one or more of these areas: spiritual, physical, relational, financial, or emotional. Accept yourself enough that you are willing to be honest about each of these areas—and willing to make the necessary changes.
- Merriam-Webster, s.v. “authentic,” accessed June 4, 2017, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/authentic.
- James 1:22.
Excerpted with permission from Living Fit by Ronnie Floyd. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.