How do we become more genuine and authentic, following yesterday’s post on the value of genuineness and authenticity?
I don’t have a magic bullet but I can tell you some of the major steps that helped me. I don’t claim to be the most genuine and authentic person, but I’m more so now than I was.
First, I came to recognize that all these shells weren’t helping me. They seemed helpful locally, but hurt me globally. I realized this by noticing why I liked some of my oldest friends. I felt less inhibited with them because I knew them before I put some shells on. Newer friends got humor, intelligence, and things like that, but more inhibition and less passion, compassion, and empathy.
Naturally I wanted more people who felt like old friends. I decided to bring people into the shells. My practice of opening up first with potential friends came from there. At first I felt vulnerable, but experience opening up made me feel more secure than before.
Eventually I decided I didn’t want the shells there at all. I mean, I still understand some situations call for certain behaviors, which can seem inauthentic, but they are becoming rarer.
What can you do?
At a high level, you can learn to attract people by bringing people into your shells or getting rid of your shells. To do this you have to recognize what behaviors you adopted as you matured that get between you and others. Such behaviors insinuate themselves into your life, largely because you felt they helped you when you started them so you tend to like them, not suspect them.
At a lower level, a few practices have helped me. Here are some I’ve written up:
- Open up first
- Recognize nobody is normal
- Share your passions
- Avoid boring social niceties
- Adopt social skills that promote meaningful communication
- Become aware of your self-talk
It’s hard to give more specific advice applicable to everyone. For me, simply seeing that some beliefs and social skills put barriers between myself and others was all I needed to put me on the path toward removing those barriers. Just changing that belief may be enough for you to see the other beliefs and behaviors getting in your way.
Letting down the barriers can be scary, hard, and emotionally draining. It can also be rewarding and fun. It’s also attractive to everyone, so it brings new people into your life — people you want to attract.
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