Trials and tribulations, frets and worries abound. Many are valid, most as true, and all touch and change life. Because each encounter, regardless of its seeming importance of the moment, can be quite significant in the long run. And that is where individual authenticity becomes so valuable.
Authenticity is that genuineness that resonates from the soul, from the essence of being. It is the deep, down reality of an individual. It is what makes a person tick and tock; it is a natural rhythm and rock. It creates balance and stability because the person is true to the self, faithful to the heart, and sincere in the soul. While much of authenticity is automatic - we are who we are - it is sometimes difficult to maintain this characteristic. When we enter rough waters and restless situations, finding the "right" answer for ourselves, accepting that our right answer does not necessarily meet the needs of others, may require strength and perspiration not to mention intestinal fortitude.
Why would authenticity take so much effort, attention, and determination? I believe it is because basically most people are good. They care about others and they want to create and live in a healthy, happy world. Because of this outward regard, it is easy to lose sight of inward focus. We can lose track of our "self" as we attend to the wants and needs of others. And while we may be behaving with authentic concern, we sometimes disguise our real beliefs and understanding to placate another person's. A little loss can be a gain in the long run as we learn. A lot of loss can mean becoming sightless of the self.
Examples of this type of lost-ness might be spouses, especially if one is particularly domineering. It is often far simpler to give in, to relent, rather than stand up for a fight. Not a fistfight or screaming match, of course, but just taking a stance for a personal wish, desire, or dream and while being willing to reshape it also recognizing that staying with it is essential to authenticity. In an authentic relationship, both participants listen, offer feedback, and then compromise without losing sight of the true desires of the soul while accepting that give-and-take is valuable. Since authenticity by nature should be kind, even when ideas and opinions differ respect reigns and decisions are made with the very best intent.
Parents, especially in my observations, mothers, may become lost in child rearing. In this case it is not so much that authenticity vanishes but that concern for another being supersedes all choices and situations. Part of this is good - parenting is a tremendous responsibility where selfishness must be put aside for the well-being of the child. Parents determined to remain in their own self-centered realm while children self-raise are relinquishing a key component of the parenting role. But this responsibility does not mean total loss of self, but rather a strengthening of moral fiber that will be reflected and absorbed by children.
I find authenticity to be a challenging but gratifying characteristic. I believe I have the genuineness and honesty areas under control and I believe that most people with whom I work recognize this in my behavior and deeds. I also admit that sometimes I waffle and waver to try to satisfy others and that is when bits of my authenticity slip away. The good thing is that these slippings are recoverable. Just because I bow to another today to try to pull a team together does not mean that this part of me is forever lost. I can regroup, re-examine, and regain that authenticity that makes me, me.