Authenticity: An “away from home” entry today.
Authenticity is such a broad term, touted about and fairly difficult to pigeonhole.
Here in the centre of Lisbon, I stumbled upon this beautiful and original building now home to a boutique. I didn’t really notice what was being sold; I was so drawn to the decor. The originality had been preserved with a modern approach to their retail overlaid. Yes, I would have preferred to see the original counters and not the advertorial showcases jarring the view but that is life in 2020. I’ll take the win – they could have whitewashed the original paintwork or taken away the panelling completely.
Finding and being our authentic selves is often about adaption, layers and adjustments. It is very rarely black and white. Authentic does not have to mean original – we can’t all be original – and it doesn’t mean we aren’t true to us. I equate authenticity with honesty; first and most importantly to myself. If I truly believe in me, my thoughts and actions then it stands to reason my approach to life will be the same. It’s tough to stay firm on this path but it really is the only way. It doesn’t mean we cannot change or adapt, adding to our own authenticity, but it does mean truth 100% of the time.
Now more than ever here at VA, I want to follow my instinct in the quest to retain authenticity. It may not be the most clever business decision on my part but it feels right. I’m writing when I have something to say not because my editorial calendar or partners schedule content. I trust my feelings to mirror yours and if I am experiencing a change of heart and mind on a daily basis, then I’m suspecting you are too. Life has and will change after such a monumental year and with this, our actions must shift.
All I know is staying true to myself, trusting my inner compass has allowed me to retain authenticity; a slower path to success but an enduring one.
I can’t say otherwise.
There is a seduction in the online world and the channels of social media making it very easy to lose or sidetrack authenticity. In the past brands have made it very difficult with their ‘rules and regulations’ for influencers to stay true to themselves. They are finally waking up. For me, it has meant lucrative offers have gone by the wayside because that game has never been one I wanted to play. I love being a free agent and now more than ever this means everything.
The number of ‘followers’, ‘likes’ or comments should not measure authenticity.
Does authenticity come from popularity? Unlikely. Popularity is a glorious feeling and when something we do or say resonates with our outside world, it is the best feeling. Should it drive what we say and do? Absolutely not. Take the win, embrace it and bask in the glory but it’s important to pay attention. Saying what others want to hear is not authentic.
How do we find the authentic?
Do we even know our authentic self? Who is she?
Confusion is baffling and who hasn’t had that? We think we know who we are and what we want only to find it isn’t the case. Maturity helps find authenticity if for no other reason than knowing us better. I feel braver to follow my own lead; years ago I would probably have done the expected. I challenged less because my self-confidence wasn’t as developed. Patience and trust – these also improve with age and make an authentic self easier to understand and manage.
I ask myself certain questions when I write and share here – a checklist of sorts to keep my authentic self all intact.
Is this truly my mood? Does my writing really say what I am feeling?
When it comes to fashion and beauty my self-scrutiny is very simple.
Do I want it? Would I wear it? Do I use it? Is it worth sharing? The answers must be overwhelmingly 100% positive.
The same type of questions work in our day-to-day quest to retain authenticity and following those will ensure any red flags are duly noted and dealt with.
Our authenticity is unique; it is ours alone to follow and make what we want. xv