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Don't Use Authenticity as an Excuse to Be Cruel

Don't Use Authenticity as an Excuse to Be Cruel
"How do you respond to critics who have pointed out all of the problems of authenticity in organizations?" We were at the end of a workshop on finding meaning and purpose at work-and the question, from a senior human resources executive, stunned me a bit. "Can you tell me more?"


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Authenticity is under threat

The idea of authenticity has been changed into an excuse to be cruel without feeling bad about it.

Reclaiming authenticity is essential because it is a key piece of a meaningful life.





Authenticity is about being your true self and not pretending to be someone else. It is also the way to take ownership and refine and improve your true self toward the best you can become.

Therefore, if your true self is aggressive, entitled or immature, you don't have permission to mistreat others.



Know yourself

You can only know yourself if you are honest and accepting of all the parts of you.

  • Acknowledge the good parts about yourself. This can include strengths, talents, knowledge, skills.
  • Don't overlook the bad parts. The bad of you will hurt others and sabotage your path toward a meaningful life.
  • There might also be ugly parts, like being awkward, off-putting, or distracting from the good.



Work in progress

You are an imperfect work in progress. Be comfortable giving free rein to the good parts of yourself, limit and reform the bad parts, and refine the ugly.



Observe, absorb, and learn

Pay attention around you as you work on first knowing, then working on yourself.

  • What happens when you let your best loose?
  • When are you better and restraining the bad?
  • How are people responding to your efforts to refine your ugly?
  • Are there ways to better express the good, take responsibility for the bad and tweak the ugly?

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    Finding your true self

    People feel a greater sense of meaning in life when they are able to be their true selves. To reveal the true self:

    • Think of only those traits you are able to express around those people you are closest to.
    • Now think of only those characteristics that you possess and are often able to express to others in social settings.

    The distance between your answer to the true-self and the social settings prompt is how far you have to go to become authentic. Ultimately, the way we act around those who are closest to us is how we should act around everyone.

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    Personal Or Core Values

    They are what you consider most important in your life, literally what you “value. ” They are broad concepts that can be applied across a wide range of circumstances, as opposed to narrow answers t...

    The Benefits Of Having a Core Value

    • Having a core values list helps you make better decisions. The decisions you make come more quickly and efficiently than they would without it.
    • Being unconscious of your core values makes you likely to keep repeating the same mistakes.

    Creating a List Of Personal Values

    The core values that are most valuable to each of us come from our own personal experience, not from being taught.

    As you put them into practice you’ll get better at internalizing these values and they’ll express themselves subconsciously with smaller decisions, as well.

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    Meaning in Life

    • Many of us struggle with finding meaning, as we are busy with our daily work and distractions.
    • Meaning in life provides us with the purpose of getting up daily, energized and pepped up...

    Meaningful Work

    21–35% of our life is spent at work, making it a crucial part of our lives to spend at something we find meaning in.

    Meaningful work should be:

    • Motivating and purposeful.
    • Should be coherent and make some sense.
    • Should be significant.

    Connected with a Purpose

    Meaningful work is when we feel a genuine connection with what we do for a living and our larger spectrum of life.

    It is motivating, creates deep relationships and helps others.

    Gratitude raises our happiness

    Gratitude raises our happiness

    We don't have to feel grateful in order to give thanks. Acting grateful can make you grateful.

    For many people, gratitude is difficult because life feels difficult. But we don't...

    Research on gratitude

    Studies consistently show that the people practicing gratitude enjoy significantly greater life satisfaction than those who don't.

    One explanation is that acting happy, regardless of feelings, encourages the brain into processing positive emotions. Gratitude stimulates the hypothalamus (a part that regulates stress), and the ventral tegmental area (a part that produces the sensation of pleasure.)

    Strategies for practicing gratitude

    • Start with interior gratitude - giving thanks privately. Then move to exterior gratitude, which focuses on public expression.
    • Regularly express gratitude in letters to loved ones and colleagues, thanking them for what they do.
    • Be grateful for the little things you experience, the smell of fall in the air, a song that brings back good memories.