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  • Rishi Gaurav Bhatnagar

Signals for authenticity

Authenticity is just one of the words that are thrown around a lot. To be honest, this word has never really made sense to me. Really. It hasn’t. In more than one case, the advice I have been given is to be myself and stay authentic, whether it is in a new job, going on a date, in a relationship, with friends, or at the immigration check.

What does being authentic really mean? What does it mean for me? And how do I know whether I am being authentic or not?

These are some of the questions that have been in my mind over the past couple of years.

Slowly though, some of these answers are emerging. I think it takes a lot of work on self to figure out what is authentic to you.

It really needs to start by understanding who you are really, what your real self is, and that depends on how much time you have spent having conversations with yourself leading you into self-awareness.

You see, depending on what your chronological age at the time of reading this is, you may have different answers to the questions below, but the truth is, your answers below won’t be guided by your chronological age at all. They will be guided by what your emotional age is. You must understand, in the end, we are all just children masquerading as adults.

I have had an opportunity to meet people with incredible depth over the past 5/10 years. And I have been intrigued by how they function, how they look at the world, what their value systems are, and more. I have also noticed that they practice an exercise in authenticity as no one else does. Now, authenticity is a rather non-tangible, no-measurable thing in itself. You can’t say “oh I am 60% authentic today”. I think it’s more like this; either you are authentic or you are not. That’s about it. Perhaps you do a larger portion of things in a day because they are authentic to you. This is where I caught myself.

Authenticity, according to me, resides less in what you do, more of who you are.

So what are the signals of authenticity? Well, it has to start with a lot of self-awareness. That is going to be your product of choice. With that, go forward into these questions.

Signals to look out for:

  1. Are you expressing or impressing?

  2. Are you taking an action because you want to or because there is an emotion driving you there or because that’s the right thing to do?

  3. Are your choices defined and guided by a system of evaluation external to yourself(conditioning, religion, culture) or is it your own?

  4. Are you being who you are as if you’re past didn’t exist? Or is it being controlled by it?

  5. Are you present - in body, in mind, and in spiritual existence? (Don’t worry about the last one. Who the F knows what that word even means? :P )

  6. Others:

    1. When asking for something; are you comfortable, do you feel guilt?

    2. Are you acting from a place of abundance or scarcity?

    3. Are you feeling in control of yourself or do you feel as if your boundaries are being more porous (in a bad way)

Of course, these are a handful of pretty deep questions, that I am sure you were probably not expecting at all. You have perhaps read a lot of books around authenticity, self, philosophy and you also perhaps follow the modern-day monks for advice and peace. All that is really wonderful. You must acknowledge this.

Whether you like yourself or don’t, the fact that you are inclined towards this and that fact that you are willing to even consider all of these shows me in more ways than one, that there is self-love already there in you.

Now all you gotta do is water that seed and let it grow like nobody’s business.

I was in a workshop with Yogesh Parmar( he is fucking fantastic, whenever you get the time, please be a part of them), where he said

”you can never do things for self-love, you can only do things out of self-love”.

That has stayed with me. That has really stayed with me.

What if I told you, your journey into Authenticity will (and must) start at self-love and self-compassion?

Well don’t take my word for it, but let me tell you, from the person who hated his existence, to the person who likes himself a bit now, it has been easier than ever to practice being authentic in life.

The next challenge in authenticity that I’d like to take up will be in relationships. I have had a brief encounter where I learned that it isn’t easy for me to do that in a romantic relationship. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I go back to being the 8-year-old Rishi. I’m working on that now, figuring out why do I act that way. Perhaps, one day, I will write about my learnings and signals from that too.

Till then, be 1% kinder to yourself today. Keep growing!

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