Dr Austin Tay

MUSING OF AN ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST

Being authentic can differ from one to another. I was confronted with the question of authenticity recently. Specifically, the questions were raised by those pursuing their studies and those working adults. I do not profess to have the answers, but the question did make me think about how I can be authentic.

To me, being authentic is to bring your genuine self regardless of the situation. As human beings, we are so caught up with what society and others want us to present ourselves that we lose the actual connection to ourselves, thus losing our authentic selves. We start to live by the rules of others and not take a moment to consider what we genuinely think, feel and want to say. One can argue that we become argumentative, pushy and obnoxious when we are our authentic selves. That is precisely what I mean when we are too caught up with what others think of us. Then we will impose those views on ourselves, making us afraid to be authentic. Being authentic does not mean you do not have a discourse with others; I am suggesting that while you are entitled to share your genuine thoughts and feelings, you should never think that your thoughts and feelings are above those of others. While we present our authentic selves, we must also learn to accept others even when their thoughts and emotions differ from ours.

I do not want to get into the debate of what is right and wrong in the eyes of society. Instead, I want to encourage those who are feeling not authentic to pause and ponder.

  • What do you really want for yourself? (not what others want for you!). Be informed and not just take what is trending and out in the popular culture. We are all designed uniquely. Thus we are capable of our own thoughts and emotions. We do not need to follow what the masses are doing.
  • Understanding what you want for yourself, what will you do to achieve that? What might come your way as you proceed towards what you want to achieve? You are the architect of your journey; never allow others to tell you otherwise. However, be warned that the trajectory can be bumpy as life is.
  • Surround yourself with kindred spirits. Never feel obliged to conform but question when in doubt. After all, we want to embrace our uniqueness and, at the same time, also embrace differences.
  • When you are in the habit of labelling yourself, think about why you do so. Would you always go to be what you labelled yourself? Human beings are adaptable; we can change ourselves, even though it might be uncomfortable.

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