Authenticity Recap

Facilitator: Aster Asfaw, Freelance Consultant

The session began with a round of introductions, after which our facilitator, Aster, showed an image of a chameleon and prompted members to explain what it was. In response, the members described it as a master of transformation, effortlessly adapting to its environment. Aster seized upon this observation to illustrate a concept – the consequences of allowing external circumstances to shape our identities, rather than embracing our authentic selves.

During the discussion, the group raised compelling points about the multifaceted nature of human personalities. They acknowledged that different situations and interactions often call for variations in one’s demeanor. This, however, did not entail forsaking one’s core values. Rather, it meant adjusting communication styles according to the context, whether among family, friends, or colleagues.

In many societies and religions, particularly for women, there are often expectations to remain silent, avoid raising their voices, and conform to certain behavioral standards. This can suppress the natural inclinations of individuals who may be outgoing, vocal, or exhibit traits deemed unconventional. Consequently, it can lead to inner turmoil, a sense of not belonging, and emotional distress.

Authenticity involves genuine self-expression, free from the constraints of external expectations. You have to believe in yourself and understand the importance of grounding decisions in personal values and trusting that, in the long run, authenticity is an asset. The fear of standing alone in a sea of conformity, whether due to societal pressures or self-doubt, can sway one’s convictions. Without awareness of one’s emotions and the emotions of others, true self-expression becomes elusive.

Major Takeaways:

  • Authenticity is characterized by being genuine, truthful, and real, living life in accordance with our own values and aspirations, rather than conforming to the expectations of others.
  • Embracing authenticity fosters trust in both our own judgments and decisions and in the eyes of others who respect our commitment to our values and beliefs. It equips us to handle challenges effectively.
  • Authenticity aligns who we are, what we do, and what we believe, creating harmony in our lives.
  • It’s imperative to translate our core values into action; mere contemplation is insufficient.
  • Avoid making assumptions about ourselves and others.

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