Updated: Oct 7, 2019
What does it mean to 'just be yourself?'
We hear a lot about authenticity today. We are urged to practise ‘authentic communication’ and to be ‘authentic leaders’. As a child, I rarely heard the word ‘authenticity’. If we were very lucky, we might have been encouraged to ‘be ourselves’ …but generally that advice meant ‘don’t let stereotypes about your gender, sexual orientation, age, race or class determine who you aim to be in the world’. It was about resisting societal constraints that aimed to keep us in our places.
But as those constraints have loosened, why has authenticity become more of a buzzword, not less?
In an age when it is arguably easier to ‘let it all hang out’, why has ‘being true to yourself’ acquired such emphasis?