In existentialism, authenticity was considered the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality despite external pressures.
When I was a kid, my family and I would often go to visit my Grandma’s sister who lived in the countryside. Her and my Grandma and had been raised in an orphanage run by nuns. My Grandma had married and moved to the city, whereas Zia Antonietta (that was her name, zia means aunt in Italian) had stayed at the village. Zia Antonietta was very poor. She lived with Zio Nino, her husband, in a rural and messy house in the middle of a big courtyard. I loved them so much! Zio Nino was quite an inventor, he liked to pick up pretty much everything he’d find on the street like parts of old engines, wheels, handlebars, and he’d bring them home and build bikes, motorbikes and other weird toys for us kids to play.
One year, I remember he came back from an estate auction and brought home an old galleon that belonged to an amusement park. He placed and secured it in the middle of the courtyard and allowed us to play in it. Our parents were a little concerned about its safety but we wouldn’t care and would jump on and off the galleon pretending to be pirates in search of a lost treasure.
While Zio Nino would invent his things, Zia Antonietta would breed animals, cultivate vegetables and cook. She had chickens, guinea—fowls, rabbits (which we’d end up eating) cats, dogs, a horse and two little ponies. Every thing she would cook was 100% homemade and – there’s no doubt about that – 100% organic: pasta, ravioli, bread, sauces, meat, cakes and so on. Her meals were a banquet better than a 5 stars restaurants. Just recalling the times spent with Zia Antonietta and Zio Nino, brings back into my body the joy of all the laughter we made and I can still sense the smell and the taste of that incredible and genuine food. They had no money and lived in the most humble way, yet to me, that world had everything one could wish for. It was Authentic. I miss the times when technology was not prevailing and we were able to enjoy little things and create wonders out of nothing.
When we are kids, we are open and eager to discover. As we become adults we lose that curiosity and creativity. We think we already know everything and rather than pursuing what makes us feel good we do what others make us believe is right for us. We follow trends, rules, society, medias, influencers and we become fearful of being ordinary. We have founded a society in which we came to believe everything is “not enough”. Our relationships are “not enough”, the house we live is “not enough”, our job is “not enough” and the list goes on. We choose to engage in comparison and we end up spending our lives struggling. We live in the idea that if we don’t do extraordinary things, are super successful, or surround ourselves with expensive material possessions we are not good enough.
Why do we believe in this tremendous bullshit?
To me, authenticity is a virtue. To be authentic means letting go of who I think I’m supposed to be and embracing everything that I am: my story, where I come from, my relationships, my passions, my feelings, my desires as well as my imperfections, my dark sides, my mistakes and my failures. It’s daring to break through all the noise of this fucking world and shout out loud “I am enough! Just as I am and I don’t care about other people think”. Authenticity is living from my heart even when it’s hard, allowing myself to be vulnerable and understanding that ALL human beings have good and bad moments. It’s allowing myself to live my joy with pure passion without being afraid to let myself feel the happiness. Authenticity takes the spirit to express my ideas without the fear of being judged. It’s living my nature with elegance, knowing how to move into life’s circumstances. It’s enjoying simple things, it’s being spontaneous.
No one else is like me, no one else has my experience. I am Authentic because I am the original, there are no copies or imitations. I am more than enough, I am Unique.
Why, when we know that there’s no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No – the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect.
– Brene Brown –
’Til the next one!