By UCA News
By Father Kuruvilla Pandikattu
(UCA News) — Are we true to God? To ourselves? Today when the Church faces questions about its own services and even identity, its members need to ask themselves: Is the Church true to its own call? Can it really claim integrity and authenticity?
Being true to oneself is a fundamental component of personal authenticity, which encompasses the congruence of one’s beliefs, values and actions with their intrinsic self. It requires the fortitude to accept and express one’s authentic identity, free from societal pressures, external expectations, and conformity.
This essay examines the significance of being authentic, the dimensions of authenticity, and the barriers that may prevent individuals from living authentically.
Being genuine to oneself is essential for personal development, fulfillment, and well-being in general.
According to research conducted by Sheldon and Kasser, living an authentic life is associated with higher levels of vitality, self-esteem, and psychological well-being. When individuals align their actions with their authentic selves, they experience inner harmony, purpose and fulfillment.
Dimensions of Authenticity
Truthfulness or authenticity incorporates multiple dimensions that contribute to an individual’s genuine self-expression. These dimensions, according to Kernis and Goldman (2006), include self-awareness, self-acceptance, and the congruence between an individual’s internal experiences and external behavior.
Understanding one’s values, aspirations, assets, and weaknesses constitutes self-awareness. Self-acceptance entails appreciating every aspect of oneself, faults and imperfections included.
Congruence is the correspondence between a person’s interior thoughts, emotions and beliefs and their outward expression.
Obtaining and maintaining authenticity can be difficult due to societal influences, the dread of being judged, and internal conflicts.
Individuals are frequently pressured by societal expectations to conform to predetermined roles, values and norms. Fear of judgment or censure may prevent individuals from expressing their genuine selves, resulting in a feeling of inauthenticity. Internal conflicts, such as conflicting values or a lack of self-awareness, can also inhibit a person’s authenticity.
Methods for Fostering Authenticity
Developing authenticity requires deliberate effort and introspection. The following strategies can assist individuals on the path to authenticity:
- Engage in introspection in order to obtain a deeper comprehension of your values, passions and aspirations. Regular self-reflection promotes self-awareness and enables individuals to make decisions that are consistent with their authentic selves.
- Authenticity necessitates adopting vulnerability and being transparent about one’s thoughts, emotions and experiences. This vulnerability fosters genuine relationships with others and permits a more genuine expression of oneself.
- Contradict societal expectations: Inquire into societal norms and expectations that conflict with your values and goals. Recognize that conforming to societal norms does not automatically result in fulfillment or authenticity.
- Engage in self-acceptance: Accept your assets and vulnerabilities, recognizing that flaws are a natural part of being human. Encourage self-compassion and avoid self-criticism.
When one is authentic, one needs to pay the price. Being an individual or institution of integrity has its price to pay. Are we aware of the price and willing to pay it? Both as members of the Church and as an institution!
Being genuine to oneself is an essential component of personal and institutional integrity, authenticity and is associated with increased well-being, personal development, and satisfaction.
Individuals can cultivate authenticity despite societal pressures and internal conflicts through self-reflection, vulnerability, challenging societal expectations, and practicing self-acceptance.
By honoring their authentic selves, individuals can lead lives that are more congruent with their values, passions and deepest desires, nurturing a sense of wholeness and purpose.
*The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.
- Jesuit Father Kuruvilla Pandikattu (born 1957) is Chair Professor of JRD Tata Foundation for Business Ethics at XLRI, Jamshedpur, and was a professor of Physics, Philosophy and Religion at Jnana Deepa Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Pune, India. Author/editor of more than 45 books and 240 academic articles, Dr. Pandikattu’s main topics of research are ethics, anthropology, artificial intelligence, life management and transhumanism.