Precisely how Authentic Do you think you’re Genuinely?

We recently had an interesting discussion about authenticity with a group of delegates during an internal communication skills course. We had identified in early stages that the majority of the participants attending the two-day programme had received a 360-degree feedback suggesting that they might benefit from tools and techniques to develop their communication skills. Anyone in the group felt that, while these were keen to improve their skills being authentic while communicating at the job was the most important thing. They then added that they would feel inauthentic if these were to consciously use their body gestures in ways which may influence someone. This prompted us to pause and ask the group if they would be interested in us facilitating an exploration into this is of the phrase authenticity. They unanimously agreed and so we kicked off by asking these question:

“Do you consider there’s a distinction between how you are feeling, think and behave when you’re aware of your loved ones, out with friends and at work with colleagues?”

While everyone in this particular group agreed there is indeed a distinction, most felt they behaved authentically while communicating at work. This then prompted the question, which of the feelings and behaviours were most authentic to the person; them all perhaps? This was a little trickier because it was clear from a number of the feedback the delegates in the space had received from a current 360 that their authentic behavior wasn’t necessarily making the required impact. The objective for the remaining session then shifted towards how we may identify which can be our authentic self and just how to then consciously make use of a communication skills technique without losing authenticity. What happened next?

Think, can of worms and a jar opener!

We started by looking at how we may become more conscious of exactly how we utilize the 4 dimensions (body, heart, mind and intention) to state ourselves. Once we’re clear concerning this we are able to commence to realize that there are in fact many selves behind what appears like one personality. At the least four in many cases.

Let’s start with what we may believe is our authentic physical self. It is a fact that people inherit 50% of our genes from our Mothers and another 50% from our fathers so the self we call our body is entirely inherited. We are basically physical reproductions of our parents. The main thing to comprehend about this really is that the genes we’ve inherited contain memories. You could have heard about muscle memory in sport, well the exact same relates to the genetic memory inherent in the formation of the body in vitro. All of the memories that inform the procedure leading to the form, size and quality of our physical organs is within the genes we inherit and are the result of our ancestors’ social and environmental experiences and behaviours. Recent studies in epigenetics have revealed precisely how important genetic inheritance could be with regards to our health and well-being and that of our children. So, what does it mean to be authentically ourselves physically when we’ve inherited someone else’s areas of the body?

Now let’s explore how we may turn into a slightly different person whenever we become emotional. People will often claim that after a particularly emotional episode – this could have involved either feeling extremely happy or ecstatic to feeling sad or angry – they felt like they’d been hijacked by another personality. This really is essentially because our emotions are a mix of inherited dispositions, learned behaviours and also our personal unique responses to living conditions and experiences we’ve been born into. Each important stage of life is marked by certain emotional benchmarks, infancy to childhood and puberty to adulthood. Each of these stages will have featured both positive and negative experiences that lay down some fairly stubborn and habitual, emotional responses that can be very hard to break. So, are we always authentically being ourselves emotionally? Which can be your true and authentic emotional self?

The intellectual dimension is also at the mercy of the vagaries of our genetic inheritance. Although this is simply not necessarily fixed for life. Research into brain plasticity has revealed that our thinking style could be altered and with practice and regular brain workouts we are able to increase our intellectual capacity. However, our genes combined with the quality of our education will influence the development of a personality that is based on our personal familiarity with the world help with being authentic. The task with this personality is that it will often be a combination of learned traditions and rules plus our personal interpretation of the data we’ve been required to comprehend and accept. It is probably safe to assume that many people are behaving authentically when communicating their knowledge about the world. After all, it is what they believe to be true.

Which neatly brings us to the fourth dimension of self-expression. The Intentional self. Here is the personality that forms around our deepest values and beliefs about life, the universe and everything. For instance, while at the job you may professionally execute most of the tasks required of one’s job role your ‘intention’ is to obtain through the day avoiding your boss or certain colleagues and escape the building as quickly as possible. In this instance maybe you are ‘doing’ work of work that doesn’t utilize your entire skills, working for an employer who doesn’t value you or recognize or acknowledge your potential and perhaps your role is not offering you the opportunities you think you deserve. In this example your intentional self is the absolute most authentic expression of what and who you are. Perhaps you are ‘doing’ your job perfectly your ‘being’- body gestures and emotional responses to others you work with – will undoubtedly be expressing your ‘authentic’ intentions. In this instance if you communicate anything apart from that which you genuinely intend maybe you are perceived as behaving in-authentically – perhaps without even realizing it. Here is the time for you to reset your intentions and consciously select a different authentic you that will aid you better. It might be that you can tap in to the authentic you that enjoys the physical facet of the work or commence to explore and expand your authentic emotional self. How might you become authentically more in touch with your emotions in ways that benefits both your colleagues and customers? Perhaps your intellectual self could offer more to your boss than you currently share. What impact might that have?

As we consciously choose which self to state, when, to whom and how, we are able to commence to integrate all 4 dimensions in a circulation of ‘being’ that increases our feeling of authenticity.

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