Authenticity is pretty basic on the surface; be true to yourself, with others.
Beneath the surface is where it gets complicated. That’s because humans play a lot of games with themselves and each other about what (and who) they want to share with others.
If you are being true to one of your own goals or principles, but you haven’t shared your honest motives and feelings with others, you are being deceitful and inauthentic. Defending a motive or end goal that has not been stated is justification, not authenticity. Withholding your feelings about what’s going on is also deceitful.
The first step towards authenticity is to disclose your motives and feelings. Ironically, these statements aren’t about your values or principles, they are about how you are feeling right now and why you care.
You can wax piously about your values and principles all day long, but if you don’t get vulnerable about your feelings, you are keeping a distance between yourself and others. It may be safe, but it’s not authentic because it’s only part of you. You can live consistently with your beliefs all year long, but if you don’t share with people what’s going on inside of you, you haven’t let them beneath the veneer to see all of you.
Authenticity starts with transparent, vulnerable disclosure. How will you tell the whole truth today?