This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Honest about authenticity

Authenticity is the trendiest buzz word out there these days.

Phrases like “I’m living my authentic life” are uttered with regularity over coffeehouse beverages.

If you’re not sure how to be authentic, there’s an abundance of books, talk shows and weekend retreats that will teach you everything you need to know.

As much as I often say I’m not one to join in on trends, I have to admit, I’ve gone full-on trend with trying to live my own authentic life.

But what does that mean? I’ve seen countless videos and public speakers and coaches all cheering me on and assuring me I’m being authentic.

But stripping it down – beyond the videos and coaching and coffee shop talks – what does me living my authentic life really mean and how does it affect my inner circle?

For that matter, what does any of us living our authentic lives mean?

Without speaking for others, for me it really just means honesty, which sounds kind of lame and obvious. Except that it’s honesty on a level I’ve never taken it to before.

It’s not only about being honest with people, but also with myself even though it can be brutally hard sometimes.

In my quiet, alone moments, facing my own questions and then answering truthfully, even in my own head, can be sobering and a huge reality check.

It’s not that I lied to myself or others about these inner thoughts, it’s more that I just didn’t want to confront them because really, ignorance is bliss.

So I would just ignore the issue … the whole “if you can’t see, it must not be there” mentality.

The issues I chose to ignore varied on different days. But my favourites were:

  • my bank account and credit card balance
  • my marital breakdown
  • my current relationship
  • my friends
  • and, most important, what is my purpose in life.

That last one – my purpose – really has me wrapped around its finger. It’s weird to know what you want out of life, but not be sure how to get to it.

What I’ve found interesting is how me “living authentically” has changed how I deal with the world around me.

I’m notorious for not replying to a non-urgent text from my friends till a couple days or more later after I received it. It’s not that I don’t see it right away, but rather that I plan to reply “when I have time.”

But time can be elusive.

In the past, I’d make up a lame excuse like I didn’t receive the text till now or I’d lost my phone.

But living authentically has me just honestly saying “Sorry for my late reply.” And that’s it – nothing else. There’s no point in justifying my laziness or forgetfulness.

As minor as this may seem, it’s empowering. I didn’t reply to you in a timely manner, I’m an ass. It’s nothing personal.

This has also parlayed into other, more significant situations. If I have an issue with someone – be it a co-worker, a family member or a friend, I just call it out directly with that person.

It usually results in me realizing I’m making a big deal out of nothing. Or in the cases where it is something – I now can just confront it head on.

Sometimes it causes a bit of awkwardness, but mostly, people are receptive and willing to hash it out.

Being authentic has also made me be more me. I don’t live a Facebook life, and I’m quite OK with people knowing that.

Even this column … I love writing it, but I struggle with topics when there’s no immediate personal crisis happening.

I read readers comments and see how many views I get — often with my heart somewhere in my throat.

I’m the first to admit that as petty and small as it may be to you – to me, it means something. It’s kind of like getting Facebook and Instagram likes.

It’s validation that what I’m doing is creating emotion for others – be it good or bad.

I guess that’s my life purpose – affecting others. Preferably in a positive manner, but, understandably, not always.

It’s real. It’s every day. It’s who I am. It’s authentic.

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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