10 traits of authentic people who have the courage to be themselves (2023)

In essence, authenticity is about saying:

“I am what I am”.

And then daring to show that to the outside world.

People who show up authentically are able to align what they say and do with their core beliefs and values.

Oscar Wilde famously said, “be yourself — everyone else is taken”.

It sounds simple, but as we’ll come to see, it’s far from easy.

In fact, it takes plenty of courage to let the world see you as you truly are.

What helps authentic people to do just that?

Let’s take a look…

1) They dare to be vulnerable

Vulnerability and authenticity go hand in hand.

It’s impossible to be yourself without being vulnerable.

It’s what helps you to let down your walls.

Researcher Brené Brown describes vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”

No wonder it’s so scary to do.

But authentic people have learned the benefits of calculated self-exposure.

Because in the words of Brené Brown:

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

2) They hold themselves accountable

Being yourself requires taking ownership of who you are.

That means the bad as well as the good.

Part of being human means messing up, whether we like it or not.

(Video) 10 Traits Of Truly Authentic People

That’s why being able to hold your hands up is so important.

Because we all get it wrong sometimes.

If you can’t recognize that and hold your hands up, you’re not being honest —with yourself or other people.

It’s a sign of maturity and authenticity when you can say that you’ve got it wrong.

It also frees you from the unrealistic burden of perfectionism. Because you can’t be yourself when you’re busy trying to pretend you’re perfect.

All of this undeniably takes a certain amount of self-awareness.

3) They understand what makes them tick

It’s perhaps an obvious point, but how can you be yourself when you don’t even know yourself?

It’s clearly tricky, if not impossible.

That’s one of the reasons why authenticity often increases alongside self-awareness.

Being self-aware has been defined by researchers as how clearly we can see ourselves — whether that’s our reactions, our emotions, our behaviors, our strengths or weaknesses, etc.

This is an internal self-awareness.

But there is another side to it too.

External self-awareness involves understanding how other people view us.

When you understand yourself and your place in the world, you can use this knowledge to show up authentically.

4) They can accept who they are, even their worst parts

Of course, when we truly see ourselves, we won’t like everything we see.

I’m not suggesting you’re not a great person. But I am suggesting you’re only human.

Whilst I don’t know your good points, I know you have them. And the same goes for your bad points too.

Often the characteristics we embody don’t exist as stand-alone traits.

Instead, they exist on a spectrum.

And sometimes the things we love about ourselves the most can be attached to the things that trip us up or hold us back.

(Video) 10 Traits Of Truly Authentic People

For example, one of the things I like about myself is that I have a strong personality.

For sure, I have lots of ideas and opinions — and I happen to think that makes me interesting.

But it can also mean at times I am stubborn, intense, and too outspoken.

Dig deep enough and I suspect you’ll see that the same root for your best qualities gives birth to some less-than-desirable aspects of your personality.

Of course, having the self-awareness to notice our flaws helps.

But as we’ve just said, nobody is perfect.

That’s why self-compassion is essential.

We have to accept our own flaws if we are going to allow our authentic selves to be seen — warts and all.

If you’re always terrified that people won’t like the real you, you’re destined to hide who you really are.

5) They practice positive self-talk

Positivity is a learned behavior.

I know this because when I was a teenager I was incredibly pessimistic and down on myself.

And rather unsurprisingly it made me miserable.

So I set about learning how to be more positive.

To look for the best in life, rather than get fixated on the worst-case scenario.

To be kinder to myself rather than believe that voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough.

I’m not saying it was easy, but with time I was able to shift my whole outlook on life and on myself to a more positive framework.

As I did so, it felt safer to be myself.

The more you are on your own side in life, the less afraid you are to show up as who you are.

But when you’re always buying into your inner critics’ bullsh*t, you scare yourself into believing you’re not good enough as who you are.

That’s why authentic people cultivate the courage to be themselves by cultivating a better inner dialogue.

(Video) 17 Traits of Truly Authentic People

6) They know, and live by, their own values

I like to think of our values as our inner compass.

It steers us in the right direction.

It stops us from getting totally lost when we’re trying to navigate the complications of life.

Authentic people have strong values. And they’ve taken the time to figure them out for themselves.

Because whilst some values are universal — we all believe in truth, justice, and fairness — others aren’t so clear-cut.

What’s right for one person is wrong for someone else.

Authentic people don’t just adopt the values of those around them, they take the time to consider what resonates with them.

At the end of the day, this is essential to staying true to yourself rather than following the crowd.

When you know what is important to you, you can return to this for comfort and guidance throughout your life.

It helps you to say no to the things you don’t agree with. And it helps you to show up as a better, more well-rounded representation of who you really are.

7) They’re honest in their words and actions

Authentic people say what they mean and mean what they say.

We’ve just spoken about getting to grips with your own values.

Well, one value that authentic people tend to universally agree on is honesty.

Let’s face it, lying is part of human nature. Most of us have told at least a few so-called “white lies” in our time.

But the more authentic you are, the less need you have for lies.

I try to live by a very basic rule:

If I have to lie, I probably shouldn’t be doing it.

That’s because often deceit is a mask for things we’re not proud of.

That’s why the more authentic you are, the less need you have for lying.

A lot of people turn to lies because they are worried about disappointing others.

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They worry that the truth will hurt.

It’s not that authentic people don’t care about the feelings and thoughts of others.

But they won’t change who they are or deny themselves, just to try to make others happy.

8) They steer clear of people-pleasing

Suiting yourself means occasionally putting other people’s noses out of joint.

That doesn’t mean you don’t care at all about what people think. But it does mean you’re not prepared to be held hostage by others’ opinions.

Of course, there are plenty of times when it’s appropriate to be thoughtful and considerate.

But not when it comes to living your life the way you feel is right.

That might mean following a path your parents didn’t want for you.

It could be saying “no” and upholding your boundaries when other people try to push them.

Authentic people stay true to themselves, even when it may not always be popular.

9) They have inner confidence, rather than relying on external validation

Inner confidence is the secret weapon that gives authentic people the courage needed to be themselves.

When you’re always seeking your self-esteem outside of you, you are always going to be at the mercy of what other people think of you.

But when you like yourself, it gives you the confidence to dare to be who you are.

Authentic people have built their confidence on the firm foundations of:

  • Strong self-esteem
  • Self-love
  • Self-compassion

This means they aren’t so quick to question themselves, even when they’re faced with disapproval.

10) They are thick-skinned and don’t take things personally

There’s no denying, sometimes it’s hard not to take things personally.

For example, when someone shouts at you, says unkind things, or does something that impacts you negatively.

It certainly feels pretty darn personal.

But the funny thing is that we’re all just going around projecting onto others.

That means 9 times out of 10 it says far more about the other person than it does you.

(Video) Authentic Leadership Examples: 8 Characteristics

Authentic people protect themselves by reminding themselves of this fact.

That way, they can become just a little bit more immune to the whims and moods of others.

They can shrug off the negativity that was never theirs to begin with, rather than take it personally.


What are the traits of authentic person? ›

Put simply, authenticity means you're true to your own personality, values, and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you're under to act otherwise. You're honest with yourself and with others, and you take responsibility for your mistakes. Your values, ideals, and actions align.

What are examples of authentic people? ›

You are Considerate towards others

An authentic person is kind, generous, and considerate toward others. You have the ability to put yourself in other people's shoes and see the world from their perspective. You can easily find common ground with others, regardless of how different they are from you.

Why are some people more authentic? ›

Those who love themselves are naturally authentic because they don't feel the need to hide who they are and how they feel from others. They know their value and worth, and they refuse to comprise that for others. An authentic person knows that they aren't perfect and they don't try to hide that realization.

What are the four behaviors of authenticity? ›

From this perspective, the essence of authenticity involves four interrelated but separable components: (1) awareness, (2) unbiased processing, (3) behavior, and (4) relational orientation.

What are 1/5 qualities of people who lead with authenticity? ›

10 Authentic Leadership Characteristics
  • Self-awareness. An authentic leader reflects upon all of their actions and decisions and examines their own strengths and weaknesses without any bias. ...
  • Lead with heart. ...
  • Focus on long-term results. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Lead with vision. ...
  • Listening skills. ...
  • Transparency. ...
  • Consistency.

What are examples of authentic values? ›

Integrity, honesty, respect, inclusion, health and accountability are all core values that look great on paper, but they mean absolutely nothing if you're not acting on them in your daily life. Authenticity is everything when establishing core values.

What is an authentic mindset? ›

A healthy level of authenticity is when you are true to your own personality, values and needs, regardless of the group pressure around you. Your integrity is not compromised as you are honest with yourself and with others, and you take responsibility for your mistakes.

What are the types of authenticity? ›

Here is a brief outline of the different types of authenticity that are relevant to consumers and marketers alike:
  • Authentic public figures. ...
  • Authentic products. ...
  • Original authenticity. ...
  • Authenticity in services. ...
  • Authentic experiences. ...
  • Authentic user reviews.
Nov 17, 2021

How do you become fully authentic? ›

8 strategies to develop authenticity
  1. Define and embrace your strengths. ...
  2. Explore your values. ...
  3. Acknowledge external vs internal influence. ...
  4. Notice and name your emotion. ...
  5. Practice mindfulness. ...
  6. Build your social support system. ...
  7. Develop the courage to face your fears. ...
  8. Take daily actions towards authenticity.
Sep 7, 2021

What makes a woman authentic? ›

Women who lead authentically have a good understanding of themselves and their priorities. They attend first to what's important to them, rather than what might be important to other people. They are clear about how they feel and what they need and prefer.

How do you live an authentic life? ›

8 Ways to Live a More Authentic Life
  1. Give up the act. It's exhausting trying to be someone you're not. ...
  2. Get comfortable being vulnerable. There is no authenticity where there is no truth. ...
  3. Do it for you. ...
  4. Focus on connections, not possessions. ...
  5. Be humble. ...
  6. Act, don't react. ...
  7. Give love first. ...
  8. Embrace your imperfections.
Apr 24, 2019

What are behaviors of authenticity? ›

8 Consistent Behaviors of Highly Authentic Leaders
  • 1: They are true to themselves. ...
  • 2: They are prepared to go it alone. ...
  • 3: They are committed to serving others. ...
  • 4: They are committed to continuous learning. ...
  • 5: They are committed to developing genuine relationships. ...
  • 6: They value trust and forgiveness.
Sep 12, 2016

What are the elements of authentic self? ›

Here are the 7 key elements of authenticity:
  • Positivity. This is about how you leave people feeling after a tough conversation, or a challenging scenario. ...
  • Real. This is the same as genuine, but 'real' is even more basic than that. ...
  • Edge. Fire can be compelling. ...
  • Vulnerability. ...
  • Energy. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Connections.
Oct 31, 2016

What behaviors are associated with authenticity? ›

More generally, studies have shown that being “authentic” is related to behaviors such as being open, sincere, trustworthy, and nondefensive (Bettencourt & Sheldon, 2001; Brunell et al., 2010; Kernis et al., 2008; Lakey, Kernis, Heppner, & Lance, 2008; Sheldon et al., 1997).

Which of the 10 characteristics you think would be enough to be possessed by a good leader? ›

The Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader
  • Vision. ...
  • Inspiration. ...
  • Strategic & Critical Thinking. ...
  • Interpersonal Communication. ...
  • Authenticity & Self-Awareness. ...
  • Open-Mindedness & Creativity. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Responsibility & Dependability.

What 4 elements make a leader authentic? ›

According to Bill George, Authentic Leadership consists of four main components:
  • Self-Awareness.
  • Relational Transparency.
  • Balanced Processing.
  • Strong Moral Code.
Dec 7, 2021

What are the 5 essential dimensions of authentic leadership? ›

The Authentic Leadership Model according to Bill George

Bill George has defined 5 dimensions that help shape Authentic Leadership. These are Purpose, Values, Heart, Relationships, Self-Discipline.

What are the four dimensions of authenticity? ›

(2008) proposes that authentic leadership consists of four main dimensions: self-awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing and internalized moral perspective. They suggest that the previous frameworks were insufficient and not adequate to justify authentic leadership behaviors.

What does it mean to be your authentic self? ›

Authentic self means:

Being your true authentic self means what you say in life aligns with what your actions. Your authentic self goes beyond what you do for a living, what possessions you own, or who you are to someone (mom, brother, girlfriend). It is who you are at your deepest core.

What is the difference between authentic and genuine person? ›

The word “authentic' refers to how you are being yourself. It is a reference to self-expression. That is, how you express yourself reflects how you really are inside, what you are thinking, feeling, perceiving and believing. The term “being genuine” is more about how you relate to other people.

What makes an authentic leader? ›

There are several ways to describe an authentic leader — they're passionate about their work, they have a commitment to the organization, and they focus on the future ahead. Authentic leaders are those who are true to themselves and the principles that guide them.

Why is authenticity important in life? ›

Being authentic is important because it contributes to your holistic well-being, encouraging happiness, fulfillment, and high self-esteem. When your actions align with your true nature, you're more likely to pursue your passions, believe in yourself, and feel confident in your opinions.

What are the three types of authenticity? ›

The three types of authenticity are: staged or real authenticity, sensory authenticity, and existential authenticity (in simple terms, meaning—feeling and being).

What is First person authenticity? ›

1. First person authenticity: Authenticity of expression. [This] arises when an originator (composer, performer) succeeds in conveying. the impression that his/her utterance is one of integrity, that it represents an. attempt to communicate in an unmediated form with an audience.

What are the three key norms of authenticity? ›

The authenticity of an artist has three bases: (i) long-term dedication to the music scene; (ii) historical knowledge of the subculture; and (iii) the personal integrity (inner voice) for correct artistic choices.

How do I unlock my authentic self? ›

Disarm your cruel inner critic and still strive for growth. Replace negative thought loops with 3 positive reframing tools. Let go of unhealthy perfectionism and crush procrastination. Find the pearls of truth in criticism without sacrificing self-confidence.

How do you keep it real with yourself? ›

Five Ways to be Fully Authentic
  1. Don't lie. ...
  2. But don't always speak the truth. ...
  3. Let your body point you towards what is true for you. ...
  4. Stay in your own truth—and out of other people's business. ...
  5. Accept the ugly bits of yourself, including the difficult emotions.
Jun 21, 2017

What is the difference between honesty and authenticity? ›

For example, Vallor defines honesty as “a willingness to put one's authentic self in play” [6]. Authenticity has been defined as being emotionally genuine, requiring “knowing what you believe and feel and honestly expressing those beliefs and feelings in what you do” [7].

What do men find most attractive in a woman? ›

Men prefer a woman who can stay calm and relaxed. Beauty is more than make-up and a fancy haircut. Men find women more attractive when they are neat and clean. Men find women who smell nice, who have clean hair and hydrated skin more attractive than a face perfectly covered in makeup.

What makes a woman memorable to a man? ›

Many things make you memorable to a man. These include beauty, your dressing sense, scent, behavior, attitude, etc. Also, what makes a woman great to a man differs from man to man. However, you are special if he finds it challenging to find your qualities in other women.

What makes a high quality woman? ›

A quality woman celebrates the good things that happen to other people. She doesn't get caught up in wondering why something good didn't happen to her instead. There aren't conditions on her love. She's not necessarily blind to character flaws, but she doesn't let that stop her from showing someone love now.

Are authentic people happier? ›

In one study, researchers found that people who scored higher on a measure of authentic living reported greater happiness, more positive emotions and higher self-esteem than people who reported being less authentic. More authentic people also reported having better relationships with others and more personal growth.

What is a truly authentic life? ›

An authentic life is one where our needs are met, we feel fulfilled, we experience self-actualization, and we flourish. Authentic living involves a balance between what is occurring within us and how we express and represent ourselves outside.

Why is it so hard to be authentic? ›

Authenticity is hard because other people may seize on our weaknesses as proof of our unworthiness, rather than our humanity. Authenticity is hard because we think what makes us human is our uniqueness, but it's really our commonalities.

How do you demonstrate being authentic? ›

Here are five ways you can demonstrate authenticity at work and make a positive impact:
  1. Share an element of your personal life. ...
  2. Open up about how you feel. ...
  3. Ask questions to which you want to know the answers. ...
  4. Give constructive feedback. ...
  5. State your boundaries.
Apr 12, 2022

How would you describe an authentic self? ›

Your authentic self is who you truly are as a person, regardless of your occupation, regardless of the influence of others, it is an honest representation of you. To be authentic means not caring what others think about you.

How can I be confident and authentic? ›

The Key to Real, Authentic Confidence Lies in Acceptance

“The only way to be truly confident is to simply become comfortable with what you lack.” Real confidence isn't about flaunting your strengths but accepting your flaws. You'll never be perfect – nobody is.

What are authentic feelings? ›

An authentic or genuine emotion, according to this view, is a sincere and spontaneous response to the eliciting situation. The emotion is founded on the subject's spontaneous apprehension of the object that reliably manifests his or her concern for it.

What is an authentic soul? ›

Your authentic self is who you really are deep down. The part of you that doesn't care what others think. Learning how to be your authentic self is an essential part of building meaningful relationships. Authenticity happens when your words, actions, and behaviors consistently match your core identity.

Is authentic the same as honest? ›

The Latin root of the word "authenticity" is "author", so being "authentic" doesn't mean being honest about who you are, it's about being your own "author". Authenticity is an active and creative process.

What does genuinely authentic mean? ›

authentic, genuine, bona fide mean being actually and exactly what is claimed. authentic implies being fully trustworthy as according with fact.

What are the core elements of authentic self? ›

Your authentic self is the unique combination of all your qualities including your skills, abilities, interests, talents, limits, insights, experiences, memories, beliefs, purpose, and wisdom. It is the expression of your core values through all your quirks and your strengths.


1. Signs You Are an Authentic Person
(Positive Seed)
2. The gift and power of emotional courage | Susan David
3. Friedrich Nietzsche - How To Be Authentic (Existentialism)
(Philosophies for Life)
4. The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown
5. The Courage to Be Yourself
6. 10 Traits of a High Value Man
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