Real

Real

Why Study This Mantra...

You will take a big step toward living your life's calling. This is one of the hardest (and most valuable) things we can do for ourselves in our life!


"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
– Henry David Thoreau

Introduction 

In studying this mantra, you’ll begin to understand the importance of being true to yourself and living an authentic life!

Ultimately, a fulfilling life is one where you're working on your life's true calling. 

This month, you'll work on providing your genuine good. You'll call upon everything you've worked on in previous months. Ultimately, you'll recognize a re-architecture of your life. This month, you'll be real.

 

Before you begin...

Before you start these practices and challenges, take a moment to rate yourself on this mantra. Give yourself a score from 1-10 (10 being the highest). 

Do this again at the end of a month of practices and challenges. How much have you grown?

 

The Practices

Daily Practice

Prove My Genuine Good

Today's affirmation: "I know what I value most and I make my decisions from it."

Today, I will be true to myself. I will give the world my genuine good. The good that I have and no one else has. 

I will view the world through the lens of my values. I will live my values today. I will make decisions from my values.

I will end this day bigger, stronger, and more myself than when this day started. 

Today, I will be authentic. Today, I will be real.

 

Monthly Challenge

Find Your Values

This month, determine your values. 

First, in your journal, write down 6 people you admire the most in the world. These could be role models or valued connections. What is it that you admire about them? Kindness? Perseverance? Passion? Optimism? Write it down. It's likely that you admire them because they exhibit traits that you admire yourself.

Next, think back to the best and most painful moments of your life. What do these experiences reveal about your core values? What value was it that made that moment particularly great or painful?

Then, go back to your Write Your Own Story monthly challenge and your Flow journal. Read them again. What values are implied in them?

Then, review all lists of values and group them into categories. For example, if you wrote down "duty" and "responsibility," these can be grouped. Choose one word to represent each group.

Finally, rank them. Which values stand out the most to you? Which resonate with your soul? Circle the top 5.

Finding My Values in My Journal

As I remove my mantra tonight, I will take 3-5 minutes to read past journal entries

  • In my "Write My Own Story" monthly challenge, which 1-2 mantras are important for driving my story forward?
  • In my "Write My Own Story" monthly challenge, what values are implied in my story?
  • In my "Flow Journal," what are the major themes around what energizes me the most?
  • I will then write down the 2-3 things I will accomplish starting the next morning to live my own story.

         

        The Reasoning

        FRAMEWORKS FOR AUTHENTICITY

        Authenticity isn’t the easiest thing to define. Depending on the philosopher, psychologist or scholar you read, there are a number of definitions that have been developed to help us understand what it means to be authentic. Some focus on whether the traits you exhibit are consistent with those of the “true self” while others center on whether or not there exists a cohesive narrative that portrays an overall picture of the standards by which you strive to live.1 

        Research indicates that the concept of “realness” is not just a synonym for authenticity, but is actually a distinct component of authenticity that historically has been obscured in the course of research. One study has defined realness as “the relatively stable tendency to act on the outside the way one feels on the inside, without regard for proximal personal or social consequences.”2 As part of this research featured in the “Journal of Research in Personality”, “there were nine studies, [showing] that realness is a) a core feature of individual differences in authenticity, b) generally adaptive but largely unrelated to agreeableness, c) highly stable, d) reliably observable in dyadic behavior, and e) predictive of responses to situations with potential for personal or social costs.”

        Additional research into frameworks for authenticity have attempted to differentiate between authentic and inauthentic behavior, as well as further examine the alignment between the intrapersonal concept of authenticity vs. the interpersonal expression (realness) of that authenticity.3 Through a series of surveys, the researchers arrived at a series of 10 questions that predict authentic self-expression and 10 that are associated with inauthentic self-expression. Further studies were conducted to isolate verbal expressions of these behaviors while accounting for the concept of self-censorship which is distinct from inauthentic verbal expression.4 

        Taking an alternative approach to understanding authenticity, researchers asked 103 undergraduates to describe experiences they deemed authentic or inauthentic, along with a vivid memory. After analyzing the results, five key themes emerged that can be used to categorize authentic behavior: relational authenticity, resisting external pressures, expression of true self, contentment, owning one's actions. Four key themes described inauthentic behavior: phoniness, suppression, self-denigration, and conformity.5

        These narrative based categories were then used to score a new set of experiences from a second study and compare the results to traditional self-reported trait-based surveys measuring authenticity. The researchers found that narrative studies and self-reported studies provided minor overlap in results, indicating two somewhat distinct measurements that help create a more holistic understanding of a person’s authenticity. 

        One additional approach to help explain this relationship lies in the creation of a lay theory referred to as “true-self-as-guide.” To quote the authors of this research, “This lay theory approach is rooted in the idea that most people internalize the belief that ‘true selves’ should guide behavior to live a fulfilling life.”

        These themes of self-reflection and describing past experiences have been incorporated into some of the practices you’ll be completing this month!

        IMPACT OF AUTHENTICITY ON WELLBEING

        In the wider literature, there is robust support for the relationship between authenticity and subjective wellbeing.7 Authenticity has been shown to lead to higher global self-esteem, life satisfaction, and has been negatively related to contingent self-esteem and negative affect.

        Comparing the results of questionnaires differentiating authenticity to established questionnaires and studies on well-being indicated authentic expression is positively associated with many measurements of well-being, while inauthentic feelings can generally be associated with negative outcomes.3 Inauthentic expression is a bit more nuanced however. Internal feelings of inauthenticity have consistently resulted in poorer outcomes while inauthentic interpersonal expressions sometimes have no negative effect, likely due to situational factors impacting how we relate to one-another and how the way we express ourselves contributes to our ability to maintain relationships.

        AUTHENTICITY & SOCIAL MEDIA

        Social media has opened up a wider world and allowed us to instantly connect with millions of people, but with the pressure to appear as the best version of yourself arises, it’s easy to project an idealized version of yourself. Research into this top has shown that when it comes to social media, projecting the authentic self tends to result in more positive subjective well-being in the moment and is correlated with greater life satisfaction.9, 10

        Further Learning

        For more info on how to live a more authentic life, check out the link below to a TED talk from Akuyoe Graham who has done amazing work with at risk youth:

        https://www.ted.com/talks/akuyoe_graham_living_authentic_life

         

        References

        1. Anna Sutton, Living the good life: A meta-analysis of authenticity, well-being and engagement, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 153, 2020, 109645, ISSN 0191-8869,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.109645
        2. Christopher J. Hopwood, Evan W. Good, Alytia A. Levendosky, Johannes Zimmermann, Daniela Dumat, Eli J. Finkel, Paul E. Eastwick, Wiebke Bleidorn, Realness is a core feature of authenticity, Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 92, 2021, 104086, ISSN 0092-6566,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2021.104086.
        3. Maya Al-Khouja, Netta Weinstein, William Ryan, Nicole Legate, Self-expression can be authentic or inauthentic, with differential outcomes for well-being: Development of the authentic and inauthentic expression scale (AIES), Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 97, 2022, 104191, ISSN 0092-6566, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2022.104191.
        4. Andrew F. Hayes, Carroll J. Glynn, James Shanahan, Willingness to Self-Censor: A Construct and Measurement Tool for Public Opinion Research, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Volume 17, Issue 3, Autumn 2005, Pages 298–323,  https://doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/edh073
        5. Wilt, J. A., Thomas, S., & McAdams, D. P. (2019). Authenticity and inauthenticity in narrative identity. Heliyon, 5(7), e02178.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02178
        6. Rivera, G. N., Christy, A. G., Kim, J., Vess, M., Hicks, J. A., & Schlegel, R. J. (2019). Understanding the Relationship Between Perceived Authenticity and Well-Being. Review of General Psychology, 23(1), 113–126. https://doi.org/10.1037/gpr0000161
        7. Amy B. Brunell, Michael H. Kernis, Brian M. Goldman, Whitney Heppner, Patricia Davis, Edward V. Cascio, Gregory D. Webster, Dispositional authenticity and romantic relationship functioning, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 48, Issue 8, 2010, Pages 900-905, ISSN 0191-8869, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.018.
        8. Goldman, B. M., & Kernis, M. H. (2002). The role of authenticity in healthy psychological functioning and subjective well-being. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 5(6), 18–20.  https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2002-11420-003
        9. Bailey, E.R., Matz, S.C., Youyou, W. et al. Authentic self-expression on social media is associated with greater subjective well-being. Nat Commun 11, 4889 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18539-w
        10. Leonard Reinecke, Sabine Trepte, Authenticity and well-being on social network sites: A two-wave longitudinal study on the effects of online authenticity and the positivity bias in SNS communication, Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 30, 2014, Pages 95-102, ISSN 0747-5632, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.030.
        11. Dammann Olaf, Friederichs Katja M., Lebedinski Sabine, Liesenfeld Kerstin M. The Essence of Authenticity.  Frontiers in Psychology 11 (2021). https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.629654