Let’s clear something up: authenticity is not something you choose to be.
Or not be. Authenticity is a state. Whatever you are, you are. Whether angel or asshole, you are authentically that.
So that’s not the problem.
They want you to be honest. To have integrity to whatever code it is you choose to follow.
But that’s where the judgment comes in. Because too often, when the exhortation to “be authentic” gets thrown about, it’s because people disagree, at heart, with your code. They don’t like your rules. They want to know more about you. Or less. They want you to think differently. Act differently.
In other words, they’re asking you to be different than you are — which is, paradoxically, the very opposite of authenticity.
The path to authenticity isn’t action. It’s acceptance. Of who you are, what you stand for, of what your beliefs and values are. It’s understanding that not everyone will like you — and being okay with that. It’s about standing firm.
So know that. Be that. That’s authentic.