Are you an authentic person or do you worry about what people think?

Brown, B. (2010). Gifts of imperfection, the: Hazelden Information & Educational Services.

Sharron Frederick, October 2023


Are you an authentic person or do you worry about what people think? According to Brené Brown in her book The Gift of Perfectionism, there are some people who consciously practice being authentic every day, while there are others who do not, then there are the rest of us who are authentic on some days and not others, depending on the situation and who we are with.

Let’s face it, being authentic can be tough. We live in a culture where we want to “fit in” and “people please”, where at times we cannot voice how we really feel because we may offend someone. I mean these days most people are afraid to say “Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa” for fear that we may upset someone. Let’s just put it out there, being authentic is certainly not the safe option, especially when we give our opinion and get the eye-rolling or whispering behind our backs. That is why Brené Brown states that it is not the act of being authentic, but the audacity of authenticity. We are challenging the status quo.

So what does choosing to be authentic mean? According to Brené Brown and her research, it means that we are cultivating the courage to be imperfect, set boundaries, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Yes, that word; vulnerability makes people feel uncomfortable, even me. It is being compassionate with ourselves knowing that we all struggle, but knowing we are enough as we nurture connections and a sense of belonging.

Get Deliberate: Being authentic can take time and energy, yet how do we even start to practice being our authentic selves? Find a mantra, word, or saying that grounds us. Brené Brown’s mantra is “Don’t Shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.” My mantra is “Just be brave and courageous, be your authentic self.”

Be inspired: I am inspired by people who have spoken out even though it could have resulted in the loss of their lives. Malala Yousafzai is one such person, a young lady who was born in Pakistan and spoke out about the Taliban after not being able to attend school. At 15 years old, Malala was on the bus talking with friends about homework and was shot at close range by the Taliban. After being taken to England, Malala spoke in front of the United Nations, wrote a book and set up a fund for the education and empowerment of girls.

Get Going: Brené Brown tries to make authenticity her number one goal when she goes into a situation where she feels vulnerable, even though her feelings may get hurt, Brené Brown rarely feels shame. When Brené Brown is looking for acceptance and approval, it does not work because the shame button is pressed and Brené Brown ends up feeling “I am not good enough.” The important thing to remember is that if people do not like you, then you may feel disappointed, sad or frustrated but it is okay. The alternative to not being your authentic self may be anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and grief. Which would you choose?


Brown, B. (2010). Gifts of imperfection, the: Hazelden Information & Educational Services.