3 Inspirational Quotes About Authenticity – How to Be Yourself?

Today we welcome guest author Steve M Nash

What does authenticity even mean?

On the surface, it’s a simple question to answer. It means ‘being yourself’. Marvellous, guess we can all stop reading now…
Hang on. What does ‘being yourself’ actually mean? Aren’t we, by definition, always being ourselves?? (Quick answer: no!)

Well, that’s what I’d like to try and answer in this post. Obviously, I am a man so it would be inauthentic of me to write about your experiences as a woman. Which is okay, because I can’t really write about my experiences as a man, either – I can only really, with authenticity, write about my experiences as me (myself and I…)

Anyway, I’m going to enlist the services of 3 women, and their inspirational words – all of which relate to authenticity. And I’ll add my own reflections, often personal, to illuminate what I consider to be the elements of authentic living, elements of being yourself.

So here’s the first of those quotes right now:

 “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission!”
Eleanor Roosevelt

How can anyone – woman, man, girl or boy – live an authentic life if they are constantly being buffeted by the opinions of others? If someone utters those ‘magic’ hurtful words, such as (in my case) “you’re a pathetic, weak little man!” and these words ‘shake’ your world to ‘pieces’ then what sort of authentic world are you living in?

Other insults you might like to try out for size include… “You look fat in that dress!”, and “You’re just like your mother!” (And if you find my thoughts at what might insult you insulting you, please feel free… to be insulted by them!)

The fact is, other people’s thoughts about you are simply that: other people’s thoughts. Now if they resonate with you, if you actually believe these ‘hurtful’ words, then that’s something you can address. For yourself. (That’s the permission you’re giving to be offended, by the way – your tacit agreement with what’s being said.)

Yes, these words can help you grow as a woman, as a human being. I hope you can see that. Remember…

• Authentic living isn’t about everyone liking what we do.
• Authentic living isn’t about nothing going wrong.
• Authentic living isn’t about being perfect, either.

An authentic life comes to us simply by BEING who we are, in the moment, without comparing ourselves to anyone but ourselves, without trying to be someone else in case we offend.

And even those times when we think we’re being ‘less’ than we used to be then authenticity comes to the rescue by simply accepting such thoughts, in not trying to change ourselves, in being okay with what’s showing up for us.
So, what does this mean when it comes to being yourself? It means knowing yourself, and being okay with what you find.

Now it’s time for author Anais Nin to have her say:

 “How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself”

When I, a man, read these words from a woman whose wisdom I admire greatly (e.g. she’s the author of words like, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”) it challenges me as a human being to realise that my life is my responsibility.

I can seek out sexiness, for example, in my partner and I can seek out strength and support from her, too. But my quest for an authentic life has led me to the understanding that I must seek out these qualities in myself, first, for them to be triggered in my partner.

Quite literally, I’ll find what I’m looking for outside of me when I decide to look inside of me first.
Now maybe you’re not a woman who’s looking to a man (partner) to “build her world”. Maybe, instead, you’re looking for recognition from them, or encouragement, or even inspiration. I politely suggest that authentic living means either looking to yourself for these qualities or, better still, offering these qualities ‘out there’ to whomever you’re seeking them from.

This kind of thinking transforms lives; most importantly this kind of ‘being’ transforms your life!
As to being yourself? Well, it’s about recognising your own powers, your own strengths, rather than trying to recognise them in someone else.

Finally, we have Maya Angelou’s wonderful words on authentic living (a journey that clearly is challenging for women and men, both):

 “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”

What is your song, then, and do you sing it with as much originality of voice as you can muster? (Are you fully being the woman that YOU are? for example) Your song could be sung in the home, in the office, or within your relationships. It represents how YOU do life, whose rules you follow.

An imitation of a song is fine for many, it seems, but is it fine for you?
How much do you enjoy what you do in your life? How do you enjoy the roles that you play? And how much do you listen to your inner voice rather than that all-pervasive voice of ‘they’?

Can there be a better definition of being yourself than singing your song, whatever notes you end up making!
So, how often do you sing your own song?

Being yourself, then, seems to include the following: being okay to be you (and being okay with others not being you); understanding the responsibilities that come with being you; and, lastly, singing your own song…

Of course, this may not be what authenticity means to you. An authentic life may look very different through your eyes. Naturally, your definition is the one you should go with. Always…

Steve M Nash is editor of guru-free self-help site, SelfHelpCollective.com. And one of his favourite pages on the site is Patricia Lynne Reilly’s inspirational poem (about ‘female authenticity’) called Imagine a Woman (reprinted with permission). You can read it here


  1. Love the quotes you have used hear to show the different interpretations of authenticity. So important to be real with yourself and others. It’s taken me a long time to overcome my past and find my authentic self. I’m still a work in progress but there is such freedom is having peace of mind about who you are.
    Great post Steve!

  2. I’m glad you liked the quotes, Carolyn, and the post.

    Appreciate the encouraging words! 🙂


  3. a terrific read and I was truly pleased to find the article.

    Thanks for your effort- Felica

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