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Being genuine, honest, and free from pretense

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Authentic people have high levels of self-awareness – they understand their values, strengths and weaknesses, and personality. Individuals who exemplify authenticity use this heightened self-awareness to transparently project their true self to others. Whether it be through saying what they really mean, displaying honest emotions that are appropriate for the situation, or providing honest, but constructive feedback, highly authentic individuals ‘walk the talk’ and thus, serve as powerful role models for others. At the same time, however, acting authentically does not mean imposing your ‘true self’ onto others, but rather allowing others to bring their true self to the relationship as well. Thus, while authentic people clearly express their values and beliefs, they also encourage others to do the same instead of suppressing others’ displays of authenticity. That is the only way that truly authentic relationships can be built.

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Authenticity is central to building strong relationships and trust. Individuals build trust when they can understand others’ true motives, values, and can forecast their behaviors. This requires others to be able to understand what drives you, what your true intentions are, and what passions you bring to the situation and relationship.

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