Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (NIV).
Authenticity is not for cowards. According to the Webster’s New World Dictionary, to be authentic is to be reliable, credible; genuine, real. Those are some powerful words. The question is whether or not we want to step up and accept the challenge of living an authentic life or ignore the word and continue our relationships as they are.
What exactly would an authentic life look like? It would be free of manipulation, but full of in-depth, sometimes painful conversations. It does not mean always expressing every single emotion you are feeling all the time, but it does make sure that ignoring the truth is not an option due to the risk of causing hurt feelings. Authenticity is kind but honest, exposes layers slowly, but gently, and always has the other person’s best interest in mind. It is unselfish, unconditional, and loving, but always maintaining honesty.
It can take on various forms in different situations. At times, it would mean not settling for a pat answer from a spouse or friend when you know he or she is not being completely truthful. It could be putting down the remote or walking away from Facebook and engaging your children in a real dialogue about their day, their friends, and their interests instead of dismissing their sighs and complaints for the hundredth time. It could also resemble making the conscious choice to complete the one chore that both you and your spouse hate, just because you want to put a smile on his or her face, expecting nothing else in return.
When chosen, authenticity can reap great rewards. This is best accomplished when both people fully embrace being authentic with each other. However, even if one person actively engages in this characteristic and the other does not, positive changes can still occur. Whatever the relationship, when put into practice, it creates possibilities to take risks and let your guard down. This, in turn, can transform mediocre relationships into ones where real depth can occur, creating an environment for each person to discover a little more about the true heart of their spouse, child, or friend and possibly even more about him or herself.
When looked at that way, I would rather take the extra time needed to dig deeper into the heart of someone I care about then drift through life casually. Authenticity is not for every situation all the time, but I challenge you to look for opportunities where you can start reaching for some level of authenticity in the most important relationships in your life. I am sure that you and your loved one will be
happy you did just that.