Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” -Brene Brown

Reflecting on 2017 with The Identity Movement, I feel an incredible amount of gratitude for the experiences I had. I learned what it means to live in a community of mutual aid, and I explored the value of a self-directed education. I began last year with the question: “How can I create value for my community in a way that has nothing to do with money?” The Identity Movement answered that question by providing me with unending opportunities to serve my community. Today I ask: “How can I get to know my community better?”

What often holds me back is an unrealistic desire for perfection in order to avoid shame and judgment. This perfectionism is a fear masking itself as a virtue. It comes from a place of not wanting to disappoint anyone. I think to myself, “I SHOULD be doing this. If I don’t, I will be letting this person down.” This kind of thinking compromises my authenticity and creates even more anxiety. In this new year, I set the intention to practice authenticity and shed the habit of perfectionism.

How can I practice authenticity, and embrace who I am more fully? To answer this question, I start by identifying my “inauthentic” habits. When I am self-deceptive, judgemental, or look to others for approval, I am being inauthentic.  When I laugh at jokes that aren’t funny, I am being inauthentic. An authentic person has integrity, accepts themselves and others, and learns from their mistakes.

Being authentic does not mean we must have a rigid sense of self that keeps us from stepping out of our comfort zone. It means approaching new challenges with enough courage to be vulnerable, and risking failure without having to wear a mask of perfection. Authenticity is giving ourselves permission to experiment, to fail, and to be inconsistent for the sake of learning and growth.

Authenticity Practice Tips:

1. Practice mindfulness. Let go of predetermined programs, plans, or goals for your life. Instead, tap into an awareness of the inner rhythm of your days.


2. Mentors and role models. Take elements from those you’ve learned from and make them your own. Tap into a diverse collection of role models, borrowing and modifying tools from their experiences to fit your own needs. Experiment until you find the state of mind which rings true to who you are and who you might become.

1. Practice mindfulness. Let go of predetermined programs, plans, or goals for your life. Instead, tap into an awareness of the inner rhythm of your days.


3. Give imagination a central role in your search for authenticity. Learn about yourself through the playfulness of imagination. Find out what a clear expression of yourself would look like. Having a creative outlet like writing or drawing can help in this exploration for truth.


Authenticity means opening up, accepting the self, and then backing up that acceptance with a drive for authentic action. Rewiring inauthentic habits can be overwhelming and frightening at times, but it is a worthy practice. The search for authenticity is the search for what it means to be yourself, and shedding everything that is not true to your values.

By facing my anxiety directly, I recognized inside me a fear of disappointing others. By staying mindful of this fear and its roots, over time I am able to overcome it. This is the first step towards answering the question “How can I get to know my community better.” By dropping perfectionism and embracing authenticity, I have less social anxiety, enabling me to be more open and willing to connect with the people around me.

Tori Hoffmann

Brand Manager