While away on my break I was handed a great compliment: I was told I was authentic.
When I asked what this meant I was told that "I am who I claim to be" (I'm paraphrasing); I thanked the person and moved on, however was left with a nagging feeling... am I authentic?
Yes and No would be the short answer. If you get to know me then I agree with the statement above, I live my life based on my own personal moral compass and to a large degree "you get what you see".
However, there is a large gap between seeing me and knowing me. I often joke that if people from work could see me at home (or in the country, where I've been for the last week) they either wouldn't recognise me, or they would get a shock!
At work I dress well, am neat and tidy and come across as a professional, organised person. At home on the other hand, I'm a slob, at best. I'm sure this is normal for a lot of people, but what I'm questioning is the subtler lack-of-correction when people make false assumptions about you.
One example is people who offer to share their lunch, let's say they brought in too much chicken curry and are looking to share. I would be more likely to say, "no thanks" than "no thanks, I'm vegetarian". Why?
Although I'm used to being the only buddhist vegetarian I know, I don't go out of my way to tell people I'm either. If I'm asked a direct question I will answer it honestly but I leave A LOT about myself unsaid and therefore unknown.
Is this being authentic? It doesn't feel like it, but then again, I don't want to be the sort of person that shoves my choices down other people's throats, so I just don't talk about them much.
What does being authentic mean to you?