What happens when we are stripped of everything? What are we reduced to? What remains? Some will argue that whatever is left defines who we are. There is no additive, no excess, and no supplement: just us. It is us with nothing more and nothing less. It is us in our most naked, primitive states, with all our vulnerabilities, qualities and capabilities exposed. It is accepting that state, internalizing and working around it rather than avoiding it. We see who we really are without anything in between that may obscure our perception. Fundamentally, that is the “real” self under all of the layers, whether they are physical, psychological, emotional or even spiritual. Being genuine is being able to see through these layers, to see yourself and nothing else.
To be genuine is to be real. It is to demonstrate respect and sincerity to not only ourselves, but also with others. When we are genuine, we are not trying to impress ourselves or anyone else. We are present physically and emotionally. We seem natural and unforced. There is no underlying sense of tension, as if everything that we do comes with ease. When there is insufficient self-respect, we are not sure how we should be and in turn, we are not at peace with ourselves. We lack the ability to accept our inadequacies and imperfections. We hide, and we carry a mask to conceal the things we cannot come to terms with. We avoid the complications of dealing with our weaknesses by running away from them. We convey a message saying we would rather be someone else than ourselves.
Genuine originated from the late fifteenth century from the Latin word genuinus meaning “native, natural,” from the root of gignere meaning “to beget.” It is perhaps influenced in form by contrasting the Latin word adulterinus meaning “spurious, fake.” An alternative etymology is from the Latin word genu meaning “knee,” which comes from an ancient custom of a father acknowledging the paternity of a newborn by placing it on his knee. From the 1660s, genuine meant “really proceeding from its reputed source.”
Perhaps the most genuine we have been in our lives was when we were newborns. We lived simply to breathe, eat and sleep. We reveled in natural processes, and responded to our instinctual demands. Being an infant, in other words, was normal. There was no force. Everything flowed the way it was meant to flow.
Being genuine is not meant to be a difficult task. It does not require trying. It is being natural and effortless. It comes with ease, not force. It is seeing no need to act like someone else. Genuineness is knowing that accepting something is distinctly different from liking it. It is being you and nothing else.
OED Online. “genuine, adj.1". Accessed November 8, 2012. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/77712?isAdvanced=false&result=1&rskey=S6OH7b&
Online Etymology Dictionary. “genuine (adj.)”. Accessed November 3, 2012. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=genuine.