2019-02-06 / Editorial


Martha Chalker

WYSIWYG pronounced “wizzywig” is supposedly one of the best known acronyms. I’d never heard it. I asked around the office and “nope” nobody else had heard of this acronym either, that is until I asked Roy Chalker. Of course, being a long-time editor, he knew what it means. This is his description! Years ago when you were trying to design a page or lay out a newspaper, what you saw on the computer screen was not what printed out on paper. The later technology that allowed you to know exactly what the printed version would look like coined the term, WYSIWYG.

“What you see is what you get” or WYSIWYG refers to the ability of the computer screen to display an accurate rendition of the finished page. However, I’ve always used the term to describe individuals I consider authentic or true to themselves in a healthy and selfless way. Flip Wilson, who performed in drag as Geraldine on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and on the Flip Wilson Show in the late 60s is often credited with coining the phrase, but it was already in general use. In his version, it could be thought to be shorthand for “I may be a plain speaking diamond in the rough, but I have no hidden agenda – let my reputation precede me.”

Authenticity refers to being real, actual and not fake. The authentic individual is true to his or her own personality, spirit and character and sincere with no pretentions. It is more than when someone believes in what they say and acts in a way that is consistent with their beliefs. Part of being authentic is standing up for what you believe in and speaking the truth as it seems to you, what I call “your truth” even if it may not be what others want to hear. To truly be authentic you have to know how to be yourself. Why does that matter? Living your true self is good for your mental and physical health. You do not waste time and energy trying to portray something you are not. You are generally liked and accepted by most people.

Humanistic psychologists would say by definition that authentic people possess a number of common characteristics that show they are psychologically mature and fully functioning human beings. According to a past publication of Psychology Today, there are seven qualities of truly authentic people. The list is below.

1. Having realistic perceptions of reality

2. Are accepting of themselves and of other people

3. Are thoughtful

4. Have a non-hostile sense of humor

5. Are able to express their emotions freely and clearly

6. Are open to learning from their mistakes

7. Understands their motivations

This is what it means to be true to oneself. And conversely, qualities of inauthentic people are listed below.

1. Are self deceptive and unrealistic in their perceptions of reality

2. Look to others for approval and to feel valued

3. Are judgmental of other people

4. Do not think things through clearly

5. Have a hostile sense of humor

6. Are unable to express their emotions freely and clearly

7. Are not open to learning from their mistakes

8. Do not understand their motivations

Authenticity is highly valued. We do not generally like or want to associate with people who come across as phony, fake or put-ons, as in “putting on airs”. We all would rather have friends and co-workers who are authentic and really are WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get!

To learn more about living with authenticity, check out this book by Stephen Joseph PhD - Authentic: How to Be Yourself and Why it Matters.

Martha Chalker is a life and business coach with more than twenty years experience. She can be reached at 706-564- 4458.

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