Authentic living is about leaving behind pretense. It's about being You instead of a composite of what your family, your partner, your culture, or your friends think you should be. Living authentically is about being true to yourself, about doing what your heart tells you to, about aligning yourself with source (God, spirit, your higher self, whatever you wish to call it), about that which is good for you. This let's the energy flow.
Every time someone says to you "you should," you are being shoehorned into their vision of you. Every time you say to someone "you should," you are doing the same to someone else. A lot of times you probably tell yourself, reluctantly maybe, "I should," because of some preconceived notion or belief you hold. Think again.
I learned early in life to be different and to stand up for my beliefs. My best friend in elementary school taught me that lesson. She was different, she came from a different background than the mainstream kids, she looked exotic with her jet black hair and green eyes, and some kids made fun of her because of the way she spoke. I came to her defense, which in turn sprouted a fierce sense of individuality in me. Now I teach my children to critically inspect the many cultural mainstream paradigms before following the lemmings.
Many of us live in fear - of not having enough (money or other things, but mostly money), losing our job if we don't please the boss, losing our social standing if we do something outside of the social norm of our peers. Conforming for supposed emotional protection at the expense of authenticity is always a compromise.
Feeling good about who you are deep down takes courage because oftentimes that means going against what others do, think, say. But it makes you shine. BeYOUtiful is what you want to be, because you become more beautiful the more you become You.
I also invite to revisit an earlier post "finding the You in You."