Question posed by friend Krista Dickan on FB. Here's my response:
Feeling genuinely content, confident and comfortable with yourself. You are being authentic and living authentically when your positive feelings about yourself don't waver (or not much) even when you or your life aren't "perfect."
I've been working on loving myself even when I have done something or found myself in a position I don't like, such as failing to meet some standard as well as the feeling of failure that comes when I realize I'm criticizing myself for the initial "failure."
I start wherever I find myself in that spiral of negativity and go backwards from there, offering gentle, loving and self soothing words/actions to undo the painful knots I frequently (though lately less and less) twist myself into.
I even chuckle to myself sometimes because it's just one of those silly (NOT bad) things we humans do. It's like a Greek comedy!
I think being authentic allows (requires?) for this kind of "both/and" mindset. I personally don't think it's possible or reasonable to expect that I'll never disappoint myself or be disappointed with a situation, but I can definitely be kind to myself and others about it :)
(Note: I say this in direct contrast to manufactured feelings of pride, happiness or anything that comes from a need to compensate for one's deeper rooted fear, emptiness or unworthiness.)