I am looking for a motivational phrase / motto that conveys something along the lines of "live authentically" to native Korean speakers.

Edit: The connotation I wish to convey is the idea of living life in accordance with your inner values, beliefs, and desires... striving to being honest with yourself and others, regardless of the situation one finds oneself in.

2 Answers 2


I think the sentence can be translated into '참되게 살아라' or '진실되게 살아라'. 참되다 or 진실되다(참 is a pure Korean and 진실 is a Sino-Korean word.) means true, real, sincere, authentic, truthful, genuine or faithful.

  • 똑바로 살아라 is used more commonly. Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 3:01
  • What about 너답게 살아라?
    – SlowLoris
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 6:39
  • I translated into the form sounds like more aphoristic. Jihyung Kang's one is more colloquial style.
    – jungyh0218
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 5:24
  • +) 똑바로 살아라 would be a good translation of "Do the right thing".
    – jungyh0218
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 6:12

To "live authentically" means quite different things to different people, I think. This phrase will likely take some explaining to get across even to many native English speakers, no? From a stereotypical, individualistic American perspective, this may mean sticking to your ideals, even if the people around you challenge you. To a scientist, this might mean always remaining skeptical.

From Naver, I found some example sentences that may convey some meanings similar to what you are looking for with the search query "be true":

  • 학생들은 자신에게 충실할 것을 맹세했다. The students swore to be true to themselves.
  • 나에게 솔직해져 봐. 속마음을 말해줘. Be true to me. Bare your heart.
  • 대부분 그들은 진실하지 않을 것이다. Most of them won't be true.

I too have heard "똑바로 살아라" as mentioned in Jihyung Kang's comment. This points to a more conservative notion of "living properly", or "straight". A statement like this may capture some of the virtues of honesty and diligence that might come with living "authentically". But it also brings with it other connotations (such as suggesting comformity and interacting well with society, which being "authentic" may not, as far as I understand).

In short, many phrases/idioms/etc. contain culture specific notions/information that make direct translation impossible; but if you know more specifically what ideas of an idiom you would like to capture, you can probably get closer to what you are trying to say.

  • 1
    You make good points, and I am asking my question here precisely because I am concerned about getting the right connotation. What I want to convey is the idea of living life in accordance with your values and beliefs, and striving to being honest with yourself, regardless of the situation one finds oneself in. I have added some clarifying text to my original question to try to be more clear about the connotation I am going for.
    – SlowLoris
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 5:25

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