Authenticity: it’s the new buzz word: authentic marketing, authentic selling, authentic relationships, authentic living etc etc What does it really mean to be authentic?
Popular belief: being authentic means expressing your real feelings, being up front about what you’re doing and what you want, and going for the things that feel important to you.
Feeling inauthentic arises from experiences of putting someone else’s needs first. You’ve walked on eggshells. Held your tongue. Given up on doing something you thought you wanted to do. That doesn’t feel good.
You do an Ally McBeal: whiplash the other person with your unchecked, direct-from-your-heart-to-their-head ‘real’ feelings on the end of a long, reptilian tongue.
Feels good doesn’t it? Ooh I should have said, I wish I’d done, I should have just …then they’d have known what I really felt and it would have felt good!
You play out the scenario’s with firm conviction that if you’d been able to ‘be authentic’ you would have done something differently. But, you tell yourself, you couldn’t. You didn’t really have a choice. You had to hide your truth.
To me this is the most pervasive form of in-authenticity. It spawns blame, whose cohorts are anger, resentment, guilt and shame.
In truth, you always have a choice. In every single isolate-it-under-a-microscope event, you have a choice about how to respond. The idea that you didn’t have a choice, that you had to do (or not do) what you did (or didn’t do) is a lie. A big fat, inauthentic, distortion of the truth.
What’s really going on in those moments is that of all the options that flashed through in your mind, the one you chose, was the least uncomfortable for you. It had the inescapably co-joined set of pain and pleasure that gave you the most breathing room, kept your job safe, cost you the least amount of money, allowed you to feel like the ‘good’ person you’ve been trying so hard to be. It secured your spot in heaven.
You’re never putting someone else’s needs above your own.
If you do not honor that choice in yourself, you will feel like a victim. You will continue to tell yourself ‘he made me shut up’; ‘she left me no room’; ‘they oppressed me’. Those stories are all lies; incomplete versions of what really happened. Look at the choice you made and see how it served you. As you master the art of seeing a world that is bigger than any story you’ve told yourself you will start to awaken to your own inner genius. You’ll see the perfection in every choice that you’ve made. You’ll start to fall in love with yourself.
Until then …the uneasiness of living your own lie will drive you to do all you can to get rid of that pain. The easiest, and most unchallenged option in our society, is to blame someone else: s/he made me do it.
There’s part of you that knows better. It takes courage to own that wisdom. To live from that place of authenticity.
It leaves no room for fantasy. And it sets you free from nightmares.