Authenticity - claim it!
A lot of us are craving authenticity. It is the natural response to this age of filters and Photoshop, of overly manicured appearances and the carefully curated facade of perfection we see all around us - and the natural response to repeatedly being let down as those facades inevitably crumble to the floor and we recoil from the disparity between what we were shown and what actually was.
The pandemic and the social isolation we have experienced also has us craving authenticity because authenticity is a requirement for genuine connection. Experiencing so much isolation and disconnection forced many of us to recognize that we need community. We are meant to grow and heal in community - in relationships.
So in many ways, we as a society have an opportunity to heal from counterfeit connections and create the real closeness we are craving. It’s important though, to consider how we create connection in a way that is honoring of self and others and results in genuine, heart to heart dialogue - and not in more hollow relationships and perfected appearances.
It isn’t surprising that we see so much inauthenticity, when so many of us have been conditioned to be people pleasers - to act not according to our own conscious being, but to do what will please others and not trigger our own lack of self worth. People pleasing means we focus on what others think of us, and as a result, we manipulate our own personality, communication, and other behaviors to seek approval or avoid disapproval, which is as inauthentic as it gets.
People pleasing always results in self betrayal, because our actions are based on avoiding criticism instead of on our highest good. We act out of fear, instead of out of love.
We experience wounding or trauma that leads us to believe that we have to be someone else in order to be loved and accepted. And yet, every time we behave in a way that is out of alignment with our true self in order to be loved and accepted, we are sending every cell in our body the message that we cannot be loved and accepted as we are. That in order to be worthy of love and acceptance, we have to be someone else. In addition to the physical, spiritual, and emotional exhaustion that comes of play acting all the time, we create a self fulfilling prophecy that we are not worthy of love and acceptance exactly as we are. This is the steep price of inauthenticity.
All of this comes back to our own self worth, self love, and self acceptance. As long as we are behaving in a way where we are seeking to find worth and love and acceptance outside of ourselves we will be inauthentic. Self love and acceptance is integral to authenticity and it is impossible to be truly authentic without it. Without it, we inevitably alter ourselves to what we think it takes to gain validation outside of ourselves.
We cannot guarantee receiving unconditional love and acceptance from other people. So as long as we are striving to receive that from other people we are going to fail and waver at being authentic. Imagine the shift when we no longer rely on that external validation! When we no longer take action with the purpose of being loved, accepted, validated or approved, we experience what it is to be our authentic self - and we experience liberation.
When other people’s lack of love or acceptance doesn’t define us, we are free!
A true awareness of our self worth results in acting out of genuine caring about people instead of acting out of caring about what they think - which is actually not really caring at all. Authenticity also breeds genuine connection because it allows for this deeper compassion and care for others.
Signs of living inauthentically:
We find ourselves continually justifying our actions and explaining why we did something, whether to ourselves or others.
Living in fear, especially fear of what other people think, of disapproval.
Sticking to a way of being and refusing to evolve. Sometimes we resist change because we think staying the same is authentic. It isn’t. As humans we get to evolve into thousands of different versions of ourselves.
We feel triggered or jealous of other people living unapologetically. We find ourselves comparing self to others or finding things to criticize in others. We gossip.
Anxiety over being “caught” doing something out of character with the persona we have created.
Feeling like people in one area of our life wouldn’t even recognize us if they observed us in a different community.
We also need to consider both authenticity and transparency - especially because they are often assumed to be the same and they are decidedly not.
Authenticity is how we show up. Authenticity is how we share - it is being genuine, not hiding our true self, the things that make us unique. It is not pretending to be something we aren’t. Transparency is how much we share or reveal. Transparency is the degree to which we share - it is sharing deeply, it is in the things we share, and the degree of detail we share.
Authenticity is required of us in every interaction if we want to be committed to our wholeness and healing and to creating genuine relationships. Transparency is not required for every interaction and the level of transparency appropriate for the connection and the situation is something we learn to discern.
It is so important to distinguish between the two because both zero transparency and unwarranted transparency can be trauma responses. In the case of zero transparency, we respond to the trauma we have experienced by correlating connection with harm - and so we avoid all connection. We are not transparent (or authentic) with anyone in an attempt to keep ourselves safe.
We are wired as humans to crave connection with others. In fact, that is why we often become people pleasers in the first place - we learned that it was a way to maintain that needed connection, however flawed, with an emotionally wounded caregiver. We often want that connection so badly, especially after experiencing disconnected care givers and/or trauma. And in an attempt to connect we are overly transparent. So we share our rawness with someone who seems like they might listen, with the intention of desperately seeking connection. Our desperate, anxious energy anxiety might scare people away which then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that nobody wants us. Or, the person we were so transparent with betrays us. They use their knowledge against us. We offered transparency to someone who hadn’t yet earned the trust required for that level of transparency. Trauma and/or people pleasing also results in low self trust and a disconnect from intuition (from continually shutting down the voice communicating our own needs) so our ability to know who is safe for us is dulled.
Inappropriate levels of transparency erode our authenticity, because we are being transparent in a way that is not in alignment with our true self. Rather than being the foundation for genuine connection, transparency becomes a way to gain approval, attention, validation, or even pity, usually because somewhere along the line we internalized the idea that this is what love looks like.
If you have experienced any of this, give yourself grace. Just like I did, you did the best you could with what you knew, and now, as you heal, you will continually learn how to connect to your intuition and discern when to be transparent and to what degree.
While transparency requires discernment, the beautiful thing is that authentic is something we can be 100% of the time. And when we are, oh the feeling of true freedom!
Transparency, while not required for every relationship, and not all the time, is still an essential part of creating deep, close knit relationships.
Transparency within a relationship is about honesty. It is about sharing our own thoughts and feelings and authentic self without fear. It is not about telling our partners or close friends what we think of them without context. Transparency is not, as I once thought, willing to be confrontational just to be confrontational. It isn’t telling people about themselves. It is actually meeting and confronting ourselves and speaking about ourselves. It requires holding space for ourselves and the person we are in relationship with. It takes a commitment to observe our own emotions, sit with them, identify them, and be able to share them effectively. While transparency is not blaming and finger pointing, be wary of being transparent with anyone who polices the way you express your trauma. Are they actually earning the trust needed to be a safe place to be transparent?
So transparency in a relationship isn’t about blaming or finger pointing, it is about speaking truth about our own needs, emotions, and desires.
Give yourself grace for being or having been inauthentic or overly transparent in relationships. You’re wired to survive. If you have been inauthentic in connection as a way to stay safe, whether emotionally or physically, you survived that. Perhaps you are reading this now because you are ready to claim your authenticity and show up in relationships as your true self. And if you’re anything like me, perhaps when someone betrayed you after you were transparent, you blamed yourself for sharing. Their betrayal is not and was not your fault. Give yourself as needed the space and time to grieve and to recognize that while you may not have had the discernment at the time, that does NOT make someone else’s betrayal your fault. You did not cause them to hurt you.
You also have a right to privacy. Boundaries are crucial. There’s a level of disclosure that’s appropriate for you in different relationships and experiences. And ultimately, our intuition knows. We have an innate sense of knowing when and what to share. But that sense can be numbed or turned off due to our past experiences. Loss of self trust can make it difficult to ascertain when it is correct for us to trust someone else with our transparency. One thing that increases self trust is authenticity! Showing up as our true self teaches our inner child by example that we are worthy of full love and acceptance right now - which means we can trust ourselves to have our own back.
The same level of transparency is not required in every relationship or even every interaction. You get to decide. Not everyone gets access to you at every level and in every situation.
Some things to consider as we evaluate our own authenticity and transparency:
Motivation - it can be helpful if we are struggling to know how transparent to be to pause and consider our motivation. Am I sharing this because I desire to be closer to this person? Am I sharing this to receive love, help, or attention? Am I sharing because I desire to serve and uplift others? Am I seeking support? And most importantly, am I safe to share? Is this a safe container? Has this person earned the trust I need to share this and remain in full integrity with myself?
Do I curate myself? The way I curate a social media feed? Do I seek to make things appear a certain way? How much energy and time do I spend on this?
Who do I adjust myself around? Who am I inauthentic around? Are they my true friends? If so, why am I inauthentic around them?
We also need to consider our privilege in being able to be our authentic self. While society is changing, the fact still remains that many people feel the need to be inauthentic and hide specific aspects of their sexual, gender, racial, or cultural identity in order to survive. Our own authenticity around our identities can give others inspiration to do the same and normalize the hugely varied and beautiful spectrum of human existence. It also frees up energy to work so others with more marginalized identities than our own can also experience the freedom of living authentically.
In a nutshell, both authenticity and transparency are about truth. But authenticity is being true to yourself, something that is continuously necessary to experience true liberation. Transparency is being truthful about details of your life - and that is not continuously necessary.
Authenticity builds trust, even simply energetically. People can feel you are being true, even if they can’t name it. As humans, we are incredibly receptive and intuitive, and on some level we simply sense things that are not in alignment and integrity. As we live authentically we notice the quality of connection in our lives dramatically improves. Not everyone is for us. When we live authentically, we attract those who truly are.
This is not a switch we can flip - we don’t go from struggling to people please to being authentic all the time everywhere we go. We learn how to do it-, we practice living authentically - and we often start this practice in safe relationships, spaces and communities.
Affirmations + essential oils** are a powerful way to support as we heal the wounds of living an inauthentic life and claiming our true selves. They accelerate and enhance the process of rewiring the neural pathways that have us stuck living an inauthentic life.
Oils + affirmations for some of the most common struggles we face on the journey to fully claiming our authenticity:
Authenticity frees ourselves and others. Where are you in this journey of attaining liberation?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Comment below or message me. And if this has brought value to your life, please share it!
*As with everything I share, I am not an expert. I am simply a woman on her own healing journey sharing my ever deepening and expanding Truth.
**My suggestions and recommendations are based on doTERRA essential oils. Here's why.