Posted on 4th June 2019 at 17:40
Authenticity is a fundamental aspect of well-being. The psychologist Carl Rogers described it as being congruent with yourself. That your internal world and your external world are broadly the same. Research shows that less “role variation” in life promotes greater wellbeing. Basically, if you can be the same person in most situations it is better for your wellbeing. Sounds easy….
In reality, authenticity is difficult. You take a risk every time you reveal your true self externally. The risk that all parts of you won’t be accepted. This risk of rejection is at the core of why we all struggle with authenticity. But being inauthentic is equally painful. I feel it intensely if I am being inauthentic because I am trading the essence of who I am to make another person more comfortable with who I am.
One of the big barriers to being more authentic in today’s world is that authenticity has been hijacked. “Be yourself” has become a mantra today which many promote but few subscribe to. What we mean is be yourself but only in a way that doesn’t make the rest of us feel uncomfortable. As a result, we are living in an age of plastic authenticity.
Which is why when I read a paper recently about authenticity, something which really caught my eye was the root of the word authentic. Another less recognised origin is the word “authentin” from ancient Greek which means to “exercise power”. I love this. We normally understand power to be an external phenomenon. You exert power over something or someone. The idea of authenticity is that you have power. Internal power. When we choose not to be authentic, we give our power away. Give ourselves over to another person’s definition of who we are or should be. Being authentic is about reclaiming your power. About staying with your truth as the unfailing anchor in your life.
In short, your authenticity is your superpower.
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