What is Authenticity Anyway?
Have you ever wondered — what is authenticity anyway?
Something that people often say is— it is not practical to be authentic. After all I cannot just blurt out whatever I feel like!
Yes. It is probably best if we did not just blurt out whatever we feel like! That is usually the domain of toddlers. They act on impulse to protect themselves, or to get what they want.
Most people confuse authenticity with impulsivity.
Authenticity is not acting on impulse. Authenticity is a mature way of being. It comes from a place of inner knowing — of what is going on with us, what our true intention is — and then acting in congruence with that.
Let us look at an example.
Say there was this person who spoke to us in a way that makes us angry, and each time he does that we feel like yelling at him and giving him a piece of our mind.
Impulsivity would be yelling at him.
Authenticity would be — knowing that behind the anger lies hurt and shame. It makes us feel small. Maybe it brings up insecurities we have about ourselves. It would be knowing that we would like a less combative relationship.
Authenticity would be — having a conversation about how we felt and the kind of dialog we would like instead.
Authenticity would be — owning and working through our insecurities.
So, authenticity is when we speak and act from what is really going on with us, and, what our deeper intention is for the relationship. It comes from a place of openness and goodwill. It does not guarantee that the conversation will bear the results we want — after all it takes two to tango — but it does guarantee that we would have given it a damn good shot.
So how do we distinguish between impulsivity and authenticity?
Impulsivity protects. Authenticity lays us bare.
Impulsivity gives us one way to react. Authenticity creates many potential responses.
Impulsivity closes conversations. Authenticity opens conversations.
Impulsivity makes us blind. Authenticity reveals what we did not see before.
Impulsivity feels like being out of control. Authenticity feels like being in control.
Impulsivity feels like getting it off our chest to a dumping ground. Authenticity feels like sharing our truth. Authenticity feels like courage.