Be the Me I want to be but not the Me you want to See
There is a lot of time and energy generated on the topic of bringing your “authentic self.” This concept of authenticity seeks to accomplish the goal of nonjudgmental acceptance. People want to feel safe and secure. They want to be comfortable with being themselves and having the opportunity to bring their best selves to work and beyond.
The concepts of authenticity or being your authentic self are commonly defined as the quality of being honest and truthful, both to ourselves and others. In the context of self-development, authenticity describes how closely we’re living up to our personal values. – The Google
The issue here is that “personal values” are personal. If these are personal and not aligned to social norms, they press hard on the fabric of acceptance. It is frustrating to see people get shut down or lose their career or livelihood when they bring their unpopular self to a public forum. It can’t be lost on people that others judge us. I’d venture to say that most people have been in some situation where there was judgement or some commentary about their person.
We aren’t talking about what is morally right or wrong. Morally generally refers to the behavior of a society. We also can’t talk about what is systemically right or wrong because we exist in a system of systems. There isn’t one big wheel with many cogs. We live in a complex ever changing system with moving parts. We aren’t talking about fairness or equality either. There is no such thing as fairness or equality in our world today with respect to any system we operate in. I wouldn’t even say the systems are broken.
In all cases, we don’t decide what we are born as. Additionally, we aren’t defined by what we are in toto. However, no matter what I change about my look or body, my DNA and familial history binds me to a specific group of people. It is a fact that I can’t change physically by a cultural association. Even if I sought to do so, depending on who I sought to be, it would be deemed “appropriation.”
I don’t believe that I have the right to define what anyone does or says. I don’t believe that I personally have the right to tell anyone who to love or what to identify with. There are also things that people do that I don’t like. We need to have a real conversation that addresses authentic boundaries.
If we aren’t honest with each other about this, we will continue to voice our support for honesty and condemn people for their honesty. We will cancel everyone at some point.
We shouldn’t have to fear or hide who we are, but we also shouldn’t be prodded to share who we are only to be ashamed or canceled. All the exposure, the expression and the sharing has divided us.
I am not a religious person, but I am genetically and culturally Jewish. There are many communities of people that hate me without knowing me. There are many communities of people that make assumptions about me. So, I walk into a room and bring my whole authentic self. Before I open my mouth, 1m assumptions are already made. It doesn’t matter what I say, it doesn’t matter if I bring my whole self, it doesn’t matter if it is fair or unfair. It matters what I do. This is the real point of it.
If we look at all the studies about non-violent communication, compassion, empathy, conflict management, conflict resolution, it always points to the same thing. It doesn’t matter what other people do; it matters what “I” do. Some would argue this has nothing to do with bringing your authentic self. It absolutely has everything to do with it.
If your authentic self does NOT fit into the standard deviation, it is an issue. The expectation now is that everyone else should accept you but that just isn’t how it works in real life. At some point, it just doesn’t work.
Where are the conversations about authentic boundaries?
We don’t have them because if we did, we would be labeled. We don’t have them because we can’t have open discussion without fear. We don’t have them because if we did, we might reveal our true selves. We may actually reveal something that is NOT appealing to a particular group or community.
Healing starts when we acknowledge and identify the truth. We are sociologically being gaslighted and we need to take action as individuals to stop it. If we don’t, we will descend to a dystopian end of false authenticity. We will fake our realness.
What do you think? I’d like to know. (For real)…
3 Replies to “Authentic Something”
Authentic self must be understood. This is critical to understanding that we are all related to the whole of creation. However, when people are stigmatized, it is usually by their race, culture, or ethnic background. It is because others that are not from the same race, culture or ethnic background have a perception that is tainted by their own race, culture, or ethnic backgrounds. These differences persist as familiarity isn’t likely unless you encounter others from other races, cultures, or ethnic backgrounds in a mutual setting of justice and equality. But getting to your authentic self means that you must recognize that your DNA has some similar DNA with other humans and life forms and that means a relationship has been established already. We all are children of one G-d and are created in His/Her image. So, why is the surface of life always about race, culture, and ethnic backgrounds when the heart of humanity is related. So, I would say that true authentic self is that we are all one family regardless of what we look like or believe. So how would you treat everyone if you looked at them as brothers and sisters of the same Father?
I am fortunate that the work I do puts me in contact with people where I can, for the most part, express who I am. If they are not not comfortable with who they perceive me to be, they can choose to go somewhere else. Today, I told one of my patients that she was a gift to me. We hugged. We teared up. She felt the same way. We felt so grateful to have found each other. I’m convinced that if I continue to put my authenticity out there in my work, I will continue to attract those people that I can actually help.
So, I try not to be a validation junkie. But I admit that I do enjoy validation from others, particularly if I hold them in esteem. But why does that validation feel so good? Why does it touch that part of me that feels out of reach when I try to satisfy it on my own? I think it’s because as human beings, we long to feel that resonance with others. Validation is one thing, but resonance is even greater. There is energy in the connection. It feels as though it is raising our own vibrational frequency, and I believe it does that. When we find those that we can be authentic with and have them see the good, the bad, the ugly, it can be the most joyful and uplifting human experience. I think authenticity and validation can be faked. I don’t think that’s the case with resonance.
But, clearly, I don’t feel that I can do this with everyone. Some people I know better than to share myself. Not everyone will appreciate it if I “leak” my thoughts and feelings all over them.
I don’t know enough about the concept of authentic boundaries to address it right now.
But I do have questions about authenticity in general. My first question is—do I need to be authentic with everyone even if it’s a struggle to do so? I guess the answer would be yes if I thought authenticity meant freedom to be my true self. I guess authentic is authentic…period. But what if being true to myself was choosing not to leave myself open like a raw nerve? I’ve lived with conflict since I fell out of the womb, so there are times when, to someone else’s eye, I am not being authentic because I choose not to engage in conflict especially where I don’t feel safe. Authenticity takes courage to express. But what exactly does authenticity look like? Is authenticity just one note or one groove in a record? Remember records? Is there one “true” authentic compass? Is it just a yes or no answer to be authentic? You either are or you’re not? Is it black or white? I think authenticity has many, many layers. And what about the deep, dark parts of the authentic self that can harbor emotions such as anger, or possibly even hate. If I’m choosing not to express/expose that part of me, am I being inauthentic? Is authenticity exactly the same as integrity? By integrity I don’t mean morality. What I mean is soundly adhering to living and doing what you say whether it fits in with others ideas of moral norms or not.
As has always been, those who yell the loudest and create the most drama and conflict will command the most attention. Granted there are far more factors complicating what influences us today. But long before social media, fearmongering and an “us and them mentality,” never had any difficulty spreading.
I’m really saddened and very concerned for our youth. I hear, way too often, adults cheering their school administrators for not allowing certain books (age appropriate but considered controversial) to be read in the school. That scares me. I recently heard an interview with a college professor who said that any topics deemed controversial were avoided in the classroom. The interviewer asked if a college classroom wasn’t where those topics should be discussed? The professor answered, “it used to be.” I feel it’s becoming more and more difficult on a daily basis for young people to express their authentic self. How can they be expected to be their authentic self if the adults around them are afraid? I think we may be missing the grace to grow and evolve. We’re losing the concept of —when you know better, you do better. If we were all “canceled” because of some stupid thing we did in high school or college, we’d be in serious trouble. Anyway…I’ve really digressed…
This is fantastic
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