Authenticity is being true to what is so for you
for the purpose of creating value and connection with another.
Of course, there are other ways to define it, but for the purpose of our discussion, this is our definition.
There is a difference between simply “being true to what is so for you,” and being true to what is so for you for the purpose of “creating connection and value with another.” The first is focused primarily on self-expression and the second is focused primarily on creating connection and oneness with another. Those can be radically differing points of focus.
To have “creating connection and value with another” be a guiding light in my interactions, while also maintaining a vision and commitment to being true to what is so for me, is a much higher commitment and vision than only being true to what is so for me. Often, maintaining both of those commitments simultaneously creates an internal tension.
If I am only concerned with “being true to what is so for me” I can justify spewing hostility, judgments and recrimination at will, all under the justification of “being true.”
But, to refine and reorient the commitment to being true within the context of it creating value and connection with another is an entirely different enterprise. It flips the orientation and focus of the interaction to the possibility of deepening the relationship, which often feels like risky business.
I think we often forsake authenticity for the purpose of “preserving” a relationship—not wanting to rock the boat. Most often, in reality, this is simply us playing it safe through a self-preservation orientation, and it leads to a shallowness that is unfulfilling.
“Authenticity is built upon honesty, openness and
being true to your internal experience and current reality.
And it simultaneously wills the good of another.”
It tends to be messier than “surface” living. And it requires that we pay close attention to the impact we are generating in the exchange while valuing the expression of the other more than our inherent drive to protect ourselves at all costs. The payoff is that it creates an opening for deeper connection, unity, clarity, and forward momentum.
We see this frequently in public figures, when they are in a tough situation or being accused of something. If they publicly “come clean” and address fully and authentically what needs to be addressed, normally the situation becomes less inflamed and they create a space to move forward. If they don’t, often the situation develops a life of its own.
The same is true for each of us in our own lives. It seems that is it always much easier to see this dynamic play out with others than in our own lives. We tend to get blinded by our own subjectivity and self-preservation instincts. So, to really see this requires practicing intentional self-observation and self-reflection.
Think about where in your own life you are not being fully authentic and the price you and others are paying as a result. What do you desire with them that would be worth authentically engaging it?
Where have you seen authenticity help someone transition through a difficult situation?