I have heard it said that the closest we usually get to authenticity is to recognize how inauthentic we normally are.
While this might seem pessimistic, it can also be interpreted in a way that generates great resource, through simply owning the reality that inauthenticity is our automatic path of least resistance.
In contrast, authenticity requires grounded presence, awareness, intentionality, vulnerability, transparency, integrity and courage.
Several things get in the way of authenticity. One is fear. Fear of rejection, abandonment, being judged, or being misunderstood, etc. All these fears could be categorized under the banner of fear of vulnerability.
Fear can actually be a healthy emotion. It can act as a sentry to alert you to situations where you are at risk of physical harm or trauma. But, that is not the context I am referring to here.
Authenticity naturally occurs to us as risky business. It feels like we are exposed. And, it can lead to some of the things we fear:
These things might happen, but… I have found and observed that this happens far less than I initially fear, if I am willing to be authentic in spite of my fear. However, the reality is that when authentic expression does lead to misunderstanding, being judged or rejected, it does not have to be the “end of the line,” unless we decide it is.
If misunderstandings and judgments killed relationships, we would all be in trouble, because all of us judge and misunderstand at times.
The reality is that authenticity—being true to what is so for you for the purpose of creating value and connection with another—always creates a possibility for deeper connection.
If it is openly received by the other, there is deeper connection. If it is not received or is misunderstood and judged, there is still a possibility for deeper connection. All you have to do is be willing to inquire and seek to understand what is going on for them.
When you are judged or misunderstood, the challenge is to recognize your natural tendency
You always have the option to be curious as to what they are thinking and experiencing and care enough about them to inquire. This creates a huge opening for deeper connection and new awareness.
This discipline requires clarity as to why you were sharing authentically in the first place. If connection is your vision, that is always a possibility in play, regardless of how much turbulence you experience along the way.
Sometimes it may not turn out. That does happen. But, when you feel misunderstood, applying the disciplines of curiosity and care can go a long way in staying in the game of creating deeper connection.
Curiosity and care naturally interrupts the fear of vulnerability and
Authenticity is not for the faint of heart. But, most people I know long for deeper connection to others. Authenticity is one giant contribution to that possibility.
What do you find are the biggest challenges