I’m not sure the rise in “authenticity,” is a good trend. Authenticity, being true to oneself, is touted as a virtue & pathway to personal fulfillment. It encourages us to embrace our uniqueness via expressing our thoughts, emotions & values. But like any aspect of life, it has downsides. Let’s start from a theory, then dig into perspectives.

In theory, one’s right to be authentic is like all rights: If you can be authentic, so can I.  

When people choose to express themselves in ways they believe are authentic — conflict & disagreement may arise because the modern authenticity movement demands that “others” must ignore “their” own personal sense of authenticity, yet grant approval of authenticity to the others. 

Expressions of authenticity raise potential for rejection. Society has norms, expectations & standards that individuals are expected to abide by. Not perfect but debatable, norms are for safety or protection of others within a societal “whole.” Self-expression that deviates or is potentially harmful, may result in criticism, judgment or even exclusion from social groups. 

The need to live authentically can also have adverse professional implications if one chooses to ignore organizational & cultural norms and/or expectations that may be valued over individual expression — again for the strength of the whole.

Being authentic is not a show. An authentic lifestyle is not a be-all or end-all that others must accept – to be deemed a friend. I certainly don’t believe it is reasonable to expect to be compensated if ones need for authentic expression could hurt the livelihoods or reputations of others.

I believe true authenticity requires deep self-understanding, which can take a lifetime. Self-reflection, introspection & willingness to confront personal insecurities & flaws is necessary, as we question beliefs, values & choices. Resilience will prove to be of paramount importance because, if I am truly self-accepting, my authenticity needs no approval from others. I’m at peace, not defensive. I need no external approvals. My permission & right to be authentic comes from within, but it ends if I intrude on the rights of others. It is a private affair with myself.

I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience

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