The Authenticity Experiment

It started out good. I decided to try being authentic (see last post, “Cheese and Authenticity”). I thought authenticity would help me have better health, more energy, and more intimate and safer relationships.

First, I told someone something I had been holding back and they were very nice about it.

Second, I told someone else something I hadn’t said that I was thinking.  That person was neutral about my authenticity.  I felt good and happy letting it out.

Then, I decided to show someone a potential blog post where I talked honestly about them.  They were really angry and threatened to end our relationship.  I was really depressed after that and decided authenticity is not fun.

Then, I realized that I have inner strength — that I’d be OK even if people were mad at me.  So,  I tried being authentic again.  The other day, someone said they were fat and I agreed with them.  The person got very upset and said, “You think I’m fat?” It was really hard for me to see them so upset.  Even though I believe they are fat, I felt horrible for calling them fat.

The whole thing about authenticity is, it only works if I’m OK, even if people get upset or are angry with me.  I don’t know if I have the stomach for true authenticity.  Maybe someday.  Now, I’m doing authenticity half-assed.  I’m happy being authentic only if people react well.

Maybe someday I’ll be more comfortable being authentic.   I’m learning to be OK with the fact that I’m not willing to commit to being authentic.  And I’m having fun being able to have perspective and observe myself.  It’s fun experimenting.  Having this awareness, sort of outside of myself, makes me feel lighter.


5 Responses to “The Authenticity Experiment”

  1. ellen sandor says:

    you always blow me away, always.!

    your very loving mom ( who failed authenticity 101)

  2. Janet says:

    Interesting experiment. People with autism generally say exactly what is on their minds without filtering. So you were communicating like an autistic person during this experiment. And you got a taste of why it’s so hard even for a high functioning person with autism to fit in socially.

    Most of us filter ourselves and rather than being blunt cushion the blow when we have to tell someone something that will be hard for that person to hear. I would say how straight from the hip you speak depends on the recipient of that communication. If it is someone who knows that you love and value them, then perhaps speaking no holds bars won’t end badly.

  3. Julie says:

    Really interesting post. Makes me think about what it means to authentic with people. I’ve sometimes heard people say perhaps truthful things but with a cruel intent. My guess is that is not being authentic just mean-spirited. Your journey is so complex I think because my interpretation is it means being forthright with heart, compassion and empathy. I certainly haven’t gotten there but it’s so good to reminded of its value.

  4. Eric says:

    I love the authenticity when its not about me. How is that for authentic?

  5. Melissa says:

    Great timing for me on reading this. I just made the very rough decision to be authentic with someone yesterday, and the result was not good. But this blog helps me to realize that it was the authenticity itself that I was after, not a specific result. The relationship would have ended anyway (in fact was already dead), but I can leave it knowing that I was authentic. Sometimes relationships do need to end. BTW – love what Eric said. Too funny!