Why We Fear Being Authentic
There’s a lot of talk recently in the personal growth community about authenticity. What does that really mean?
How do you answer the age-old question: ‘Who am I?’
As highly sensitive people, we are so tuned into subtleties in our environment, the culture, even other people’s energy — it can be easy to lose sight of who we are. We might flex and bend; trying to be what we believe others expect.
One thing is clear, we know for certain when we are not being authentic.
Something comes out of our mouth and we wonder, ‘Who said that?’
That feeling in the pit of our stomach, our inner voice that reminds us we just compromised. Why didn’t I say what I meant? Why did I stay silent Being authentic is a risk for HSPs, as the reality is people may not understand you. They will look at you in that puzzled way, you all know what I’m talking about.
The decision you have to make is how much do you care if they understand?
Sometimes, we care a lot if they are key relationships like significant others, family, friends, or co-workers.
Belonging is a basic human need.
What’s important to understand is that belonging is also an instinctual need, it triggers us to believe if we are not accepted, we will die.
Back when we were hunters and gatherers, it was necessary for everyone in the tribe to belong in order to eat, for shelter, for security in a dangerous world. It’s less true in modern society, although we are still interdependent. Thousands of years of biology can be a powerful force.
Similar to how our biology creates specific reactions based on gender. Hormones, patterns of behavior, communication. And, our biology as a highly sensitive person is constructed so we experience the world differently. We mentally process what happened to the nth degree, we feel everything with deep emotional intensity.
Personal growth is really about building awareness of things that unconsciously drive us, like our biological urges.
We then have power to make a conscious choice about how to respond.
Let’s return to that moment when we dared to express our true feelings, our uniqueness. Okay, so someone looks puzzled or makes what seems like an insensitive comment. What next?
- We can choose to be absolutely devastated, that hurt so bad, no one understands me, I am never going to put myself out there again. If a person just thoughtlessly commented, that’s one thing. If you are in a relationship with someone who continuously makes your way of being wrong, that is quite another. Pay attention to the difference.
- Pause to Check — what just happened, why might the other person have been triggered by what I said or did? Is their biology coming into play? How much weight do I want to give it? Could I instead show compassion because I too have sometimes misunderstood others?
- Let It Go. What? Are you saying I just walk away, don’t try to explain and justify myself? Yes. What if your inner voice says, ‘Congratulations! You just showed up for yourself and that is what truly matters.’
I won’t sugar coat it, #3 is a challenging choice. It’s also the most authentic.
If you are engaging in inner work, being at peace with who you are is a fundamental life lesson. It takes practice, over and over. And believe me when I say if you are committed to authenticity, situations will show up to help you practice❤️
My group coaching program, Three Thresholds to Authenticity begins on Tuesday, April 25. If you’re ready to put down the masks and be unapologetically you, learn more and apply…
To Your Highest Good,