Authenticity is a Feeling

I don’t feel that much

My friends who know me well were probably surprised by the title of this post.  Karen writing about feelings? What? Why is a thinker like Karen talking authenticity is a feeling? It’s true, on the Myers-Briggs personality thinker or feeler segment I top the charts on the thinker score. In fact, sometimes when people ask me “How do you feel about ____?” My response is often, “I’ll have to think about that.” It’s not that I don’t have feelings, it’s just that understanding them for me is complicated.

It all stems from losing my mom as a toddler, during those attachment years. As a child, we learn pretty quickly that our emotions can get us a lot of things. Parents, fed you when you cry. They change your diaper when you’re fussy. However, when my mom died, after weeks of crying that didn’t bring her back, I guess I gave up. At least on the notion that emotions are a means to a positive end. The emotional suppression started there and was encouraged (not healthy by the way) for my entire upbringing.  Luckily for my friends and family, counseling and my devotion to growth have brought me a long way baby. 😉

Peeling back the layers of authenticity

For example in counseling, you hear the term “peeling back the layers like an onion.” It’s a theory about the stages of change individuals go through.  It’s why counseling is likely never one and done.  While these stages of change have certainly applied to my emotional health and growth, I believe it has also applied to my authenticity.  Granted if you had asked me in my 20’s if I were authentic I would have said yes! In my 30’s absolutely and 40’s, you dang straight. The truth of the matter I’m still trying to figure it out.

Grumpy as a sign of inauthenticity

Like this week, I noticed I was getting grumpy. A project was fast approaching, and I was doing my pre-thinking. But each time I’d glance over at the post it on my desk to remind me. I’d sigh and go eh. Ten years ago I’d be off the wall excited, even five years ago I would have been happy for the opportunity.  But not this week. After talking it over with a couple people I declined.  It no longer felt authentic. But don’t take my word for it.  I came across a great article that unpacked authenticity and it listed the feelings of authentic and inauthentic. The inauthentic list reminded me of a post I wrote about Ego. I’m pretty sure they are the same. Here’s the list from the article, though it covers a lot more ground than this.

Inauthentic Self

Feels anxious. Is a people pleaser. Second guesses every decision. Rationalizes. Is rigid. Wants to impress others. Says or does things he regrets. Doesn’t expect much. Placates. Hides or denies feelings. Feels like a victim. Is paralyzed or hyperactive. Uses addictive behavior. Feels confused and overwhelmed. Feels helpless or hopeless. Is depressed or angry. Gets trapped in endless mind chatter.

Authentic Self

Feels optimistic. Is honest and open. Commits but is flexible. Thinks for herself. Goes with the flow, open to change. Wants to do her best. Knows when to apologize. Knows how to accept and receive. Negotiates. Listens to feelings. Takes responsibility. Acts when appropriate. Makes healthy choices. Knows when to stop and reevaluate. Knows how to ask for help. Feels happy a lot of the time. Is tuned into a larger field of intelligence.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on the feelings you are experiencing this week and journal your answers to the following questions.

  1. Make a list of the feelings from both lists above. Do you find more authentic or inauthentic feelings?
  2. On the list of inauthentic feelings.  Is there anyone you know that never seems to have a problem with that? Take some time to ask them how they got to that place of authenticity.
  3. In looking at the inauthentic list. Take a few moments to sit quietly and ask yourself what’s behind those feelings.  Is it a certain project, a certain relationship? Note what comes to mind and leave that for a bit.  Let your intuition and your faith walk lead you in a direction that is more authentic for you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *