Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Myth of Authenticity

For a long time, I would say that I was searching for a way to be more authentic in my life. Authenticity, to me, was a way of being that was better than being inauthentic. If I was being authentic, I was being true to myself. Real.

But I can see now that the search for any authentic self is a myth. We are always authentic. We are always exactly what we are. There is no way to be otherwise.

If we are nervous, or insecure, or happy, or confident, those things are obvious to anyone nearby. Whether we say the words or not, we are communicating that essence of ourselves in every moment.

A more valid question is whether we are being honest. If I am honest with myself, my current practice might be "cranky Jeff trying to be upbeat," or "nervous Jeff trying to speak clearly." Honesty, especially with ourselves, is something we are afraid of. Why, I am not sure. I am not even sure I was honesty searching for authenticity. I think what I was actually searching for was comfort.

We all get cranky, or nervous, or afraid. It can be tremendously freeing to accept that. And, paradoxically, we can be comfortable with our discomfort.


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