Being authentic

There are two ways of being “authentic”.

One is to act or speak without much reflection or awareness, from defensiveness, reactiveness, and fear. This tends to happen when there is a strong identification with a particular identity that feels threatened, and it has a hard and unyielding quality. It often takes the form of blame and complaining.

Another is to act or speak with reflection and awareness, from receptivity and vulnerability.  This tends to happen when there is an allowing of what’s here, and a softening of activated identifications. This has a receptive and softer quality, and often feels more like a confession.

Some examples:

(a) I hate him. You did it wrong.  They are idiots. (It may be expressed in more sophisticated ways.)

(b) I feel afraid. I feel inadequate. A wound got triggered in me. I feel raw.

The first one is authentic in it’s own way, but it’s a quite immature and reactive form of authenticity. Many, including me, tend to reserve the word authentic for the more receptive one.


– coming from the heart, as a confession, speaking about the pain etc. (softening, opening up) – naming the anger etc.

– it’s not to put our pain on others, blame etc. (complain, blame, anger directed at others, victim etc.) – not what it’s about (defense, protection, hardening), speaking/acting from the anger etc.


– ways of being authentic – (a) act without reflection/awareness (defensive, reactive, hard), (b) act/speak with reflection/awareness/vulnerability (receptive, softening).

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