What is authenticity?

I listened to an interview from a few years ago about an unrelated topic, and someone said: Trump is authentic. That’s what people like about him.

I have heard this argument several times before. Is it true that Trump is authentic?

IS TRUMP AUTHENTIC?

Yes and no and not really.

If with authentic you mean reactive, then yes. He is certainly authentic with his reactivity.

If with authentic you mean receptive, honest, and speaking truth about oneself as a confession, then he is not very authentic. He seems to avoid this like the plague.

Why does he avoid it? Most likely for the same reason as everyone else, including sometimes me: It can feel threatening. It can feel easier to react to our pain than to welcome and acknowledge it, especially when reactivity to our own pain has become a habit and what we are most familiar with.

IS IT EASIER TO REACT TO OUR PAIN THAN TO BEFRIEND IT?

Again, yes and no.

On the surface, it can seem easier. It’s the easy way out.

And when we look more closely, it’s more complicated and creates a lot more stress and suffering.

When we realize and take this in, that’s when a shift can happen into committing to meeting our own pain in a more mature way.

WHAT DOES REAL AUTHENTICITY LOOK LIKE?

It looks like receptivity, vulnerability, honesty about ourselves as a confession, taking responsibility for our own life and reactions, and so on.

And what does reactivity look like?

It can look like defensiveness, anger out of proportion to the situation, chronic fear, chronic depression, blame, victimhood, addictions, and even racism, bigotry and fundamentalist ideologies. Mainly, it looks like a compulsion to something, whether it’s a behavior, emotion, state, or ideology.


INITIAL OUTLINE

Is Trump authentic? 

  • Saw an interview from a few years back on a completely different topic, where this came up 
    • Some like Trump bc he us authentic and speaks his mind, but it turns out it matters what’s on that person’s mind 
  • So is he authentic? 
  • At surface level yes 
  • But not really 
    • Is authentic with his reactivity, not with what he reacts to in himself
      • typically ignores or is unaware of what he is reacting to 
      • Which may be fear, insecurity, hurt, and so on – likely childhood wounds 
  • A real authenticity looks like honesty, receptivity, vulnerability (not reactivity, anger, blame, etc.) 

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