By Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance
"Authenticity is living life according to your beliefs, opinions, and instincts.
Authenticity is breaking free from control, guilt, and fear.
Authenticity is living in a space of original thought.
Authenticity is living on your terms.”
Authenticity comes from a mindset of knowing yourself. When you are authentic, you have self awareness. It develops as a result of an internal, reflective process by determining if you are living your life according to your beliefs, opinions, and instincts.
The Crumbling Foundation of Authenticity
Authenticity comes with a history. We are born authentic, with the potential to look inward to know things about ourselves, such as our likes and dislikes. Our relationship with authenticity is heavily influenced by our upbringing. This relationship becomes damaged when children are told they should not express themselves. When children convey their true feelings that don’t align with what people want to hear, they are told they can’t speak their truth by the same people who tell them to be honest. This forces children into a false space of authenticity, enforcing them to not say anything. They don’t learn how to be authentic constructively.
Rather than children learning how to express their thoughts in a way that’s effective, children are punished for their honesty. As a result, they learn to communicate dishonestly and stop expressing their true feelings. While the feelings are still there, they learn to keep them to themselves, at least until there are no consequences for expressing themselves in the way they originally intended. They don’t learn how to process their thoughts, consider the consequences for themselves and others, or make choices based on that process. Ultimately these children become adults who are ineffective at communicating, setting boundaries, and developing healthy relationships.
Children aren’t psychologically, emotionally and physically equipped to take the suppression, control, and manipulation that is imposed upon them regularly. It breaks their spirit and causes them to internally question everything. They doubt the thoughts, feelings, words, and actions of themselves and others. They live in a space of emotional paralyzation and insecurity.
When these children enter adulthood, they take with them the life altering, life damaging habits that conditioning caused them to develop. They express themselves in unhealthy, unproductive ways because they never learned about healthy communication and honest expression. They hold back their true feelings because they learned that when they’re honest, they will suffer the ramifications of negative consequences.
Rebuilding Your Authentic Foundation
You can develop a new mindset to help guide you toward being authentic. Examine your life and experiences. Reflect on the times your authenticity was compromised. When you’ve done this, you can think about how you can change your mindset to move yourself on a path of authenticity. Reflect on who you have become, who you truly want to be, and take steps to change.
One way to start examining your life is by writing a journal and allowing yourself to process your experiences, some of which may feel uncomfortable. This can be a helpful and reflective practice. Think about the times you gave in to others, such as when you felt pressured, wanted to be liked, were afraid to speak up, didn’t want to disappoint, etc. Think about your upbringing and document situations when the expectations to conform affected your authenticity.
Learning a new habit of communicating is key to your authenticity. You can break free from the feeling that you can’t share your thoughts. You can do this by stepping out of your comfort zone. Outside of the comfort zone is where you learn and grow. You can learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and realize your self worth will rise above your fears. When you advocate for yourself, you are advocating for your authenticity. You can be the true person you were meant to be, released from the habits of social confinement and the feeling that you need to surrender your free thinking.
As you become more aware of your authenticity and how you want to change and achieve it, you need to take action. Start living in your space of original thought and start living life on your terms. Break free from control, guilt, and fear. Now is the time to begin living your life according to your beliefs, opinions, and instincts!
This topic on authenticity will be one of several because it’s such a layered, nuanced topic. When you reply with your comments, we will incorporate them in our upcoming blogs. You can also email your comments at the “contact” tab on this website.
About the Authors
Harry Petsanis is a mindset and accountability coach, philosopher of human nature, consultant, and lifelong fitness and nutrition expert. He is a writer and author, with two published books: “The Truth is A Lie” and “The Logical Path To Life.” His book “The Truth is A Lie” was nominated by the 2019 Author Academy Awards in the "best self help" book category. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, and has an intense passion for psychology and the human condition.
Click here to order Harry Petsanis’s books.
Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and
Associates in Business Administration.