Food for Thought: The Risk of Authenticity

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real.  The choice to be honest.  The choice to let our true selves be seen”. – Brené Brown

It’s a lovely idea, isn’t it? We have the choice on a daily basis to be genuinely who we are. It’s often what we yearn for – to have the courage to be ourselves, regardless of what other people think.


What if.

What if people don’t like us?

What if people tell us we’re wrong?

What if we risk being ourselves and we get hurt?

We can learn very early on in life to hide our true selves. If who we are isn’t accepted and valued by those around us, we take our authenticity into hiding for protection.

For survival, we choose to show only those parts of us that we believe are acceptable to others.

We tell ourselves: “never, never show someone who you really are or what you really feel because you will be annihilated and you will not survive”.

Consequently, authenticity feels like A Very Big Risk.

While it may not feel safe to show everyone who we are, it doesn’t mean we can’t show anyone. We can seek out those people with whom we feel safe to show just a little of ourselves and, in that way, our true selves can begin to emerge.

Yes, it’s risky. Yes, it’s scary.

But the reward is that we find we are not alone. We no longer have to stay hidden. We can finally be truly seen, heard, understood and known by another.

That has to be worth the risk, doesn’t it?

©️ Julie de Rohan 2019.

18 thoughts on “Food for Thought: The Risk of Authenticity

  1. This is a beautiful post, Julie. Showing vulnerability has to be one of the scariest things we can do. The risks are great but the resulting benefits can be greater. I’ve avoided taking that scary step too many times. Thanks for the inspiration, Lxx

    1. Thanks, Lol. I think we all probably avoid taking the scary step sometimes – but although vulnerability is uncomfortable, I feel that staying hidden is far more painful than the risk of being authentic.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful as always ❤

    Authenticity is such an important way to live your truth and show up in the world 100% real but it is so sad not everyone gets to come from such a place. The world would be a far better place if we were able to show up as nothing but ourselves, as the saying goes, as everyone else is taken.

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    1. Yes, sadly, our authenticity isn’t always celebrated and encouraged early in our lives and we can learn that it’s simply not safe to be ourselves. However, taking the risk to show someone who’s trustworthy who you really are is a wonderful way to heal. I couldn’t agree more that it would be a much better world if we could all be authentically ourselves. Thank you so much for your comment.

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  3. What a lovely post, Julie. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us on authenticity. I think it being A Very Big Risk, in title case, is an absolutely accurate assessment! That’s exactly what it feels like. I think we often build up distinct personas in the different domains of our lives based on who we think others want us to be, who we want to be (but are not), or a combination of both, and it ends up being a lot of work to keep those inauthentic facades in place. In that sense, choosing authenticity can be such a relief.

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    1. I love your insights, Lisa. I think it’s so true that we often show different sides of us in the “different domains of our lives”, as you say. It’s not the same as having perhaps a “professional” side at work, or a “fun-loving” side with our friends. It’s when we’re trying to be what we think others want us to be that it becomes a problem, as we’re having to deny who we really are for fear of being rejected. You put it so well when you say “it ends up being a lot of work to keep those inauthentic facades in place” and you’re absolutely right that choosing to be authentic, although risky, can be such a relief. Really good to hear your thoughts, thank you.

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  4. You’ve said it so well with “we take our authenticity into hiding for protection”. I think this can come with dangerous consequences, and it’s so very sad, don’t you think? I definitely think it’s worth the risk, at least once we feel strong enough to deal with whatever the responses and reactions and consequences are. We may not always get positive responses, but we surely will grow, feel less of the burden and weight of hiding ourselves, and be free to live our lives our own way. That’s what counts and that’s priceless. Wonderful, thought-provoking post, Julie!
    Caz xx

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    1. I think that’s such an important point, Caz, that we may not always get a positive response but that doesn’t mean we have to stay hidden away. As you say, as we grow and learn as a result of our experiences, we become free to be ourselves. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts – I agree that to be authentically ourselves, as long as we’re not hurting others, is what really matters and is “priceless”.

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  5. Great post! I love your advice to seek out someone we trust and show some of our authentic self a little at a time. I have made significant changes in my life by starting small and building confidence, just like that. It’s a good reminder that we don’t have wake up tomorrow and act or be completely different. We can make small changes which encourage us to keep going!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think that if our tendency is to hide ourselves, the thought of being completely different is scary. I’m a great believer in incremental change, especially with something like revealing our true selves and taking some small, manageable risks to becoming authentic. Many thanks as ever for your comment, Merri – really good to hear your thoughts on this.

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  6. Thank you for sharing!… Happy Valentines Day and may the day, and every day, be all that you wish for it to be and is filled with love and happiness as you live life being you!.. 🙂

    “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realize how seldom they do”.. Eleanor Roosevelt

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    1. I can imagine that it would be difficult to be authentic in such an environment – what you’re doing sounds great though and I wish you the best of luck in your journey. Many thanks for your comment.

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