Living authentically

What authenticity is

I define authenticity as acting in accordance with one’s genuine wants/desires. These wants and desires are intrinsic and not inherited from an extrinsic source like a mentor, loved one, societal ideal, authority figure, etc. One of the main blockers to living authentically in my opinion is being able to decipher if a desire is intrinsic or inherited from an outside influence. When one lives authentically I think one tends to feel an internal sense of alignment. This feeling makes it easier to block out distractions and influences that suggest you live differently.

My personal relationship with authenticity

What it takes to live authentically

Living authentic sounds great to some but it isn’t always an easy aspiration to attain or live out. I think it requires:


It can be difficult to live authentically without a commitment to improving one’s self-awareness. I define self-awareness as an understanding of one’s thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and desires. Self-awareness allows one to discover the extent to which one is and has been living according to an outside standard and empowers one to live differently if one wants to.


When one cuts the dependency on outside influence and direction to live one’s life, one must primarily rely on the self when making important life decisions and actions. I’d say self-trust is the ability to completely rely on one’s opinion when making decisions or deciding what to think or believe. This way of being doesn’t mean that an individual doesn’t consider outside opinions but that the final decision on what to do or think is from within and not internalized from outside sources. This shift in being can be uncomfortable because one can’t say things like “they told me to do it” and must take responsibility for all actions and consequences. Blockers to this level of self-responsibility can be one’s beliefs around mistakes and regret; these beliefs may be unconscious sources of emotional pain in one’s life which make it difficult to be self-trusting.

Being immune to judgement:

Some people judge the actions and being of others. One’s genuine desires may defy the standards and norms of social groups one belongs to so if one is unable to act in alignment with these impulses because of fear of judgement, one will find it difficult to live authentically.


Conscious and unconscious fears often inhibit one from living authentically. Building the skillset to uncover and dismantle fear may be essential to some to live an authentic life.

Struggling with authenticity sometimes leads to

Personal Dissatisfaction

One may be “successful” according to society’s standard and maybe even be hitting or surpassing a self-defined standard–created in the past–but sometimes a feeling a dissatisfaction may color one’s life if he/she isn’t fulfilling intrinsically generated goals.

Imposter syndrome

I define this term to describe a particular set of thought patterns that one has when operating in a certain environment. One may have thoughts where they don’t think they belong or deserve to be in the environment in question or think they don’t meet the known or unspoken qualifications for something one is doing. These thoughts can manifest for a variety of reasons. I think these thoughts are an internal feedback mechanism letting you know that you aren’t focused on an objective/goal that’s meaningful to you. These thoughts could also be feedback that one doesn’t actually want to be in the imposter-syndrome invoking environment or doesn’t want to conform to the environment’s behavioral expectations. If one has been conforming to a way of being that isn’t authentic, imposter syndrome thoughts may be feedback of internal incongruity.


If one isn’t primarily living according to his or hers genuine desires there’s a chance that that individual is fulfilling the desires of others over his/hers own. Some byproducts of this are burnout, personal dissatisfaction, and the inability to make sustained progress on personal goals.


The need to have an outside force—typically in the form of someone’s opinion—validate that what we think, are doing, or want to do is ok and the right thing for us. This way of being sometimes suggests that we don’t act on our own opinion without it first being validated. Someone with validation seeking tendencies is at risk of constantly squashing his or her desires since it’s possible that outside entities may never agree that his or hers personal desires should be acted upon.

How I can help

For more read about my approach for addressing psychological issues

I’ll help you uncover and challenge your thinking patterns, beliefs, and world views so you can clarify why you behave the way you do and what may be influencing you. That awareness helps give you the space to consider what your true inner desires may be. If you’ve rarely lived life according to your own internal compass you may find it difficult to know what you want but the self-inquiry process will aid your efforts in figuring that out. This self-inquiry process will also help you identify and dismantle the beliefs that prevent you from trusting yourself and make you sensitive to judgement.

Authenticity thought leadership

Authenticity in media

Below are things I’ve found in the media that either showcase what it’s like to be authentic or how external influences can intentionally or unintentionally deter one from being authentic.

I think the movie Dead Poet’s Society is an entertaining depiction of deprogramming yourself from external rules and ways of being to follow what you genuinely want to pursue despite disapproval from others.

The Century of the Self (Full Documentary) documentary provides a detailed look into how businesses initially used marketing and advertising to influence civilians to pursue and buy things they probably wouldn’t have cared for without marketing and advertising influence. I talk more about the documentary and the self-awareness it can help you build in this post
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