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Authentic Leadership

What is authenticity?

By May 23, 2022August 21st, 2022No Comments3 min read

Authenticity is congruence between what we feel inside and what we express to the world.

What are the micro-moments in our every day, when we gloss over something we are thinking or feeling, instead of expressing it?

There could be many reasons why we do that. Here’s a list of some:

• to please others

• to keep peace

• to avoid being judged

• to avoid “looking stupid”

• to avoid being disappointed

• to avoid being rejected

• to make others feel better

Such glossing over, or pushing aside of what we authentically think and feel, has become such a common behavior that we have for a long time, ceased to be conscious of it.

The root of such unconscious behavior lies in experiences of “invalidation”. As children, we suffer multiple moments of invalidation from the people who love us most. Examples of these experiences are such as when a child rejects food that is fed to it because it feels too hot for its tongue, to be told, “it’s not hot at all” by the caregiver, as the caregiver attempts lovingly and insistently to feed it to the child.

Other common experiences of invalidation felt by children could be when they express fear, to be told “there’s nothing to be scared of”.

Or when they cry out for attention and love when they have been wronged during a playground fight, only to be reprimanded by an adult for “acting in the wrong way”.

These micro moments of invalidation throughout our childhood years condition us to invalidate our own thoughts and feelings as we grow up. What we end up learning, and subsequently bring into our adulthoods is the deep notion that “my feelings are wrong”, or “no one will understand me”, “or it’s wrong of me to feel this way”. What ends up happening is that we develop a coping mechanism through the years, that of putting away our feelings instead of expressing them.

All too often, society and people around us, due to their own unconscious conditioning and responses, reinforce the notion that expressing our true feelings will be met by rejection, ridicule or resentment.

And that is how the members of the human race start feeling more and more alone, when numerous of us feel similarly inside.

Authenticity is the congruence of what we feel inside with what we express to the world. Authenticity helps to connect people, break down barriers, because finally the one who is being authentic is voicing out the feelings shared by many inside of themselves. The resonance created by this sharing is what bonds people.

Authenticity connects. For us to bring more authenticity into this world, into our workplaces, our teams, we must learn to re-connect with our own feelings. And then, to have the bravery to express them without fearing reprimand, rejection, ridicule or resentment.

To arrive at authenticity, there are 3 steps you can take:

  1. Be aware of what you are feeling
  2. Be aware of what is holding you back from expressing what you are feeling (e.g. fear of being judged, fear of being misunderstood, or any other fears)
  3. Take a leap of faith and express what you feel anyway

One gains confidence in expressing what we genuinely feel by practicing the steps above in different situations, and observing that the outcome may not pan out as what we had feared or imagined. As we become more confident in expressing our genuine feelings, we will do it more often and eventually being authentic becomes second nature.


Author coachcarrie

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