Human beings are complex and have many layers to their personalities. It is only natural to express different parts of ourselves in different environments, with different people, in different cultures. This does not mean being inauthentic. It is choosing consciously which parts of us we offer to a situation, person, direction. It comes naturally.
On the other hand, there are times we do something in order to keep up appearances, we do things against ourselves just to please others, we wear masks, we don’t speak and act our truth, we go against our values, our soul’s desires, we pretend. These are all examples of us going against our own nature, examples of us being inauthentic. Perhaps we do this out of a need for love and safety that we haven’t yet found fully in ourselves. Or perhaps it is a means by which we come to know ourselves more deeply. Especially as children and young adults, we may try different behaviours to figure out what feels like us and what doesn’t. The same way we try out different outfits until we find one that fits just right.
When we are not authentic, not only do we direct our energy into doing or being something that we are not, we also spend energy to reject parts of ourselves, to fight our natural way of being. This takes far more energy than simply being ourselves and acting in a way that is respectful to every aspect of our being. If we get into a habit of being inauthentic and we do this regularly, we end up exhausted and may even feel depressed. When we are in harmony with our true selves, there is an ease, a sense of flow, a beautiful, clear simplicity. Meanwhile, being inauthentic takes effort and there is a sense of disconnection. No rejection is more painful that one’s own.
From a young age we learn to adapt to the society we are brought up in, and as children we often renounce the parts of us that are not accepted by those we depend on. We bury them in order to feel safe and loved. We build our life around beliefs that are at times reactions to certain events in our childhood where we lacked the maturity and often the information needed to draw informed conclusions.
In order for us to be whole as adults, we have to work to reintegrate the pieces of us that have been locked deep into our subconscious, bring them into the light with compassion, review our belief system, update it with new information and experiences, accept ourselves fully for all that we are. With maturity and personal growth, we learn to choose which parts of us we share, without disowning the others. We learn to be whole in ourselves, and from a place of oneness, share aspects of who we really are with those we choose to interact with. Once you find love and safety in yourself you are more prepared to let go of external validation because chasing others’ approval and acceptance through being inauthentic comes at too high a cost.