Sensitive and authentic: Can Authenticity Be Selective?

By Cat Robson

Authenticity by planigan412One of my constant internal dialogs  revolves around whether or not I’m being authentic.

Am I compromising myself?

Trying too hard to avoid conflict by keeping silent?

Is my desire to have other people feel understood an authentic part of me or counterproductive?

And just because a trait is authentic, should I nurture it?

Personal development specialist Nacie Carson comments on her blog The Life Uncommon about the potential conflict between being authentic and sensitive.

She writes:

Last week, I came across Evan Hadkin’s awesome post An Introvert’s Authenticity in which he discussed being an introvert in an extrovert’s world.

The post is fabulous, and I recommend you check it out if you haven’t already, but it sparked a question that I’ve never considered before: can you be selectively authentic?

As I was commenting on the post, discussing how I have been consciously working to overcome my sensitivity to disapproval, I realized that perhaps my endeavors are inauthentic.

After all, if I am naturally really sensitive to the disapproval of others (and from my parents’ account I have been since I was a toddler), then that must be an authentic part of who I am.

Therefore, any endeavor to change that element of myself instead of embracing it would be inauthentic – exactly the opposite of my life goal to be authentic.

But on the other hand, my fear of doing something that will earn me disapproval is at times downright silly and unnecessary and has in the past hindered my ability to make decisions even on small things without some one’s approval.

My boyfriend has even made fun of me for the fact I can’t choose what to have for dinner without someone giving me the “OK.”

So just accepting this part of who I am and embracing it is actually compromising my ability to be authentic in other areas of my life, leading me to think it is right for me to work on it and improve it.

From her post Can Authenticity Be Selective?

Nacie Carson is author of the book The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life.

Related site: Highly Sensitive


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