On Authenticity

Authenticity  noun

GENUINENESS, bona fides; legitimacy, legality, validity.

2 RELIABILITY, dependability, trustworthiness, credibility; accuracy, truth, veracity, fidelity.

Authenticity is a word I am hearing a lot of lately. What does it mean to you? Above are the thesaurus versions. Do these ring true from your experience? I think, for me, the strongest word there is Genuineness. I take that to mean being as true to oneself as possible. Not fake. No pretense.

Some other people have discussed authenticity here, here, and here.

The following, from Wikipedia, seems to be as good a definition as any.

In existentialism, authenticity is the degree to which an individual’s actions are congruent with their beliefs and desires, despite external pressures; the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces, pressures, and influences which are very different from, and other than, itself.

The therapy model I use, IFS Therapy, seems to fit in with Authenticity. It is a manner of working with parts of oneself (i.e. parts that are anxious, scared, critical, etc.) in order to become led by one’s highest Self, rather than by the reactions and impulses of these other parts. Now, don’t get me wrong, all parts are welcome, and all parts have a positive intention. However, because they are parts they don’t always have the full complement of tools or knowledge to handle situations.

Self Energy is described by the 8 C words: Calm, Clear, Compassionate, Confident, Connected, Courageous, Creative and Curious. These C words feel like a good place to be, to really BE, to be authentic, not driven or pulled in many directions, not operating under pretense, but really Being OneSelf.

How can one cultivate and express one’s own authenticity? Using IFS, it is a process. It is a practice. It is working with one’s parts over time to understand what they need in order to feel heard and considered, in order to feel trust in Self, in order to let go of the controls of the proverbial bus that is one’s life, and let Self do the driving. Most parts, like dogs, would rather have an Alpha. They feel more secure that way. And Self is meant to be Alpha.

Self is Authentic. By definition, really. Of those C words, Clear seems most relevant to authenticity. To be very Clear of who one really is, and is not, without needing to pretend or act or fit into someone else’s view of who one should be. Clarity.

Here is to more Clarity and more Authenticity. Here is to Self Leadership.




So I’ve recently become a “cancer warrior.” I was diagnosed mid-March. And so I am working on applying all that I know as a therapist. The foundational modality I use, IFS Therapy, focuses on the 8 Cs.

Being diagnosed has taken my need to practice what I preach to another level. Staying calm, keeping a clear thought process, being compassionate with myself and my loved ones, being confident I’ll work through this, staying connected to myself, my people, and Source, being courageous, using a good amount of creativity in the process of learning how to manage and in being life-affirming, and staying curious about every little thing, these are my “works” in this process.

If you also are in the process of working with a body that is not working optimally, I invite you to join me to learn and apply to your situation the good work that IFS is. Plenty of studies have shown that the mind-body connection exists, that positive mental and emotional self-care is tremendously helpful in fostering and encouraging physical health, and that interpersonal support aids as well.

Wellness matters, even when health is in flux.