Boy laughing with book on bench

The Paradox of Authenticity

Who are you, when you boil it all down? How do you act when you are most like you?

Although most people would define authenticity as acting in accordance with your idiosyncratic set of values and qualities, research has shown that people feel most authentic when they conform to a particular set of socially approved qualities, such as being extroverted, emotionally stable, conscientious, intellectual and agreeable.

This is the paradox of authenticity: In order to reap the many of the benefits of feeling authentic, you may have to betray your true nature.

Jennifer Beer in Scientific American

While seeking to be authentic is admirable, what may work against most of us is the suspicion that we don’t like who we are, and worse, that we shouldn’t.

Subject via Prufrock / Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

One thought on “The Paradox of Authenticity”

  1. You must first know what you are before you can be an authentic example of that thing. So authenticity is not a single uncovering, but a life-long. progressive series of uncoverings, like the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

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