The Role of Authenticity
The Role of Authenticity in Your Health & Well-Being
Authenticity has become quite the buzzword over the last few years — and for good reason! As more and more folks took a break from what they had been doing for years, we all came home, and not just to our physical habitats, but to a place within. We remembered something about ourselves that had been lost in the hustle and rush of modern day. We remembered who we really are.
Your authenticity is not some nebulous idea, even when it gets clouded in social media platitudes and trends… It’s quite simply a shedding of what you think you should be and a remembrance of who you really are. Beyond the “shoulds,” past the roles we play, and underneath all the stories and beliefs you’ve taken on over the years. You in your simplest form: free to express yourself and be as you are.
A key indicator of this authenticity is the confidence to use your voice — and I mean really use it. When was the last time you let your voice fully be heard? Forgetting what the neighbors might think or the people downstairs… How often do you truly let it all out?
This idea of your voice as an indicator to authenticity brings us into the world of emotional release and why your authenticity is a massive indicator of your health and wellness. As we’ve discussed, the body keeps track of repressed emotions even when the mind has moved on (more on that here). The intricate network of fascia that surrounds your organs from head to toe acts like a sponge noting and absorbing the experiences you have, with emotional experiences leaving an especially lasting imprint.
How is authenticity tied to our health and wellness?
To illustrate this point, we can time travel back to when you were a kid. Up until the age of 7, you remain in a state of awe and wonder, looking at the world for what it is. You laugh when you want to laugh, cry when it’s time to cry, and freely express that which moves through you.
Children in this time frame are in a state of wonder and pure presence where they take in their experience of the world without any egoic judgments or limitations. As children grow older, their ego comes online, and they begin to emotionally repress themselves to survive in their household and tribe. This emotional repression happens so that children can sacrifice their authenticity for survivability, leading to the loss of their unfiltered expression.
This often happens without any malintent. Children simply adapt as they get older and become more conscious of the world around them. In fact, this expansion of awareness is a good thing! This growing awareness leads to continued formation of personality, learning and evolving throughout our experiences, and increasing our knowledge base. However, it comes at the cost of this thing we call authenticity: your unfiltered expression.
In our attempt to survive, we strive to be accepted by our tribe (a normal tendency as the communal beings that we are) and as a result we adapt ourselves and our personality to fit into the world around us. As people get older, they continue to normalize their behavior for survivability, leading to a reduction in authenticity, as they learn to only show parts of themselves that are lovable and acceptable. High school rolls around and we find ourselves competing for social acceptance, wanting to be “cool” and have lots of friends. Although the intention may be pure, we fall prey to sacrificing our truest expression for the sake of fitting in. If authenticity were a unit of measurement, it falls way down while social approval goes up. The more we pretzel ourselves into boxes and labels, the more we lose the essence of who we are. Why? Because as humans we are multidimensional, complex beings that are built for change and evolution. Our fullest expressed experience is not meant to be stifled into what is “acceptable” or “normal.”
What are known as “coping mechanisms” are what I would also call emotional repression. As someone continues to repress that which needs to be felt, they come up with ways to avoid the pain. As soon as someone finds a quiet moment, they fill it with scrolling or TV. The second an emotional experience begins to resurface, the body protects itself by staying in the head, creating its own safety in the mind. You find yourself using logic and reasoning to stay calm and avoid experiencing the depth of emotions stored in the body.
This pattern of repression can lead to the development of compensatory behaviors, such as anxiety, addiction, and compulsions, which serve as mechanisms to cope with repressed emotions. In place of our authentic selves, we develop a series of patterns and behaviors that keep us safe and secure in knowing that we are accepted by others. When your authentic self feels unwelcome and unsafe to express, you find ways to mute your voice and your personality or interests. This tuning down of your authentic self is an emotional experience, it is felt by the body even if the mind isn’t willing to recognize it. People go on for years and years slowly but surely stifling their sense of self while the body keeps track of each ignored experience.
When authenticity is sacrificed
At some point, the body begins to set off alarms in the form of symptoms and repeated patterns of experience. Spanning from physical and emotional pain to relational friction, the body will find ways to communicate that it’s time to look beneath the surface. This is the time where months or years or even decades of emotional repression will manifest as physical ailments because the body has taken on the load which the mind refuses to address. The ego continues to drive until the tidal wave of repressed experiences finally breaks free.
When the body is finally given a chance to release its repressed emotions, oftentimes we see significant, if not total, elimination of physical ailments. Entire emotional patterns are revealed and we feel free to express what has been muted for years. Our voice, our colorful true self, and our expression comes back online to show us that it is safe to be seen and heard. Why? Because true safety occurs in a body that is given permission to feel deeply what it experiences.
A return to authenticity and expression
Authenticity is a choice that allows us to create true, meaningful connections not only with ourselves, but with our community and loved ones. By seeing and understanding ourselves fully, we allow ourselves to be fully seen and understood by others.
That which is created within will be reflected from with-out. Your authenticity is the key to freedom of expression — not just of your personality and vibrant self, but of your emotional experiences which are meant to be alchemized and felt deeply so they may be released.
Childlike wonder is a magnificent reminder of our capacity to live authentic, fully expressed lives. As children we see the world for what it is without needing to label or define it. We can appreciate a tree for what it is. We observe animals for who they are. And we experience play and fun and interaction fully — allowing ourselves to cry when we get hurt, laugh when our friend tells a joke, and sing when we feel the fire in our belly to sing! Children are authentic because they haven’t allowed the world to tell them who they are quite yet.
Our power as conscious, aware adults is to know that we can take our power back and reignite the wisdom we’ve always known — the wisdom that is and has always been innate: To be the free, fully expressed beings that we came here to be.