More and more lately I hear people talking about being "authentic." I'm not sure if it has become a buzz word, or if people are really craving honesty and the kind of connection that can come when two people are authentic with each other.

I suspect that many people have become aware of the roles they play, the masks they wear. They worry that if they were really themselves, friends or coworkers wouldn't approve of them. They pretend to be some way that they think will be acceptable. Or they avoid being vulnerable by hiding their "real self" behind behavior that isn't really honest.

Think about it for a minute. When people you are in relationships with are not authentic with you, how do you feel? Most people feel pretty angry about it, especially if the relationship is a close one. You may feel betrayed because they haven't told you the truth, or confused about why they ae lying.

When people are not honest with you, it damages your trust about the relationship.
Sometimes we don't "catch" people in a lie, but we know from the tension in the air that something isn't right. Just as you can walk into a room and feel tension when people aren't getting along, you can also sense when something isn't quite right with what you are being told. Most of us have a nonverbal way of sensing when things aren't right. We might not always trust it, but we probably should at least check out what our intuition is telling us.

When we aren't authentic with others, they feel it too. When we lie about having something to do so that we can't honor a social invitation, others know it. We really aren't fooling anyone. I wonder what would happen if we said, "I'm really tired and I just want to stay home this weekend," or "I'm out of sorts and don't want to be around anyone right now."

At the heart of not being authentic is the belief that "I'm not good enough," "Others couldn't possibly like the real me," "I don't like myself," or "I don't trust myself (or others)." These beliefs impose limits on our willingness to be authentic.

You CAN change these beliefs. In fact, if you want to be authentic, you must believe in yourself before you will be willing to share yourself genuinely with others. When you do that, you can build trust in the relationship.

(c) 2009 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach, trainer and owner of Inner Resource Center, LLC. She has more than 30 years of experience helping people overcome obstacles, change their lives, and reach goals they had not thought possible using her solution focused approach. She specializes in helping people get unstuck from negative emotions and limiting beliefs that sabotage their happiness. Get additional free tips and challenges for getting unstuck from her Inner Resources report . Or contact her for a free 20 minute consultation at .