Being Authentic

By Dina Evan, PhD


We live in a world where people tell us what they think we want to hear because they want to avoid discomfort or conflict. We do that to ourselves as well; however, it comes with a great cost to our self-esteem, because the moment we withhold a truth we also are saying we don’t trust our core self, our values, or our true beliefs.

We can convince ourselves withholding the truth is better than having a conflict — but not being real creates more distance and conflict. Truth also gets withheld when others are trying to appease us to get something they need, as in the case of political elected officials. So much of this permeates our connections that these habits soon become who we are, and we realize we are not even being who we honestly are, or sharing what we honestly think a great deal of the time. The problem is we lose the gift of authentic relationship, truly meaningful, real connections with ourselves and others.

How do we change this to create those truly valuable connections in which we can be our authentic selves?


First, we look inside

Ask yourself to begin to monitor when you withhold a truth or choose to lie and are not forthcoming and identify your fear of being real. Then, ask what you think happens when you’re not authentic, because the cost is real. You are depriving yourself of not only being your authentic self, and not showing up in a real way with the people you tell yourself are important in your life, including you!


Be brave and start with a personal inventory to see what fear is creating the withhold and what needs to be changed for you truly be who you are. The truth never has to be delivered with a sledgehammer, it can be delivered with compassion and caring when it’s asked for.

Secondly, make sure the truth you are delivering is asked for. Many of us want to change others because their behavior triggers something inside of us that needs healing. For instance, you are mad at your friend because she spends too much money on clothes. Could that be because you do not have the same advantage? Some people hesitate to speak the truth for fear of hurting other people’s feelings. The best policy is to always deliver your truth from an” I” space.

Instead of saying, “Sometimes I feel like you tell me what you think I want to hear.” Try saying, “I really appreciate it when you are forthcoming and honest with me. It makes me trust you even more.” The word “you” can often make people feel defensive. Talking about your feelings instills safety and openness and does not feel accusatory. Take time to evaluate and become aware of what your values are with reference to being authentic, such as truth telling, honesty, helping others, giving support financially to those with less, honoring the privacy of others, gossip, not needing to be like everyone else. Make sure you are living and acting in alignment with what you say your values are. Don’t be hard on yourself. 


We live in a world where people are constantly lying to sell a product, avoid a conflict or get their way. The more authentic you are, the more others will feel like they can be their authentic selves too.

You can have an idea about those things by thinking about your concept of equality and the way you treat others who are different from you. Make a list of the topics you want to explore by thinking of things you wish other people would do to be more ethical and real. Then ask “Am I doing those things myself?” We live in very trying times and it’s easy to get exhausted and off track — be kind to yourself.

Just take a moment and a breath and ask yourself my favorite question…which is “Am I doing what I came here to do and being who I came here to be?” That will get you right back on track and dancing to the music of your soul work!


Dr. Evan is a marriage, family, child therapist and consciousness counselor. She has presented nationwide seminars and workshops, written several books and created meditation CDs for couples, individual and mental health professionals.    602-571-8228.