The shadow side of authenticity

by | Jul 17, 2013 | Uncategorized

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

But what if someone doesn’t like who we REALLY are?  What if by being true to ourselves we trigger all their insecurities about their inauthenticity and they get nasty about it?  What if our families don’t recognise us when we start being true to ourselves and get upset by the change?  What if we voice our heartfelt and authentic opinions, and someone else voices their own heartfelt and authentic opinions and it’s different to ours?

Can you handle it?

You see, when we start listening to our inner wisdom, and living our lives in accordance with our heart’s desires, we’re putting our ‘real’ selves out in the world, and that can feel really (really) vulnerable.

Maybe we can handle criticism and conflict when we’re playing it safe and acting the way we feel we’re ‘supposed’ to act. But when we take full responsibility for the way we are in the world, and someone doesn’t like it, well, ouch.  That can hurt (particularly if you’re a highly sensitive person).

And let’s face it, we live in a world made up of millions of different people, with millions of different perspectives and opinions.  Chances are we’re going to meet someone who doesn’t like or agree with who we are or what we’re doing.

So if we’re going to live authentically in this world, we need to make room for feeling vulnerable.  And for feeling open and raw and exposed to the world.  And we need to make room for any emotions that may arise when we live this way, like feeling uncomfortable and anxious.

I’m not saying that these feelings are inevitable, and I’m definitely not trying to ward you off living an authentic life (on the contrary).  What I am saying is that when we start to live a heartfelt life, it can feel liberating and beautiful and wonderful, AND it can also feel scary and vulnerable and raw.

Can you allow these feelings to be there?  To fully feel the fear and the hurt and the vulnerability, without shying away from them, and without covering up your true self?

Can you acknowledge the difficult emotion (“ahhh…. this is anxiety”) and welcome it in?

Can you allow it to be present (because it already is), and sit in the uncomfortableness?

Can you listen to it’s message and allow it to come and go in it’s own time?

Can you feel this way AND live the authentic life anyway?

When I sit quietly with these questions, the answer I get is a quiet but confident ‘yes.’

What answer do you hear?  I’d love to hear the answer in the comments below.



  1. Dom

    Aloha Lauren
    Thank you again what a beautiful message that resounded with me.. I heard a very strong “yes”. Mahalo x

  2. Emma

    Hi Lauren,

    Ahhh, synchronicity! I spent the first 12 years of my working life as a Psychologist – a job I loved (yes I am a HSP too!), then after much soul searching after the birth of my second child, took a drastic career change to that of yoga and meditation teacher. Although I’ll always teach yoga, again, after many years of research, yesterday I found the training course to lead me into my next career. However, it is not even slightly mainstream so I have a lot of fear surrounding showing my authentic self to my family and anyone other than my closest few friends. I’m nervous about how it will unfold, but I have a deep sense of ‘knowing’ that it’ll be fine and those that are closed and don’t accept it will just have to get over themselves!

    Thanks Lauren,

  3. Michelle

    I love this article – passed it on to my mum even. Yes, saying out loud our own thoughts, feelings and opinions is a bit scary at times but well worth it as then we can always look in the mirror (or within ourselves) and “feel good” about who we are. Look at youths who come out of the closet – sure they deal with lots of biggotry but aren’t they, at heart, far more at peace than the popular football player who’d rather be in a play than on the field? I think so. I am me almost all of the time. I get lots of flak from it (pretty much all work related) but if I change who I am for them, what am I left with? This doesn’t mean to say I am unwilling to listen to constructive criticism, as I realize I am not the most patient of people, however, I am up front with who I am and I don’t expect any more than what I give. And I have noticed over the years that in my own way (a not sappy, cheesy, touchy feely way) I am more generous, open and loving than others because I no longer try to be someone I am not. Now, just need to work on relaxation!!

  4. Fuyuko Toyota

    Thank you Lauren voicing out. When I discovered and begun to live “Being who you are is enough” – living from authentic self….I continue to discover mix bag responses and experiences unfolding. Life is never stale! I love the part of the Marian Williamson’s famous words…”And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same” (see below for full version)
    So by living authentic we give permission to others do the same…as you say it may trigger others insecurity and inauthenticity etc.
    Fear is opposite of Love. Love has no opposite. I chose to live from Love!

    Lauren, thank you for your wonderful topic and bringing the opposite (Vikalpa) of Authenticity.

    Marianne Williamson’s quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Free meditations, eBooks + more

You have Successfully Subscribed!


A Daily Dose of Bliss


Embodied Rest


Sign up to get the keys to the Inner Wisdom Library (free meditations, eBooks and more)

Simple Rituals for Letting Go

Are you ready to let go of something that is no longer serving you? Ritual can be a  powerful way to do this. I like letting go rituals that are simple. Here are some ideas: Write down what you would like to release (a list, a story, a letter, a poem, a drawing or a...

read more

What Do You Desire?

I’ve been consciously creating a life of meaning and purpose for myself and supporting others on their paths for many years. However it wasn’t until I met Dr Richard Miller and began the journey into iRest Yoga Nidra that I heard the term Heartfelt Desires, and fully...

read more

The Science of Willpower

If you’ve ever tried to let go of an old habit, or create a new one, you’ve no doubt found how challenging it can be.   I’ve previously written about the six steps to changing a habit - they include clarity, noticing, self compassion, acting consciously,...

read more


Sign up to stay in touch +
access the Inner Wisdom Library

 free meditations, eBooks + more for wholehearted living


Join me


Access meditations, eBooks and more
in the Inner Wisdom Library.

It's yours.  For free.


Start Your Journey


Sign up to my growing collection of meditations, eBooks and more
in the Inner Wisdom Library

It's yours. For free.

Thank you