Authenticity, Sincerity, and Humility
Authenticity, Sincerity, and Humility necessarily go together. And they’re prerequisites for genuine loving. You have to know who you are and be willing to “expose” yourself to another to even give yourself the chance for real love.
My experience has taught me that too many folks confuse mutual need for love. Desire for another is not the same as love. Nor is having the need for another’s desire genuine love. To love is to open yourself up to the miracle of life itself and to knowingly and willingly participate in its ongoing evolution. For the secularist, agnostic, or atheist, this means being one with the universe. For the spiritually-minded, this means knowing and “walking with” God, however we conceive of that entity.
The well-defended, mistrusting soul cannot be open to love. Only the authentic, open heart can even see the ever-present opportunities for loving all around us. Authenticity is love’s principal requirement.
Two Types of “False Self”
There are two ways to be fake. One is to be so ashamed of who we really are and so fearful our true selves aren’t really love-worthy that we present a facade. We do this unconsciously because of all the defenses we built up that block our awareness. This is the hallmark of neurosis. The other way to be fake is to consciously engage in the game of “impression management.” We do this when we want something from another and we neither want the other person to know who we really are or what we’re up to. Such conscious deception is the hallmark of character disturbance.
Authenticity is not so much a character trait as it is a state of being. To be authentic, you have to choose to be transparent. Doing so naturally makes you quite vulnerable. But it also opens the door to true intimacy with another. And in this vulnerability and openness, you’re always subject to being hurt, sometimes quite deeply. But it’s in this intimate connection to others and the very flow of life itself that we find both ourselves and meaning.
Loving and Living
When we’re living in genuine love we can feel truly alive. And when we’re preoccupied with our needs and too “attached” to the things and people we think can meet those needs, we become spiritually dead. To love is to abundantly live. And it’s in that kind of living that we find our authentic selves. The “10th Commandment” of character is all about humility and sincerity of heart and purpose. It urges us to be authentic in all that we do, in every moment and situation. Authenticity is the key to genuinely loving and truly living.
HBO’s Vice News taped one of my workshops last week and interviewed me on narcissism. Their feature on the topic should air this evening at 6:30 pm Central (and again at 9:30 pm Central on HBO west). Character Matters will again be live this Sunday evening at 7 pm Eastern time, so I can take phone calls at (718) 717-8296.
Be sure to check out my four books and the many other timely articles on this blog. And my sincere thanks to all those who continue to recommend my books and articles to others. I’ll have more to say on my upcoming book The 10 Commandments of Character soon.
2 thoughts on “Authenticity Makes Love Possible”
(Dr. Simon, :-/ I missed the HBO’s Vice News broadcast – Is it also online so that I can view it?)
When my therapist first mentioned authenticity a few years ago and the fact that my husband wasn’t being authentic in our relationship – I really didn’t understand what she meant. Over the years I have learned what authenticity means. It is something he definitely lacks.
After 41 years of marriage he still couldn’t be open and authentic with me – or with anyone for that matter. Great article – I wish I had understood authenticity and the importance of it decades ago.
Have been mostly exposed to Brene Brown’s work and her research on Whole hearted living which includes authenticity. I was really moved by what you said here. My partner and I have been working hard at showing up, being real and vulnerable with each other. We also participated in one of Dr. John Gottman’s The Art & Science of Love.
It takes GREAT courage to show up. I can honestly say, that our efforts to do so; to attempt to understand and respect each other’s differences as well as communicating our truths, has deepened the love between us 10-fold. We can’t believe how much more we are ENJOYING being in our human coupling.
Your last paragraph in Two Types of False Self, really says it all! Thank you!