|"Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is."|
There are many reasons why we try to hide who we are. We say yes when we really mean no so that we do not disappoint people, or through fear of being disliked. We go along with our spouse’s plans to see the latest football game at the stadium or chick flick at the movies even though we can’t stand them because we do not want to ‘rock the boat’ in our relationship. We see a total disaster looming on a project at work but don’t dare speak up for fear of being ridiculed or seen as too bossy, unfeminine, weak, or scared.
All of these examples of inauthentic living might not seem like a big deal, but if you find yourself constantly behaving like this all day, every day, not being authentic can soon take its toll on your mental and physical health. You might think you are “getting away with it” or “faking it ‘til you make it”, but there are many emotional and even physical health-related consequences of living an inauthentic life.
The Emotional Consequences of Not Being AuthenticThe emotional consequences of leading an inauthentic life include:
- Low self-esteem - Feelings of not being appreciated, loved or valued for who you are.
- Low self-confidence - Feelings of “not being good enough” to be yourself.
- Low self-worth - Feeling like you are a fraud or don’t deserve your good fortune, also known as “impostor syndrome.”
- Keeping up appearances even if you are in serious trouble - Thinking you always have to play a role to keep people happy or fulfill certain expectations; living behind a mask for fear of what others will think of you.
- Feeling like a caged tiger - As your inauthentic behaviors increase, so too can your feelings of “being trapped” in a relationship or certain role, such as the perfect wife, the dutiful son, the successful businessman.
- Low self-respect - You will not be able to respect yourself, let alone earn the respect of others if you don’t actively try to be truthful and live your best life. You may think you are fooling people, but most will sense you are being insincere or a fraud in some way.
- Low self-regard - Always trying to make others happy, while feeling miserable yourself. You go along with things for the sake of a quiet life. You don’t allow yourself to say no and to mean it.
The Physical Consequences of Not Being AuthenticAll of these emotional consequences will usually be accompanied by physical changes in the body, which over time can lead to serious health issues. The physical consequences of living an inauthentic life include:
- Lack of self-worth and therefore of good self-care
- High blood pressure
- Jaw pain from grinding your teeth
- Lowered immunity, so you are less able to fight off illnesses like colds
Now that we have talked about the ways in which being inauthentic can affect our body, mind and spirit, you might recognize one or more of these as consequences you’ve had to deal with, or physical symptoms you’ve been trying to relieve with medication or unhealthy strategies - like drinking too much alcohol or eating too much. If any of these consequences resonate with you, it is time to take steps to get back on track to lead a more authentic life.