Authenticity vs. Just Being an A**hole - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

Authenticity vs. Just Being an A**hole

Brutal honesty is not a tool to be taken lightly. Authenticity in the form of brutal honesty about someone else is often just an act of passive aggression, defense mechanism, a cover for emotional abuse… And often an excuse or justification for veiled personal attack. We may in fact be fooling ourselves that we love the honesty when in fact, what we love is the brutality. Brutality saves us from feeling vulnerable and powerless. It is a common reaction to feeling hurt in some way. We need to be aware of whether we are acting in our own best interests or theirs so that we can make a conscious decision about whether or not sharing our opinion is in fact in alignment with the highest good in the scenario we find ourselves in. And if it is, how to deliver the opinion that is in our own best interest and is not necessarily theirs. This takes a hell of a lot of honesty with ourselves. It’s very tempting for us to be brutally honest in the name of authenticity with someone and to tell ourselves that it is for their own good, when in fact it’s purely selfish on our parts.
Speaking of which, this pattern of brutal honesty is quite common when we have grown up in highly moral or hypercritical households, where our parents believed that criticism was a motivator for change. In these households, we grew up with the idea that something is wrong with us and so we are very hard on ourselves to be perfect so we can be accepted. Our wires became crossed to the degree that we now have an unconscious belief that what feels bad is good for us and what feels good is bad for us. Which is what happens when people hurt our feelings or do things that cause us pain and then tell us that it’s for our own good. We learn that this is the correct way to love, when it is not. When we love people in this way, it is not love… it is abuse. It also reinforces the programming ‘something is wrong with you or bad about you and you need to be fixed’.
There is no magic formula for sharing opinions. So much of this boils down to being emotionally attuned enough to know if or when you should or shouldn’t. When it comes to authenticity, we need to consider the receptivity of the other party. Did they solicit our truth? Do they want our opinion or are we imposing it on them? Is it going to benefit them or do them harm? Perhaps we simply want to be authentic because we feel inhibited and therefore feel the need to express ourselves. When this is the case, we need to ask ourselves, is there another way I could express myself or is being authentic for the sake of feeling a sense of release or inner freedom worth hurting someone else? The answer may be yes for you. There is no right or wrong answer to that. But we have to be honest about the fact that we are choosing in that moment between us and them and this polarization is most likely going to create conflict. Question whether being brutally honest is necessary… Ask yourself, what is my genuine intention for telling them this? Is it for their good or my own good? If it is necessary to speak your mind, it is possible to do so without causing injury to another person. It is all about the delivery. When we tell someone something out of love and care for them, it has an entirely different delivery than when we tell someone something for any other reason. Anyone can tell the difference. Criticism is a form of expression that honesty takes when we do not understand what it means to be genuinely authentic. For this reason, I want you to watch my YouTube video titled: Criticism (How To Give and Take Feedback).
As people, we all judge. This is how the ego navigates through the world. When the ego judges, it gets to survive. It is in that moment superior, justified, right and good. But the nasty side effect is that by being those things, it makes the other person inferior, unjustified, wrong or bad.
When we form negative opinions or draw negative conclusions about someone and then consider these judgments as truths about them, we become hard energetically. We lose our capacity to see different perspectives. We are closed-minded and closed hearted. We invite a boatload of conflict into our lives as well. This serves no one. It is critical that we practice becoming softer in our minds and hearts and to do this, we can have opinions, we simply have to hold them loosely enough that we can let go of them if they are no longer useful. We need to seek to understand and be understood rather than to disagree or assert our opinion. We need to question every single truth that we hold so that we can walk through the world with the kind of flexibility that allows higher truths to reveal themselves to us. You cannot stop yourself from judging. What you can do is to recognize when you are judging and not become attached to these judgments by believing them fully. They are observations that may or may not be direct reflections of truth. In fact, judgments of other people are so often simply projections cast forth from our subconscious mind that they rarely reflect truth. This is especially true if our projection takes the form of “I know what is best for you”, which it so often does when we are judging other people. Ultimately, though we can have opinions, we do not know what is best for someone else. We only know what is best for ourselves. To understand how this projection mechanism occurs, watch my video on YouTube titled “Projection (Understanding the Psychology of Projecting)”. The heart of being authentic is being vulnerable. The reason we aren’t authentic is because we are afraid that we will be rejected, unloved, not received etc. There is rarely anything vulnerable about judgment or brutal honesty. To be authentic is to express and own up to one’s own experience. We express them as if they are not absolute truth for anything except for our own experience. For example, lets say that someone ran into your car. You could think it’s authentic to express “you know what, you’re just too self centered to pay attention to anyone except yourself and where you want to go.” But this is actually defense, which is the opposite of authenticity. Being authentic might look something more like this… “That was really scary, it made me feel like I was invisible and didn’t matter.” One of the best ways to figure out how to express authentically is to ask yourself, what is the opposite of being defense in this scenario? Whatever you are trying to defend is in fact the vulnerability that you need to be authentic about.
I want you to think for a minute about what kind of world you want to create here on earth. The world is only ever a reflection of ourselves. So, do you want a brutal world? If so, be brutally honest. Do you want a tender world? If so, be tenderly honest. In my opinion, this world is harsh enough and it is not conducive to health and wellbeing. The time has come for a much greater level of sensitivity, empathy, love and understanding. We need to care for other people’s hearts by acknowledging the amount of influence and affect we have on them. This is a precious gift, for our words to matter to others. Emotions are the core of every relationship. And we are in an emotional dark age. To wake up from this emotional Dark Age, we must learn how to caretake eachother’s emotions. This is especially true when we are being honest or truthful about things that do not feel good to hear. For this reason, I want you to watch my YouTube video titled: “Emotional Wake Up Call”.
A great game to play with yourself relative to sharing things that can hurt others is to pretend to be them, on the other side of yourself. Completely put yourself in their shoes in this scenario and see how it would make you feel. You may then decide to either to not express your opinion or you may decide to alter your delivery.
For the sake of your own expansion in the form of self-discovery, I want you to ask yourself, why do I believe that honesty must include brutality? And, that to be less than brutal in my honesty is to somehow be less honest or authentic?
You may find that it is really your vulnerability, hurt or anger that you want to be directly honest about but don’t feel like you can and so you are being inauthentic in the form of passive aggression by covertly expressing those emotions under the cloak of an honest opinion about someone else. Sometimes, difficult things must be said, things that don’t feel good to hear. But they can be said with discretion, empathy, tact and kindness without there being any limit to your freedom of expression and without limiting your authenticity.
And remember, if a voice isn’t delivering a message in a loving way, whether that voice is outside you or inside your own head, it is not speaking for your specific benefit.


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