“Authenticity” is coming up a lot lately in my work and training. I’ve long held that authenticity is important to me. I don’t like to be asked to join in something that feels inauthentic to me. I have clients who feel the same – at times they don’t want to respond to questions they feel won’t get at what they are trying to explain, or partake in activities if they can’t see where it’s all going. The tricky part is when I feel I am picking up on something “inauthentic” in someone else. Several times in my life and career, I have gotten really riled up, feeling like someone is not being authentic – that they are saying one thing but likely feeling another. What is that?
Gestalt is teaching me to not go to that place of assuming a lack of “authenticity” in someone else; when it comes to human behavior, authenticity is so relative. Rather, I should assume that someone else’s own experience, how that person is acting in any moment, is always authentic for him/her. More instructively, I can take such an opportunity to look closely at myself in relation to that person and then get curious about why my own reaction to this person feels incongruent with what I imagine this other person or I might expect. My thoughts and understanding on this topic aren’t clear yet. Others can feel welcome to weigh in here!