Being authentic in an inauthentic world

Updated: Jul 2

It's Thanksgiving today. An American tradition that I know very little about as a South African :)

The one thing I can detect though is the challenge that many will have returning to their families. Many old themes may come up and if you peruse social media there are many postings on how to navigate delicate discussions/situations that may arise. And when it's all done you can breathe a sigh of relief that you have another year until the next time.

It brought me to thinking about family and the masks we wear around them (and others) and why we feel we must behave in a certain way when we are around them. I am sure there are many who have good and fairly honest relationships with their family members. Sure, they might not mention certain things that they know will initiate a heated discussion around the dinner table. And then there are others who literally have to keep as much of their personal information as secret as possible.

I spent years being one of those who kept everything as secret as possible, skirting around what I was doing and keeping everything very simple and on a need to know basis (mostly they didn't need to know anything!)

I couldn't bear the raised eyebrows and awkward silences if ever I did divulge some of what I was getting up to. I tried telling them I was a hypnotherapist once. That went down like a ton of bricks. They found out I sang sanskrit mantras and released some spiritual albums a few years later. That ended VERY poorly with a 2 year period of my Mother not talking to me.

And yet this was only the tip of the iceberg.....

The masks we wear

According to Madisyn Taylor's "How to catch a liar", there are four different kinds of lies;

White lies

Beneficial lies

Big lies


Intentional lies

Also, there are 4 different kinds of liars.

1. Occasional liars - they try their best to be honest most of the time, and will lie only when pushed into a corner but definitely feel guilty about it. These folk are terrible liars and tend to give themselves away easily.

2. Frequent liars - they tend to lie more regularly than the first group, and while they are not habitual liars they are possibly a little too comfortable with the lies they tell. They are however still aware how their lies can affect them and the people around them.

3. Compulsive liars - will lie impulsively and effortlessly as being inauthentic has become a bit of an addiction/habit.

4. Sociopathic liars - these folks will lie without flinching, knowing full well it could damage the reputation or well being of another person. In fact they tend to get a rush from knowing their lies will do damage to others.

I've had dealings with all of sorts of people in my life and work, some more authentic than others. As I have progressed on my spiritual path, I have had to grow in compassion for all of them, recognising the true source of their need to be inauthentic.

And mostly the source is fear.

Now that we are clear on the types of lies we tell and the types of liars there are out there, where do you find yourself within that mix?

It wasn't until I looked deeply into myself to see how I have been inauthentic, that I could start to forgive others who have lied to me, and who have lied about me.

Some questions I asked myself were:

Do you believe that you are an authentic person?

What does that even mean?

What masks are you placing over your true nature to survive?

How accurate is your social media profile compared to who you really are?

Another word that walks hand in hand with authenticity is vulnerability. And in this day in age, vulnerability is often perceived as a death sentence (other than by a small group of those on a dedicated spiritual path and all the Brene' Brown fans).

So how would you respond to these questions?

1. Can you speak and live your truth even in the face of adversity/judgement/disapproval?

2. How many times have you compromised yourself in order to maintain a status quo, to fit in, to be perceived as acceptable or lovable? Possibly to be safe or to keep someone else safe?

Sacred plant medicine is a wonderful tool for helping us to see what we have become and also to see who we truly are. Ayahuasca in particular (if done correctly) will first show us all those sad, dark, vengeful and judgemental places within ourselves that we were possibly blind to, or choose not to see. And eventually, it will also show us that even deeper down, we are all pure love. It's a challenging path of self discovery though!

Personally, I've had a profound journey with coming to terms with who I am and my own inauthenticity with sacred plant medicine.

Because accepting who I am, meant I would lose all the people closest to me.