The Struggle To Be Authentic

An excerpt from The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W.


“Sometimes, when we push the system, it pushes back.  The pushback can be everything from eye rolls and whispers to relationship struggles and feelings of isolation.  There can also be cruel and shaming responses to our authentic voices.  In my research on authenticity and shame, I found that speaking out is a major shame trigger for women.  Here’s how the research participants described the struggle to be authentic:

  • Don’t make people feel uncomfortable but be honest.

  • Don’t upset anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings but say what’s on your mind.

  • Sound informed and educated but not like a know-it-all.

  • Don’t say anything unpopular or controversial but have the courage to disagree with the crowd.”


This section stuck in my head this week.  There is such a gap between what we’re supposed to do and what feels right.  It is in that gap that I feel least like my authentic self.

Do you find yourself striving to protect the comfort of others while sacrificing your own?

Do you protect the feelings of your friends and loved ones, meanwhile feeling like there is no room in those relationships to express your needs?

Do you feel like you have to know all the answers and then experience judgment when you try to help?

Do you feel pressure to be different but not too different?

You’re not the only one!  Take heart; I’m with you and so are lots of others.  This week I am practicing being my authentic self.  I am striving to lean into my own truth.  I challenge you to join me.