Friday’s Big Idea
Today’s Big Idea: Authenticity
The concept of authenticity has become the intense focus of psychological research in recent years. Authenticity theory proposes that a significant number of non-clinical cases of depression and anxiety are the result of a disconnect between the person you are and the person you’re pretending to be.
Researchers have been developing frameworks and instruments for measuring authenticity, and using these to study the connection between it and psychological well-being. While authenticity is difficult to define in an objective and reliable way, early results are revealing. They suggest that “goodness of fit” between a person’s skills and their environment (work and personal) is highly, positively correlated with well being.
The trouble is that many environmental elements push us toward inauthenticity. Advertising often appeals to our anxieties, driving us to cover up what we perceive as unappealing in ourselves and to strive for unattainable levels of wealth or happiness. To live authentically, we need to be conscious of these influences and choose to go in a different direction. This doesn't mean relinquishing ambition. It means admitting where we are now.