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People with Feelings of Inauthenticity

I have been thinking about apeople I know with feelings of inauthenticity.

For example I know a woman who thinks of herself as too serious, too much for a relationship.  She thinks she can never find a boyfriend because once she met a man and he learned how sad she was he wouldn’t want to share in her pain, and who could blame him.  On line her twitter persona is “Princess of Candy”.  She posts light flirtatious jokes comparing herself to different kinds of dessert.  But in real life the attention her twitter postings garner put her on an emotional roller coaster ride.  She gets a lot of attention but she feels bad because it is a lie.   They are interested in her as a light tasty snack, if they knew she was a heavy meal they’d run for the hills!

I know a guy who writes for a successful drama show that is all about guilt. The main character is a lovely guy, a surgeon, an admirable figure who cheated on his wife one night, and on this night he witnessed a murder, and as a consequence of this transgression he is being born like a leaf on a river deeper and deeper into a world of evil and deceit. (the bad guys are blackmailing him &c.) The guy, the writer’s problem is that he knows from guilt. Because of some issues in the family of origin that I won’t get into (they’re not really my business) he felt guilty since he was a little kid. So he pitches his boss stories of guilt and he thinks he knows guilt — he knows he knows guilt! he was a guilty three year old for God’s sake! — and they don’t accept them. So he has learned to come up with different stories of guilt and they are getting successful. The new songs of guilt he sings gather him praise. They’re loving him for how well he writes guilt! But he feels like a fake. I know real guilt he thinks, it’s what I felt when I was a little kid. And. This. Is. Not. It. Take back your praise! I don’t deserve it! I am a fraud a fake a thief.

I want to tell my two friends, your guilt over your inauthenticity is every bit as real as the depression you, Candy Princess feel, and the guilt you Guilty About Being Guilty T.V. Writer Feel.  In other words your feelings of inauthenticity are perfectly…authentic.  So in your worries about being real, you are, in fact perfectly real.  And in fact the same thing that makes you depressed about your body and your face although they are perfectly lovely, Candy Princess, also make you depressed about your twitter persona which is also, Perfectly Lovely and Delicious.  And the same childhood drama where you felt you were never good enough for your Family of Origin, Writer of Guilt, are what make you feel your new way of writing guilt is not as real as your long lost feeligns of guilt, when in fact it is perfectly good and nothing to be guilty about At All!

I want to tell that to my friends, but I know I am not the guy to do it. What I really want is for them to tell each other.

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2 thoughts on “People with Feelings of Inauthenticity

  1. One definition of fiction is “telling lies to tell the truth,” and I think that’s often the method in your blog posts. Maybe I’m being your straight man here (in the comedic sense), but I’m okay with that. If it was good enough for George Burns, it’s good enough for me.

    First and most important, about relationships: We’ve all got damage, or at least, everyone I’ve ever known. We’ve all got quirks and areas of insanity. So we shouldn’t seek partners who are sane; instead, we need partners whose insanity is compatible with our own. It’s easiest for people who are close to normal, whatever that is, since most other people (by the very definition of “normal”) are compatible with them. It’s harder for people who are outliers, both for the obvious reason (the numbers are against them) and for idiosyncratic personal reasons. But if they don’t give up, they can still get lucky. It happens.

    Second, as you observed, our personalities have many different sides. We show different sides to different people and in different situations. It’s not being inauthentic. It’s responding sensibly to the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

    Bertrand Russell thought that guilt was a useless emotion, but I think it depends on the situation. Obsessive feelings of guilt about things we can’t change are pretty useless, but moderate guilt feelings can be helpful. They can lead us to correct any wrongs we’ve committed, to avoid committing the same wrongs in the future, and to become better people.

    Achievement in life is a paradoxical thing. People who are perfectly happy with themselves aren’t motivated to do much. The people who push themselves to achieve are those with a lot of damage. They feel as if they’re not good enough and they’ll never be good enough, but they keep trying anyway. It’s sad that they feel bad about themselves, but it’s also lucky because of the good things they accomplish.

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