What Causes Us to Live Our Lives in Inauthentic Ways?

Welcome to Module #2 of the coaching program on  


“Focus on Authenticity.” 



Why is it hard to be authentic?  To begin to answer this question, you are 

going to explore the influences in your life that may not conducive to being

truly authentic.


Activity #1 – “What Causes Us to Be Inauthentic”


Read the summary below on “What Causes Us to Be Inauthentic” and

take notes.  What resonates with you most and answer questions below?


There are three major influences that cause us to live our lives in

inauthentic ways. 


They are:

#1 Influence – People

First, the people around us (family and friends) don’t teach us to be

authentic.  They do not tell us what it means to be authentic or why it’s

necessary.  They want us to ‘fit in’ so we can be accepted by society.

Second, in most families—even “normal functioning” ones—family

members play specific roles based on years of unconscious thoughts,

feelings, and behaviors within the family unit.

Third, given that we all need the love, approval, and acceptance of family

members and friends, we let the expectations of others influence who we

are, how we act, what we do, and how we think.


#2 Influence – Culture

Our society (school and the media) doesn’t encourage us to “spread our

wings” and express ourselves in a real way.

‘Schools’ – Educational systems don’t encourage people to really think for

themselves or express emotions.  Instead, students are taught to follow

rules, absorb information, and adhere to social norms.  

‘The Media’ – Most of what the media feeds us is superficial and filled with

negative messages about what’s wrong with everything and everyone in

the world.  When you consider how many hours of television the average person

watches each week, that’s a lot of exposure to messages that tell us that

success and happiness can only be achieved by embracing what’s

popular and fashionable.  


#3 Influence - Ourselves 

Finally, we keep ourself  from being authentic.  This might sound

contradictory but each of us has an internal critic constantly telling us that

who we are isn’t good enough.  Whether you want to try something new or

open up to someone else, your critic is right there to tell you not to do it.  


Your critic then quickly points out your weaknesses and reminds you of

how you will likely fail and embarrass yourself if you take this course of



Your critic isn’t interested in you succeeding, but only in maintaining the

‘status quo.  The critic pretends it is there to protect us,

but its only desire is to keep us small. That’s why we end up allowing our

minds to believe what our critic says such as:


  • “You can’t do that.
  • “Who do you think you are?"
  • “Everyone will laugh at you if you do that.”
  • “Remember the last time you tried something like that and what a mess you made?”
  • “Why do you always say and do such stupid things?”
  • “You really don’t have what it takes.”


These accusatory statements lead to doubt and self-imposed limitations. 

And being critical of yourself stymies you from being more authentic.  


When we spend so much mental and emotional energy believing what our

critic tells us about not measuring up, how can we ever become more



 *          *          *

Activity #2: “You should…”

Your ability to be yourself and live a more authentic life is directly related

to your awareness of when and how you’re being inauthentic.


This next activity will help you see another influence that may be keeping

you from stepping into your own authenticity.  


          *          *


Make a list of the things you and other people have said that you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing, saying, or being in your life.

Here are some examples:    

  • “You should get more sleep.”
  • “You should eat healthier.”
  • “You should settle down and get married.”
  • “You shouldn’t wear that.”
  • “You should spend less time watching television.”
  • “You shouldn’t say that – you might make someone mad.”
  • “You should stop get a “real” job.”
  • “You should go to college.”


*          *          *


When others try to change us, this reinforces our feelings of inadequacy. 

When we feel inadequate, we aren’t going to try to be more authentic.

We’re going to try to fit in – to get along.


The influences of people and society can make it difficult for you to do and

say what is true for you.  Even your own personal issues can stop you

from being, doing, and saying what is true.  


If you want to live more authentically, you have first to become aware of

and take full responsibility for the influence of other people, culture, and

even your own personal view of yourself.

Persona vs Character