Updated: Feb 22, 2021
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. – Brene Brown
An interesting phenomenon I've noticed since transitioning is that people tend to open up to me. I've come to appreciate that because it means they view me as a “safe” person to talk to. When I share my story, others open up and share their secrets as well. I’ve had people disclose affairs and addictions and even had several gay people come out to me who had never shared that part of themselves before. I believe the reason for this is that authenticity breeds authenticity. When someone opens up and shares their vulnerabilities, it endears them to us and makes us want to respond in kind. Reciprocating vulnerability can be a healthy exercise that can lead to strong emotional bonds.
Authenticity requires us to know ourselves and to continually meet ourselves again and again as we transform throughout our lives. -Britta Green
A hallmark of authenticity is being transparent. Transparency is defined as, "free from pretense or deceit, easily detected or seen through, readily understood and characterized by visibility or accessibility." I truly strive to be as authentic and transparent as possible but I haven't always been that way. When I was living as a male, I felt fake and had a harder time empathizing with others. There is a lot of pressure to be perfect both in the church and in society and it is extremely harmful! I desperately didn't want to be one of those people that makes others uncomfortable by over-sharing so I carefully guarded my secrets.
What I didn't realize is that when you try to shut off part of yourself, you almost always end up shutting off parts that you WANT to share. That's why being vulnerable breeds authenticity and why it takes so much courage and trust in others. I regret that I didn't trust my friends and my community sooner to accept me for who I really am.
Now, as my spouse can tell you, I can't hide ANYTHING! I tend to be brutally honest and willing to open up to others and look forward to others opening up to me as well. I raise a glass to anyone who has the strength to be authentic. May we all strive to live our best lives and be authentic to who we really are.