We are at our most authentic when we admit who we really are and, instead of expressing it, seek God’s help to make us into who we were designed to be.
One of the great buzz words of our times is ‘authenticity’—we are to be ‘authentic’. We are meant to express ourselves authentically— from “I’m just saying what I feel” to “I just had to walk away from my wife and children—I had to be true to myself.”
Obviously I believe in being honest and genuine, but often ‘authenticity’ is less about being honest and more a justification for doing what we want despite the needs of others around us. It is the great whitewash agent of the 21st century, used to excuse much.
Authenticity seems to be premised in the crazy idea that we are somehow innately good, and in being authentic we are somehow peeling back the layers to expose that innate goodness.
But the last thing society wants from me is for me to be authentic! I have many natural impulses and instincts which need to be restrained and rooted out. Self-control needs to be exercised so that life is liveable for those around me!
We are flawed individuals, flawed from the day we were born. We have attitudes and appetites which in no way need expressing, but need restraining. Oscar Wilde understood this, and in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray the portrait of Gray becomes uglier and uglier as Gray himself gives free reign to his expressiveness and his appetites.