Here’s a quote from my book Freedom Without Permission: How to Live Free in a World That Isn’t:
“Keeping it real” isn’t just a matter of facing up to harsh facts. It also includes opening up to the plethora of possibilities that offer us ways of impacting the world in spite of adversity.”
Refusing to pretend that everything is okay is a noble practice, but it’s not a substitute for doing something about the problems we choose to be honest about.
Fewer things are more self-defeating than the practice of equating authenticity solely with the ability to be honest about the things we dislike.
The act of saying “I don’t like X” is no more authentic than the ability to say “I am responsible for how I respond to X.”
Being the kind of person who refuses to put on a smile when unhappy is overrated. How candid we are about what we hate says nothing about how committed we are to what we love. A child can keep it real, but it takes an adult to face those realities and transform them.
Authenticity isn’t just about the ability to express anger and agitation. It’s also about the willingness to accept agency and accountability.
When we only do the former, we’re not keeping it 100%. We’re mailing it in at 50%.