There is a distinction, a difference, between being honest, and being authentic.
And I love this one, because it is both subtle (they seem, in many ways, like they’d be the same thing, right?) and, as so many of the seemingly subtle ones are, to get it has unusual and amazing amounts of power:
Being honest is putting your inner dialogue, aka that little voice in your head, on loudspeaker. It is broadcasting the automatic thoughts (which, to nest a distinction within a distinction, thoughting is distinct from thinking) that blurts into your mind. When you say “Just to be honest here…” mostly that conversation is being directed by your calculating self.
Being authentic, on the other hand, is speaking from your central self. It is sharing and acting from the core of your being. It is the self of creativity, generosity, relatedness, connection, sharedness, vitality, bounty, and freedom.
The notions of keeping it real, or to be authentic, or “Tell it like it is…” are all over the place. We are invited to do so all the time. It becomes a catchphrase. Let it out! However, it is very unclear what is actually being invited by those notions. Even more unclear is what is, eventually, expressed. Is it truly authentic? Not so much… most of the time it’s simply being honest, spewing forth nothing but first thoughts with the calculating self piling on for more. The authentic expression is buried, if it can even emerge at all.*
And to be clear it is not, as it often is with distinctions and philosophical ontology in general, that one is good and the other is necessarily bad. It is to know them distinctly such that you can employ them as appropriate and as you intend. Often it is very useful to be honest, to say what is right there in order to be able to move it aside so you can hear and express your authentic self. The deal is to not just put your little calculating self voice on loudspeaker as though it was you but instead purposefully create “hey, this is my calculating self here for a moment, it wants to speak” so that it can speak and be satisfied and then sit down to let your authentic self step up and be. **
But first you, we, have to learn and to know and hold these two things in distinction. To tell when we’re being truly authentic, and when we’re just “being honest”. With that we begin to gain control over our stories and we begin to better hear, and live by, our central selves. And with that gain all the strength, joy, and peace of mind that comes from it.
* Which is doubly unfortunate, because the more the calculating self is expressed and even lauded the more powerful it’s view and grip on us becomes, and the more we then encourage each other to further indulge our calculating selves, leading to an unproductive cycle…
** Eventually it need not be spoken aloud. You can hear your “honest” calculating self and say to it, inwardly, “Thank you for sharing,” and letting your authentic self come to the fore.