The Inauthentic Self

While there are many definitions of authenticity when it comes to the psychological literature on the authentic self, the one that seems to be taking hold is that authenticity (as a state) occurs in the times you are living according to your closely held values.

Inauthenticity, then, is when you are unable to express your values, or your actions are in discord with your values.

What stood out to me in this research about ‘authentic selves’ are the descriptions of the inauthentic self. Those descriptions describe better my experience with work burnout than the burnout literature. And, as it turns out, there are several studies highlighting the adverse effects inauthenticity can have on job satisfaction.

There looks to be a lot of research on authenticity at work. Presumably because the time you are at your job can involve significant moments when your job is not aligned with your values.

Most of these studies involve workers who do a lot of emotional labor. Service workers of various types. When you’re not happy and have to be fake happy for your work, that can take an emotional toll. When you’re a health care worker and you have to help people manage their emotions, that can be exhausting. Or, when you have to manage your own emotions because the way you really feel is inappropriate for the social expectations of the workplace environment, it can drain you.

Managing your emotions can be psychically and emotionally exhausting, and if you’re not finding a way to replenish that emotional well, then the exhaustion can lead to anxiety and depression.

So, I’ll try this insight on for size for a few days. My goal is still to use this seven day stretch to consider my most important desire. One step is probably paying attention to what kind of emotion management I find myself doing at work.

(100 Days of Blogging: Post 062 of 100)

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