Good relationships provide us with intimacy where we feel free to express ourselves and in which we feel understood, validated and cared for. Decades of research show that intimate human relationships help us flourish. In such relationships we feel safe to get to know ourselves and explore behind the mask that we may be wearing. Authentic relationships bring out the best in ourselves. When we are truly valued and accepted for who we are, we aspire to be more than we are. Professor Stephen Joseph, author of Authentic: How to be Yourself and Why it Matters, provides a quiz for us to reflect if we feel that we are in an authentic relationship.
In an authentic relationship you will feel no need to be ashamed of yourself and all your physical and emotional scars, but you will feel accepted for who you are. Intimacy is part of a loving relationship for most people. For each of the following, tick whether or not this is how you feel in your relationship.
Alive Yes [ ] No [ ]
that you are valued Yes [ ] No [ ]
that you have been seen for who you are Yes [ ] No [ ]
that you are OK to be you Yes [ ] No [ ]
that you are cared for Yes [ ] No [ ]
that you are deeply connected Yes [ ] No [ ]
that you are desirable Yes [ ] No [ ]
that you are loved Yes [ ] No [ ]
If most of of your answers are yes, then it sounds like your relationship has the essential ingredients of authenticity for you. If most of your answers are no it may be that you need to think about what steps you might take to develop authenticity in your relationship. To find out more: www.authenticityformula.com
Stephen Joseph is a professor of psychology, health and social care at the University of Nottingham, UK, where he is co-director of the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth and an honorary consultant psychologist in psychotherapy. He has published more than two hundred academic papers, seven academic books and is the author of What Doesn’t Kill Us (Piatkus). He is often asked to comment in the media on topical events relating to his work
The hunger for authenticity guides us throughout our lives. People strive for joined-up living, where on the one hand what they say and do reflects what they think and feel, and on the other what they think and feel reflects who they are.
Stephen Joseph has pioneered developments in research into authenticity, drawing on the solid science of positive psychology to develop what has become one of the gold-standard tests for assessing authenticity. His and others' findings reveal that when people are in relationships in which they feel accepted, understood and valued, they drop their defences. They naturally begin to examine themselves psychologically, accommodate new information and live more authentically. What's more, the latest studies reveal that it is authenticity that leads to true happiness.
In Authentic, Stephen Joseph presents his fresh and inspiring perspective on the psychology of authenticity alongside practical advice and exercises for the reader. Drawing on the wisdom of existential philosophers, the insights and research of psychologists, and case studies from his own and others' clinical experiences, he shows how authenticity is the foundation of human flourishing - as well as how the ideas relate to debates about the importance of happiness.