Everyone wants to be authentic. You want to be true to yourself, not a slavish follower of social expectations. You want to “live your best life,” pursuing your particular desires, rather than falling in line with whatever everyone else thinks happiness requires. Studies have even shown that feelings of authenticity can go hand in hand with numerous psychological and social benefits: higher self-esteem, greater well-being, better romantic relationships and enhanced work performance.
But authenticity is a slippery thing. Although most people would define authenticity as acting in accordance with your idiosyncratic set of values and qualities, research has shown that people feel most authentic when they conform to a particular set of socially approved qualities, such as being extroverted, emotionally stable, conscientious, intellectual and agreeable.
This is the paradox of authenticity: In order to reap the many of the benefits of feeling authentic, you may have to betray your true nature.