It is absolutely essential to be authentic in how you do life in order to live a balanced existence. You have more inner peace, you experience a greater sense of confidence, and you have less inner conflict with your decisions.  There are numerous other benefits to being authentic, such as being an effective leader. As with nearly all things, there is a dark side to being authentic as well.

Part of me being authentic is having boundaries in place and managing them well. Recently, one of those boundaries was challenged by a friend of over two decades. I had a couple of options at this point. I could choose to allow my friend to move my boundary to wherever it suited them best and just deal with the frustration and feel like a victim or I could maintain my boundary and manage any fallout from that.

I chose to do the latter and the response was one of anger and baseless accusations. There was an attempt to control where I put my boundary through guilt and manipulation. It was very unfortunate, but I had to be authentic in where I thought my boundaries should be placed and maintained. Yes, this was the dark side of authenticity that I hadn’t really expected. I wouldn’t exactly say that I was blind-sided, but I was sorely disappointed.

Even though there is currently a strain on this long standing relationship, I feel at peace with my choice to maintain my boundary. There is peace and freedom in being authentic, but the response of others to your authenticity may not be as pleasant as you would like. This is what I call the “dark side” of authenticity that doesn’t get much marketing time. It’s not a great selling point for the cause, but I think being aware of the possibility can be quite empowering.

Manage your boundaries without compromise, but do it with a soft touch. Should others choose to respond in a less than palatable way, then that is their decision and is not your fault. You’ve heard the expression “Nothing worth having is free”. Well, the dark side of authenticity is the payment we sometimes have to accept in order to live authentically.

Be true to yourself, be self aware, and never stop assessing your actions. This isn’t being self deprecating, it is being self critical for the sake of improvement…not self berating. Life is to be cherished and well managed to enjoy fully. We get one chance at it, so be pro-active in your approach. You don’t have to “come to the dark side” to be aware of its existence.