If authenticity is the new black, how well are you wearing it?

Psychologies’ very own Suzy Greaves and I were having an interesting discussion the other day about how authenticity seems to be the in-vogue value.

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Authenticity seems to be the designer characteristic that many of us are hankering after – whether as leaders, parents, lovers or friends.

We’ve seen people wearing it well and we know it comes with a whole host of groovy accessories including happiness, contentment and deep connections. No wonder anyone who is anyone wants to know where to get their hands on it.

I jest but when I first started writing and speaking about authenticity over fifteen years ago – hardly anybody was mentioning it. Now, times have changed and many more people are realising that authenticity is key to so much in life: great friendships, lasting love, deep connections, effective leadership, strong families and healthy communities.

Why has authenticity become so popular? I think it is because many of us are tiring of the superficial and the pressure to edit, hide or airbrush who we are. We want our lives to have meaning and purpose and we long for deep connections where we can get to truly know others and also be truly known.

For my book, Inside Out – how to have authentic relationships with everyone in your life I surveyed 1000 people and discovered that 97.5% believed that their relationships could be improved, a third admitted that they didn’t let people see the ‘real me’ and half said they didn’t find it easy to tell others if they were hurt or upset. When asked what they wanted to be different most people said they wanted more time for their relationships and greater depth.

The good news is that change is possible. Twenty-four years ago my older brother died suddenly and it was then that I came to the realisation that my relationships weren’t as great as I thought they were. I was a successful TV reporter for the BBC with an active social life but I was totally unable to express negative emotions or experience true intimacy.

Looking back I now realise that I was failing to relate authentically because I was choosing to value protection over connection. I was living my life in black and white, instead of in colour.

That is when I set about discovering a different way to live and relate. I read 100s of books, did hours and hours of research and studied people who were much better at relating than me. I discovered how to be more authentic and how to take off my protective coat. I began my transformation into a Naked Hedgehog!

For the last fifteen years I have been coaching, writing and speaking about authentic relationships. Now, for the first time I am going to share my experience and teaching with a wider audience. TheNaked Hedgehogs’ Bootcamp is a 30-day online programme designed to help you live, love and lead more authentically.

So, if you want deeper connections, greater clarity, less stress and to make a greater impact in the world around you then why not sign up today and join us?

Have you got a question, comment or observation about Authenticity? Why not join me for a Life Labs Live Chat here on Life Labs on Thursday September 4th at 1pm and be part of the conversation? Go to my Masterclass post and join us there live.

If you can’t make it live you can post a question below the masterclass in the comments section.

Sarah Abell

How to live, love and lead authentically, www.nakedhedgehogs.com

My passion for authentic relationships came out of my own failure to relate well in my early twenties and what I’ve been learning about true connection ever since. What do I do? Good question and one I always find a bit tricky to answer. In a nutshell I help people to live, love and lead authentically. You can find out more at www.nakedhedgehogs.com I have written, coached and spoken on relationships and authentic living to thousands of people. I was the Agony Aunt for The Daily Telegraph and I'm the author of "Inside Out - How to have authentic relationships with everyone in your life" (Hodder 2011). I have given two TEDx talks on authentic relationships and I write the Life Lab experiment on Love for Psychologies. I have been married to David for twelve years and we have one son, who is six. We live in Bristol.


Go to the profile of Anne E Fleming
over 7 years ago
Hi Sarah, I've just signed up for the Naked Hedgehogs test as the 30 day online programme sounds like it would be a great fast track route to making deeper connections and being less stressed...what was your inspiration for the name :)?
Go to the profile of Sarah Abell
over 7 years ago
Hi Anne - Glad to hear you took the test. And if you want to join the bootcamp - that would be fab. The answer to where Naked Hedgehogs came from can be found here: http://www.nakedhedgehogs.com/hedgehogsdilemma - It seemed to me the answer to the Hedgehogs' dilemma!
Go to the profile of Andy Teacher
over 4 years ago
Hi Sarah, I thought your piece on Authenticity was insightful. It’s a pity that people can’t be more honest with one another, because that’s the real meaning of authenticity in this context, but I guess other things can get in the way sometimes. Being as good as your word is hard; it takes commitment and kindness to others. And sometimes people aren’t always honest with themselves which complicates the situation. Whether you’re 26 or 56 finding those deep connections with someone is never easy to do. It takes time and patience, and dare I say love? I think when you look for a deeper connection, sometimes these can be found closer to home than you may at first think, although not necessarily with your preconceived idea of an ideal partner. I hope Anne has been successful with her search for that deeper connection. Everyone deserves to find someone.