We’re here to help! Ring us at 226-647-6000.

What Does it Mean to be Authentic?

“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

– Brené Brown


Being authentic means feeling comfortable sharing your flaws and failures as much as your triumphs and successes, and that you don’t need to be liked by others to feel as though you matter. It is a true recognition that you matter regardless of what others think, and being able to embrace your weaknesses as much as your strengths.

Being authentic means not striving to be what others expect us to be, or even what we think we are supposed to be, but rather loving the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. It means knowing that we can form opinions on our own, and to voice those opinions in a way that holds true to our values. Most importantly, being authentic means staying true to our core values, even when they are different from someone else’s.

We have all had those moments where we faked being happy when what we really wanted to do was fall apart. Why do we do that? Because we have been programmed to believe that who we are isn’t enough, and that how we feel isn’t ok. We are taught very early in life that people will only truly like us if we present them with something that feels good to them. This fear often holds us back from being authentically ourselves.

Imagine arriving to work, and when asked “how are you today?” you actually respond with how you are feeling; “I am feeling awful, my kids were having complete meltdowns” or maybe it sounds like, “my morning was horrible, my husband and I got into an argument”. Most of us would never say these things, even though they are exactly what we are experiencing and feeling. Of course there may be some people you aren’t willing to share that information with, and that’s okay too! Being authentic means doing and sharing what we feel when we want to, and with whom we want to share that with. Being authentic means not being scared to share those feelings in order to make others more comfortable, and sharing what we want to based on what we may need in that moment.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that being authentic isn’t something that we have to search for, it is being exactly who we are. To each person this will look different, and that is what is so beautiful about authenticity!


Written by Bliss therapist Tammy Benwell. Learn more about Tammy and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.

If you liked this article you might enjoy these too:


Do you have any questions for us? We’re happy to help! Get in touch with us here.
If you’re interested in booking your first appointment with Bliss, you can do that here.



What Is Happiness?

What do Taylor Swift, that guy whose best attempt at romance was to send you a picture of his junk, and bell hooks have in common? Well, if we managed to look past the catchy lyrics, the nauseating brocabulary, and the penetrating eloquence, we’d see that they all just want to be happy. But what is happiness, anyway? I know it seems like a question for philosophers, but as a therapist I’ve learned that how we define happiness actually has serious implications for our mental health.

Most of us grow up believing that happiness is the emotion we feel when things go our way. Good grades, good relationships, good job, good health, that sort of thing. Most basically, it’s about the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain. This concept of happiness is so normal that it seems weird even to think about it.

The bad news is, this happiness has a serious dark side. For starters, it’s actually impossible to control things so that we only feel pleasure and never feel pain. Built right into gain, praise, pleasure and life are loss, blame, pain and death; trying to cling to one side of the coin while rejecting the other is like, well, trying to cling to one side of a coin and rejecting the other.

The other problem is that when we try to cling to pleasure and avoid pain, we tend to act in less than awesome ways. Addiction, abuse, neglect, deceit, manipulation, people-pleasing and even more macro level issues like economic exploitation and environmental destruction can all be traced back to a fundamental attachment to pleasure and avoidance of pain.

The worst part? Even when we do manage to grab onto this happiness, it tends to be pretty superficial, and it disappears all too quickly.

In summary, the conventional brand of happiness kind of sucks. The good news is, there’s a competing vision of happiness: not the presence of pleasure and absence of pain, but a life lived in accordance with one’s values. Our values are what we cherish most deeply – depending on the person, they could be stuff like compassion, adventure, family, love or humour – and, if we want to get really philosophical about it, they’re an expression of our most authentic selves.

The happiness of authenticity has nothing to do with feeling good and not feeling bad. This type of happiness recognizes that humans just sometimes feel terrible and sometimes feel great, sometimes win and sometimes lose. With this happiness, we shift our focus from that fact – which we can’t control – to what we can control, that is, whether or not to act in alignment with our values regardless of the circumstances. The added bonus is that if we’re not chasing pleasure and avoiding pain, we’re much less likely to be awful to each other and ourselves.

The best part? Acting in alignment with our values leads to a deep, lasting contentment that makes pleasure and pain seem feeble in comparison. It also happens to be the foundation of unshakable self-esteem. But don’t take my word for it; experiment with chasing this second type of happiness rather than the first, and see how quickly it changes everything.

(This article was originally published in the February 2017 issue of The Community Edition.)



John is a therapist and coach with two Master’s degrees in counselling and four years of clinical experience. He is self-employed at Transformation Counselling and works with adolescents and adults on issues ranging from trauma and addiction to dating and spirituality. In his spare time, he loves to hike, reflect on the meaning of life, and eat nachos.

Let us help you find your perfect match.

General Contact
Will you be submitting your receipts to your extended health benefits or insurance provider?