To be authentic means to live out of the core of who we truly are, undistorted by our shadows, wounds, or symptoms. It means being the real thing—being genuine or pure. It’s something more than blunt honesty. Rudeness is sometimes honest. Rage can be honest. So can hatred, lust, and selfishness. But authenticity represents the highest and most mature level of ego consciousness of which we’re capable.
Authenticity springs from the guiding Self that exists at our Center. It conforms itself to unchanging principles, patterns, and universal laws that govern its existence. Authenticity requires the joyful, gracious, and confident acceptance of our whole self in the present, exactly as we are—works in progress. We’re able to openly acknowledge our flaws of character, without shame, as we work on them. This description makes it clear that we’ll always be becoming authentic. We’ll never arrive there.
The Magian’s dual role as the Possessor of Knowledge and the Master of Transformation makes that archetype essential to the process of becoming authentic. As the Possessor of Knowledge, he continually brings us to deeper awareness of our shadows and our potential wholeness. As the Master of Transformation, he continually initiates us into higher ways of being and doing. The Magian is on a quest to find our deepest authenticity. Ever conscious, he’s committed to revealing our core truth, and he’s willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to manifest that in our lives.
Authenticity is of two types: internal and interpersonal. In this chapter we’ll explore the roles of both types of authenticity in the pathway out of unwanted same–sex attraction. We’ll use our understanding of the Magian archetype to help us comprehend what authenticity entails, how we obscure and hide our own authenticity, and what we can do to uncover and further develop it. First, let’s review the essential meanings of authenticity.
Internal authenticity means being whole within ourselves and accepting ourselves totally, rather than splitting off, repressing, or denying parts of ourselves. This requires an understanding of who we are on a deeper level than our job description, sexual feelings, or the labels given to us by our family, friends, or society. It requires the capacity to feel and tolerate the full range of our own emotions and impulses, which can sometimes seem confusing, conflicting, and painful. Internal authenticity includes clarity about where we fit in the world and in our relationships with others. And it depends on an ability to integrate all of this into a whole individual who can meet the challenges of life and relationships.
The second type of authenticity—interpersonal authenticity—means being true to our Center in our interactions with others. It’s the ability to be fully present and assertive in our relationships to whatever degree is appropriate and to respond out of our Center at all times. Interpersonal authenticity depends foremost on being internally authentic. We must know ourselves before we can behave in a genuine way.
Interpersonal authenticity does not imply that we must reveal all that we are to everyone around us. Nor does it imply being raw in our expressions or inflicting our every emotion on those around us. Usually our raw emotions—particularly anger—are not the product of an integrated and authentic man. Rather, they are usually outbursts of shadow. This is not to say that we may not need to find safe and appropriate places to express many such outbursts in the process of healing ourselves, integrating our shadows, and becoming authentic. But the sharing of our information and emotions with others should be done with discernment.
Ultimately, I believe that authenticity is far more an internal way of life than an interpersonal practice. In other words, authenticity comes from knowing and accepting our Selves. What we show to others and what they understand about us is secondary and of lesser importance. We can live authentically within ourselves even if we consciously choose to hold back details about our truth that others don’t have the capacity, or don’t choose, to understand.
For men whose early life experiences resulted in the symptom of same–sex attraction, understanding the shadow aspects of the Magian is particularly important in developing authenticity. These two shadow poles—the Manipulator and the Innocent—can block our authenticity in a variety of ways. The Innocent encourages passivity and denial, while the Manipulator distracts us from what’s really important. The Manipulator can also obscure our true identity with a false self and distort our perceptions of others through transferences and projection. These last three shadow effects—false selves, transferences, and projections—create a world of fragments. We are not whole, and we can’t see the wholeness of the people around us. All of these shadowy tricks contribute to gender disruption in some insidious ways.