On Sunday I went to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to see an old film that was recently restored. MOMA had done a project bringing old films new life…

As you know, I’m trying to live more intentionally, which for me means slowing down and savoring the gifts that I have before me. Putting into practical action, I’m doing a photo challenge that is making me stop and really look at my surroundings. I am also highlighting my week by posting photos on Sundays of things I do, or see, or just remind me of something…


So while I was at MOMA, I snapped a pic of the TV screen outside the theater that showed the title shot of the movie I was about to see. (which you will see on Sunday)

Some pompous ass guy walks out and mutters under his breath “Jesus” because this dude is so cool and urbane he just can’t believe that MOMA would let in a rube such as me…

I didn’t say anything because this guy was all sorts of things I hate about New Yorkers who go to art museums on Sunday afternoons and carry a copy of the New Yorker in their hand and use big words so people think they’re smart but deep down we just know that they are pompous asses… He was the classic smug stereotype, elbow patches and all. I’m pretty sure there was a pipe and pince nez buried in his inner pocket…

Authentic me took a picture

Authentic him made a snide comment

Part of me really wanted to tell the guy off.

Part of me thought I should let it go.

It was a 50/50 toss up to how I should react- angel/devil both in play…

Was I being authentic? 

I’m still a little pissed that I didn’t say something snide (because a snide comment is always in my arsenal), but I chose to stay quiet…

So what was I?

Which brings us to the next part of our essay: should we always be authentic? Are there situations where authenticity is a liability?

A few commented yesterday that maybe you shouldn’t always be yourself. If you tend to be combative, should you always engage in a verbal joust?

If you’re passive aggressive, should you always slide in the backhanded statement?

If we know our natural inclination is to be less than kind or respectful, should we act upon that?

Or do we try to hide the less nice, the less respectful parts of us?

I can write that we should always be true to ourselves, let our freak flag fly. But are there times we have to tow the line, be quiet, go against our nature?

Is too authentic a bad thing?


today was a good day for me and my computer- hoping it was just Monday blues for my trusty Dell…

45 thoughts on “Too Authentic?

  1. I believe that at our core, we are all good, loving people. The rest of it is just the bullshit we’ve picked up over years of conditioning (for better or worse) and learning from what life throws at us. Our bad habits and qualities are not us, they are things we need to deal with and heal. Who knows that dude’s motivation for being a dick? That’s his stuff. You not acting on your first impulse is a pretty good indicator that you’re a lot further along on your journey than he is, and that’s a beautiful thing. I don’t know about you, but when I react to someone else’s bad behavior, I end up feeling ashamed and weird about myself, no matter how warranted it seemed. He has to live with his miserable self, and trust me, no happy, peaceful person would behave that way. So…I don’t think choosing not to act on our impulse is inauthentic. I think it is wise, mature, and better all around for YOU and how you feel about yourself. At least, that would be true in my case. 🙂

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  2. I don’t think choosing not to say something is being inauthentic if that’s who you are. Some people simply aren’t worth dealing with. What’s the point? Why let it ruin your fun? I sometimes think the happiest people are those who do what they like and honestly don’t care what someone else thinks. Wish I could be more like that. In your case, I would have ignored the jerk.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had this happen the other day in a classroom. I work part time with at risk teenagers. One of them expected me to do the work for him and just walked away as if the paper was going to write itself. I started to begin a litany of comments and just cut myself off and continued reminding myself that he had no intention of working that day and I moved on to a student who did a little work. Choosing battles. The same when I heard them complaining about another teacher: who tries to help them. I kept quiet.

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  4. Perhaps not saying anything is more about how you want to put your energy into the world than anything else. And I believe that’s authentic. Sure, you had a snappy comeback, and it may have even helped you feel better in that moment. But then you’re no better than that smug jackass guy.
    He couldn’t control himself.
    You can.
    He’s putting out crap vibes. And he will receive crap vibes magnified in return.
    If you’re putting out strong, positive, healthy energy into the world, what are you going to get in return?
    And that, my friend, is real authenticity. ❤

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Social expectations and norms are designed to keep us in check and I think learned behavior patterns make most folks follow those social rules. Have integrity, be honest, be yourself, but know when it’s better to let something go or keep silent. That’s being socially, culturally, morally and ethically aware, perhaps for the greater good, but also perhaps because it is simply the smartest thing to do given our world right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Some really authentic feedback here, very nice. I live between two lakes, and there are beaches and parks for people and some for dog owners. I am irked when I see a dog on a people beach with its owner ignoring the signs. There are also the people who smoke on the beach, and leave the butts – that irks me also. My authentic me wants to confront those people, but I know it makes my family uncomfortable and yet I am stirred up inside seeing this. I don’t know the answer but instead I do try not to let the bump in the road ruin the ride per se, for me or my family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See…that’s just it…s the line between being true to your nature, yet still keep the status quo socially? Do we need a line, what is the line….when should the needs of others take over what we feel…


  7. Passive aggressive is always in my arsenal as well. I agree making a snide remark doesn’t make you any better than him. Some people are just pompous asses. You’re not going to change someone like that with one comment. Sometimes I use a touch humor in my tone as a back up. It takes the edge off and makes my point without starting a pi$$ing war….yet it can put someone in their place. I’m checking my camera settings….what do you know about metering for gallery photos without a flash? or I just love modern art, don’t you? Who is your favorite artist? or I know it’s silly to take a photo of a TV screen, but I don’t want to miss a.ny.thing! Of course, the “mom look” may have done all that without opening your mouth. xoxox

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I think we choose who we want to be by our actions. It’s not always a matter of authentic or inauthentic. I often hear people justify bad or insensitive behavior by saying things like, “I’m just being myself,” or “I’m just being honest.” Even if our first instinct is to respond to a jerk by saying something snide or “putting them in their place,” it’s worth pausing and asking if that’s really who I want to be. If I say something rude back to them, aren’t I stooping to their level … and doesn’t jerkiness win? We’re never going to change anyone by matching them in bad behavior–it only confirms their belief that all people are just as rude and discourteous as they are. If we want a kinder world, we need to model that behavior. So choosing not to say anything, or even saying something kind (but not in a sarcastic or superior way) to an unkind person may be the most authentic thing we can do.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m still tossing this around in my brain..it goes back to only being able to control your own actions and reactions, not those of others. But when do you need to say something? When do social cues kick in? Who decides what social mores are? There’s a lot to consider


      1. Personally, I think the times we “need” to say something are when someone else may be hurt, or when an action is clearly hateful or bigoted. Standing up for justice or equality, or for someone who is being marginalized or bullied–especially if we can do it with dignity and quiet confidence–sends a strong message about who we are and what we believe matters. Jerks are often fueled by interaction, particularly contentious interactions. I view withholding comments with people who just want to annoy us as withholding fuel from them. As you say, there’s a lot to consider!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Living with people! Really, there are times my tongue is raw from biting it. I am authentic in the respect that I consider myself a good person that doesn’t need to respond to everything. I will and have stuck up for others who were in the process of being berated, insulted or bullied, because that is me. Snide comments aside and yes I have made them but I find a good look that used to stop my kids in their tracks works better than you might think. Every mom has one in her arsenal to use when needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. But you did say something. Just not to him. 🙂 Here, where you can have a rational discussion with like-minded peeps. 😉

    You could have engaged him but personalities like him would have either gotten passive aggressive, or combative. Unless he ignored you. All of those scenarios would have left you in a tizzy. Maybe ruined part of your day.

    THIS way (discussing on the blog) is a much better outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There’s always part of me that feels very self conscious when walking around art galleries, not so much sneering snooty glances but I do get the sense people watching could be thinking ‘what does that guy know about art?’ Perhaps it’s me and they’re just life’s observers…. people watchers like me!

    (My Dell Inspiron is 6 years old and the guy who sold it me said it’d probably only last 2!)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I really love these comments. Great insights and I agree with everyone. If I am going to confront someone, I ask myself what is the result I want for this confrontation. Then I can decide my approach or if I should just drop it.

    That guy wasn’t worth your breath.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think we should always BE our authentic selves (too much trouble to pretend otherwise), but that doesn’t mean we always have to express our thoughts and act on our impulses. There is a time and a place for everything. As for your response to this guy, I think either way would have been your authentic self….a snarky comeback is you, and so it thinking that a potential confrontation might not be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I didn’t think of it quite like that…being authentic doesn’t mean always doing the same thing necessarily…in my case, it means I’m pragmatic and look at every situation individually and base my response based on info in front of me

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I believe that sometimes we need in the line of “what would be the result of my action”. Being authentic is what we all strive for cause everyone is obviously taken, but sometimes we need to think of consequences. Doing the opposite of what you would normally do is not be fake or inauthentic, it is just being you. There’s a part of you that you get to know everyday. The part that doesn’t give snide comments when she thinks she has to, the part that lets people get away with whatever they do. It’s just being you. You’re a bag of surprises.

    Liked by 1 person

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