Authenticity Inventory—How Authentic Am I?
Authenticity can be described as being true to you, knowing who you are and what makes you unique, and then living accordingly.
An important part of authenticity is feeling like you can behave in a way that is reflective of who you really are, like you aren’t hiding part of yourself.
The dictionary defines authenticity as the act of being real or genuine; not copied or false; true and accurate. So, living with authenticity means being real, true, and genuine, not copied or false about who you are.
Truly living authentically involves 4 important things:
- Awareness: Knowing who you are and what makes you unique. But even more specifically, it’s being aware of your characteristics, knowing how you might react in any given situation, and having a deep self-knowledge.
- Unbiased Processing: Beyond just knowing things about yourself that define who you are, authenticity means that you are able to take a clear look at yourself and see it all, without judging yourself based on what you see. This means you know that you’ve got both strengths and weaknesses—and you’re ok with that. You see them, you acknowledge them, you’re ok with them, and you’re prepared to work on them as needed.
- Behavior: It’s great to know things about yourself and to see your strengths and weaknesses clearly, but a big part of authenticity is acting in accordance with those things. If I am am too afraid to act in ways that feel true to me, I am not very authentic, am I?
- Relational Orientation: Seeking connections with others is a normal and natural part of being a human. And many of your most authentic (and probably joyful) times likely came when you were in the presence of people who you loved and who you felt like you could be your authentic self with.
How Authentic Am I?
Authenticity really matters to our relationships and mental health. The problem is, sometimes we can’t see ways that we are limiting our own authenticity (which is why I’ve created a course to help you do just that).
But here’s an inventory that you can take a look at and assess yourself in the 4 areas that we just talked about.
Read through these questions and consider your own authenticity.
You can do this in several ways. You can just read through the items and do some self-reflection. If you chose this option, mark things that you notice that might be weaker areas in your authenticity, and then make note of or journal aboout how you could improve in those areas.
If you’d like to take this as an inventory, rate yourself on each item on a scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). I will give you scoring information for that below.
If you’d like to print it out, here’s a PDF file you can use:
Print Here: Authenticity Inventory Printable PDF
Ready to take a look at this?
These items are from The Authenticity Inventory by Michael Kernis and David Goldman, 2004:
1. I am often confused about my feelings.
2. I frequently pretend to enjoy something when in actuality I really don’t.
3. For better or for worse I am aware of who I truly am.
4. I understand why I believe the things I do about myself.
5. I want people with whom I am close to understand my strengths.
6. I actively try to understand which of my self-aspects fit together to form my core or true self.
7. I am very uncomfortable objectively considering my limitations and shortcomings.
8. I’ve often used my silence or head nodding to convey agreement with someone else’s statement or position even though I really disagree.
9. I have a very good understanding of why I do the things I do.
10. I am willing to change myself for others if the reward is desirable enough.
11. I find it easy to pretend to be something other than my true self.
12. I want people with whom I am close to understand my weaknesses.
13. I find it very difficult to critically assess myself.
14. I am not in touch with my deepest thoughts and feelings.
15. I make it a point to express to close others how much I truly care for them.
16. I tend to have difficulty accepting my personal faults, so I try to cast them in a more positive way.
17. I tend to idealize close others rather than objectively see them as they truly are.
18. If asked, people I am close to can accurately describe what kind of person I am.
19. I prefer to ignore my darkest thoughts and feelings.
20. I am aware of when I am not being my true self.
21. I am able to distinguish those self-aspects that are important to my core or true self from those that are unimportant.
22. People close to me would be shocked or surprised if they discovered what I keep inside me.
23. It is important for me to understand my close others’ needs and desires.
24. I want close others to understand the real me rather than just my public persona or ‘‘image.’’
25. I try to act in a manner that is consistent with my personally held values, even if others criticize or reject me for doing so.
26. If a close other and I are in disagreement I would rather ignore the issue than constructively work it out.
27. I’ve often done things that I don’t want to do merely not to disappoint people.
28. I find that my behavior typically expresses my values.
29. I actively attempt to understand myself as best as possible.
30. I’d rather feel good about myself than objectively assess my personal limitations and shortcomings.
31. I find that my behavior typically expresses my personal needs and desires.
32. I rarely if ever, put on a ‘‘false face’’ for others to see.
33. I spend a lot of energy pursuing goals that are very important to other people even though they are unimportant to me.
34. I frequently am not in touch with what’s important to me.
35. I try to block out any unpleasant feelings I might have about myself.
36. I often question whether I really know what I want to accomplish in my lifetime.
37. I often find that I am overly critical about myself.
38. I am in touch with my motives and desires.
39. I often deny the validity of any compliments that I receive.
40. In general, I place a good deal of importance on people I am close to understanding who I truly am.
41. I find it difficult to embrace and feel good about the things I have accomplished.
42. If someone points out or focuses on one of my shortcomings I quickly try to block it out of my mind and forget it.
43. The people I am close to can count on me being who I am regardless of what setting we are in.
44. My openness and honesty in close relationships are extremely important to me.
45. I am willing to endure negative consequences by expressing my true beliefs about things.
There are some items that you are going to need to reverse your score on before you add up your total. That means that if you gave yourself a 1, change it to a 5. A 5 becomes a 1. 2=4 and 4=2 and 3 can just stay the same.
Reverse score these items:
1, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 26, 27, 30, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 41, 42
Then, in order to consider your score in the 4 different areas, calculate them in the following groups:
Awareness: 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 14, 20, 21, 29, 34, 36, 38
Unbiased Processing: 7, 13, 16, 19, 30, 35, 37, 39, 41, 42
Behavior: 2, 8, 10, 11, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 45
Relational Orientation: 5, 12, 15, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 26, 40, 43, 44
Take a look at how you scored in each area and pay attention to where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are. A score of 60 in awareness would be the highest you could achieve, a 50 in unbiased processing, a 55 in behavior, and a 60 in relational orientation. Don’t expect to be super high or perfect on any of them, but consider ways that you might be holding yourself back and areas that you might be able to boost your authenticity a bit.
Authenticity really matters in your relationships and your mental well-being. But sometimes it can be hard to see specific ways that you are limiting your own authenticity. Ready to take a deep-dive on this and consider how you can more fully accept yourself, without looking to others for constant validation? Join my Authentically YOU class and start this journey with me.
You can also read more about some common pitfalls to authenticity here: