This semester I am taking advanced nursing research. Part of that is discussing the qualities that define good research. One of those qualities is authenticity. Authentic research means that everyone
It's obvious why authenticity in nursing research is important. (I have dozens of mind gears turning of how I can use this in my future practice, but I'll save those ideas for when they are more fleshed out.) If we skew results to what we think we should find instead of what we actually find we can not effectively address problems. And really, what's the point of doing research that is inauthentic? To produce dishonest and inauthentic research is not only wildly unethical, it is down right dangerous and it minimizes the validity of evidence-based practice. (The one study linking MMR to autism that was proven to be fraudulent comes to mind. ) That is why it is important that nursing researchers consult with patients other providers to hear their opinions. That is why peer review is an essential step in the research process.
As I was reading about what makes authentic research, I couldn't help but notice that authenticity is also important in organizations and relationships. If you have a company that listens to their customers and employees they are able to use those insights to improve their product, to think about what that feedback and use it to get a better result. The same goes for a family. If you are in a place where you can be honest about who you are and how you feel, you are more likely to connect with other family members. When you are authentic about who you are, you are quietly giving other permission to do the same. When everyone can be really honest and listen to one another, it improves communication and it helps everyone to be more effective! Sometimes I feel in relationships we don't address issues because we feel so much pressure to be perfect 'I'm not supposed to be upset about X'. This leads to people not talking about it and not trying to solve the problem. Ignoring problems usually doesn't make them go away. In the past couple years my husband and I came to a place where we decided to be more authentic with one another and our relationship is a hundred times better. We are better partners and we are better parents. We as a team are getting more done and life is more enjoyable too. (Not that things are perfect, they're not. Stressful things still happen and there is that whole graduate school business that I deal with on a daily basis.) Authenticity is powerful.
Being authentic can be really difficult, especially if you are living in a culture that has so much pressure on you to be very different than who you truly are. Or if you made yourself vulnerable in the past and the result was that you were hurt by the person that you were sharing with. But life is too short to spend it trying to be someone other than who you are. To paraphrase Brene Brown, in order to be successful and love others, you have to love yourself. You have to BE yourself. Recognize that you are loveable and go out and share who you truly are with the world.