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How many times have you been inauthentic? How many times have you faked the funk in an attempt to fit in, saying things you don't mean, laughing at jokes you don't find funny, doing things you don't care to do? Lots, if you're like me. Going along with stuff pretty much defined my twenties.

Not good. As recent research reveals, hiding your true colors may make you feel "morally tainted."

Research at Harvard and Columbia business schools posited that like lying or cheating, inauthenticity is a violation of being true, whether to others or oneself. Behaviors like faking excitement and fitting in with a crowd that doesn't share your values amounts to lying about your true self. The result? Feelings of moral distress and impurity.

The findings, published in Psychological Science, are especially relevant to people who find themselves constantly having to perform on the job. Fulfilling the demands of customers and colleagues forces a person to behave outwardly in ways that do not match one's feelings or beliefs. As in the service industry, where employees must follow precise scripts and recite trite and hackneyed expressions. Or at work, where you must get along with so many insufferables!

What's the prescription, other than ditching that dead-end job, trading in those stale hobbies and recycling those heathens you call friends? Be true to yourself. Live authentically and in accordance with your sense of self, emotions and values. So what if that sounds like I got it off a bumber sticker. It's true. If everyone does the same and stays true, the world would be such a happy place you wouldn't have nearly as much difficulty tolerating it.

And if all else fails and you find yourself doing things you really don't want to do more than you care to do them, because of ineludible commitments or a vague sense of obligation or inner compulsion or being beholden or bullied or whatever, there's nothing a shot or two of Scotch won't fix. Just take my advice and make it single malt. Minimal hang-over. Don't hate. It got me through my twenties is all I'm sayin'.


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