According to psychiatrist Smantha Boardman, it pays off to be a “well-meaning phony.”
To be clear, she isn’t talking about being inauthentic, or a NARP (not a real person). Instead, she believes her patients should abandon the idea that there is a “fixed self” — a concept which she says leads to depression. Humans who believe in a single version of themselves often get stuck in their old stories about their lives, and they stop feeling like they can evolve into beings who act in alignment with their true values.
A recent study found that people in romantic relationships were most happy when they were behaving as their“ideal self” rather than their “actual self.”
“Authenticity in a relationship is the result of feeling you can be your best self, not your actual self,” Boardman said. “Doing things that are ‘un-you’ can free you from behaving in a way that may be comfortable but stifling. Disagreeable people feel better when they are more considerate. People who are careless feel better when they are conscientious. Shy people feel better when they act more outgoing.”