What Does Authenticity Refer to in Existentialism?


Martha Robinson

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual existence, freedom, and choice. At the core of this philosophy lies the concept of authenticity, which refers to the idea of living an honest and meaningful life.

What is Authenticity?
Authenticity is a term that has been used in various fields, including psychology, sociology, and philosophy. In existentialism, authenticity refers to the ability of an individual to make choices that reflect their true self.

According to existentialist thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger, humans are born into a meaningless world and must create their own meaning through their choices. Authenticity involves taking responsibility for these choices and being true to oneself.

The Importance of Authenticity
In existentialism, authenticity is considered essential for living a fulfilling life. When individuals are not authentic, they may feel disconnected from their true selves and experience feelings of emptiness or despair.

Living authentically requires individuals to confront difficult questions about themselves and their place in the world. It involves acknowledging one’s limitations and accepting responsibility for one’s actions.

  • Authenticity allows individuals to live a purposeful life
  • It helps individuals connect with others on a deeper level
  • It promotes personal growth and development

Being Inauthentic

Inauthenticity refers to the opposite of authenticity – living in a way that does not reflect one’s true self. This can happen when individuals conform to societal expectations or when they try to be someone they are not.

When individuals are inauthentic, they may experience feelings of anxiety or depression. They may also struggle with decision-making because they are not sure what they truly want.

Factors Contributing to Inauthenticity

There are several factors that can contribute to inauthenticity, including:

  • Societal expectations and pressures
  • Low self-esteem or lack of confidence
  • Fear of rejection or criticism
  • Being inauthentic in one aspect of life can spill over into other areas


Authenticity is a fundamental concept in existentialism that emphasizes the importance of living a meaningful and honest life. It requires individuals to make choices that reflect their true selves and take responsibility for their actions.

Living authentically can be challenging, but it is essential for personal growth and fulfillment. By embracing authenticity, individuals can connect with others on a deeper level and live a more purposeful life.