Touchstones: A Communication Pathway

Part Six: The Link between Authenticity and Compassion.

Second author, Harter, wrote in her groundbreaking book, The Construction of the Self, that authenticity implies that one acts in accord with the true self, expressing in ways that are consistent with inner thoughts and feelings. Other authors concur by underscoring that emotions enhance one’s perception and understanding of events, other people, and the world in general (Cassell, 2002; Frijda, Manstead, & Bem, 2000; Oakley, 1992). Why is this discussion of compassion and authenticity important for using the Touchstone Skills interpersonally? As we have described learning to take the perspectives of another promotes the development of compassion.  Compassion, in turn leads to greater transparency, which allows for greater authenticity.

(2002) makes the important point that we must perceive a shared sense of community with others in order to feel true compassion. Without this, we tend to alienate or dissociate ourselves from those less fortunate. Therefore, cultivating compassion for others and the shifting of perspectives, resulting in transparency is a necessary condition to authentically communicating with another. As Michie and Gooty note, “feeling compassion is

a commitment to a belief that others should be treated fairly” and when people who have this commitment act on it without emotional conflict, their actions will be more consistent and authentic.