There is a price for everything. Whether we eat one slice of chocolate cake or if we eat the whole cake. With cake, the cost is in pounds. On the other hand if we find ourselves isolated or lonely, the cost of risking, reaching out, may be opening our hearts from years of it being blocked. This may to some feel too risky. Sometimes the cost seems like it will be too great, while other times the price is so worth it.

However the cost for compromising our authenticity to have some kind of connection ends up costing a huge price of which we are not always aware. The word itself, authenticity, is loaded in this society. And is actually meaningless in many ways. 

I define authenticity as being comfortable in our own skin, that the connection to yourself is so grounded and true, you are not busy maintaining an image, a persona. It is what I call,  ‘fronting the image.’ You are able to relax so deeply in yourself that there’s no need to manage other’s perception of you. 

There is a price to not showing up completely in a way that does not feel fully authentic to you in the moment.

The cost is:

Being disconnected from your SELF.

How does that happen?

The origins of this behavior reside in childhood strategies for safety. It simply takes on different forms as we become adults and your life becomes about managing other people’s perception of you, thus eroding your connection to true authentic self. Take a moment, pause and reflect on a life where your attention is constantly focused over there, managing how people are perceiving you – not a very authentic way of living, relating, interacting. 


The more your life is about managing other people’s perception of you, the more disassociated you become, and if you think this doesn’t take a toll on your health, it is time you hear the alarm bell I am ringing. Being overly concerned as to what others think about you acts as stressor for your nervous system. Frankly, the older I get, the less interested I am in the little social agreements we maintain to not rock the boat and stay connected. My contentment does not depend upon what others think of me. It lies in maintaining integrity with myself.

One of my mentors Dr. Gabor Mate will often ask in his workshops, “Who here has been to a doctor recently?” Several people usually raise their hands. He then breaks it down. If you go to a dermatologist for skin inflammation they will prescribe a steroid cream. If you go to a rheumatologist for an inflamed joint, you will likely be prescribed a steroid medication. If you go for asthma you will most likely be given steroid inhaler. What are steroids? They are a surrogate for cortisol. What is is cortisol? A stress hormone. Then he asks the clinchers, “Did any doctor ask if you experienced childhood trauma? What kind of stress are you under now? How does the trauma of your childhood play out as some version in your life now as an adult?” No, those questions are rarely asked, thereby perpetuating the medical disconnect of how stress impacts our well-being, and impacts our inner and outer health.

The list of chronic illnesses associated with childhood trauma is very long. However the cultural awareness around this is growing, so much so that the ACE survey is becoming a medical protocol when examining new patients. 

Even in this day and age people still struggle with making the connection to childhood trauma and how it is a key hindrance to creating their heart’s desires such as a healthy relationship, financial success, or meaningful work. That trauma in all its forms is the central cause of chronic illness of the psyche; under-earning, unfulfilling relationships and depression.

In fact there is a whole industry of business, life and health coaches who never ask this question of their clients. They only offer strategies, processes and masterminds to success, but very little in investigating how trauma might be in the way, or what version of the trauma is being replayed in your adult life that contributes to chronic financial, career and relationship struggles. If you are disconnected from your self, strategies can only take you so far. And as I’ve often said, as much as we would like to think that with growing up we grow out of the trauma, growing up does nothing to heal trauma.

There was a phrase used often when I was coming up, “Love brings up everything unlike itself in order to be healed.” I can certainly testify to that, as my marriage of 31 years has been a Masterclass in opening my heart and healing my trauma. 

Besides love, a heart’s desire is another exceptional force that brings to the surface whatever needs to be healed. For the last 25 years I have taught a Mystery School where every 6 months the students set an intention around a heart’s desire, inviting to the surface everything that stands in the way of that desire being manifest. No strategy, just lots of good old Releasing, neutralizing the trauma and allowing grace to descend and miracles to unfold.

So if your life could use less strategy and manipulation, and more trust and authenticity, here’s some Releasing for you:

  • I release the effects of how my connection to others got corrupted by disorganized and ambivalent attachment.
  • I release the effect of the disjointed way my parents connected to me. 
  • I release the sadness and confusion of feeling they were present one moment and gone the next.
  • I release the decision I made that it must somehow be all my fault that prevents them from being fully connected to me.
  • I release the decision I made that the best way I can be safe and connected was to look over there to figure out what they needed, no matter what it cost me.
  • I release the trauma that the more I went over there the less connected I was to myself. 
  • I release the effects of being out of alignment from having my energy going to ‘fronting my image’ rather than nurturing my interior.
  • I ask my Soul to step in and integrate all those parts of me that got disconnected from compromising my authenticity. 
  • Please feel free to continue with your own Releasing Statements. Thanks for reading!
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  • Angela Willson

    Part 2: the Cost.. this might appear to be an off topic comment, BUT.

    We had a pet lamb when my children were young, his name was LamLam. He was bottle fed and wore diapers becausehe was 2 days old when we got him so he live in the house. Once he was large enough he was moved out side, he was a pet and I think he thought he was a dog since he followed Totter and Sierra everywhere when they were out back with him. Anyway, we had to get rid of him so gave him back to the farmer who took hime to his farm on the Sutter Buttes. I called him and asked if we could come to the Buttes to visit LamLam but we were in luck he had brought all the sheep to the farm just down the street from our home. There were about 30 sheep in the field so I called LamLam and he ran from the flock to come see my children and me. He stood up on the fence and kissed us all and stayed by the fence when we finally had to leave. He looked sad when we left.

    Some time later I saw a flock in the nearby field, so I stopped. I called LamLam a few times and no response. I thought maybe something had happened to him (there are coyotes in the Buttes) or maybe he had forgotten me. I tried one more time and a head popped up and he stood in the middle of all the other sheep. I called one more time and he came running, he jumped up to the fence and kissed me and both of us were so excited. Then the flock came over to him and baaed. He looked at them and me and nuzzled me one more time, jumped down and joined his flock. They walked away. He turned around one last time as if to say, “Mom I belong here, I love you but this is my real home”.

    That was the last time I saw him, it was sad, but this is true authenticity. Knowing where one truly belongs.. not just being where it feels good or appears on the surface to be easy but where it hurts the sole. HIs sole was fed by knowing where he belonged and this was such joy for me, knowing he was happy.

    Thank you Voge – I love you – Angela

  • Judi Friedman

    Part 2 – The Cost…..Wow Voge, I thank you for this. I so much want the warmth of the herd , that I think I am being authentic, but I realize I have developed strategies to fool everyone, including myself. I have often wondered why I feel empty, alone inside, when my outside action seem to solicit the correct response. You are so very clear in your communication that I can hear my “fronting image” designed to protect me so I don’t get hurt. Well, my emptiness and alone inside is the result. Sometimes I cannot hold on to the opening you provide, but between my commitment to be connected to myself and reading your posts….I seem to be able to concentrate on finding my authenticity. I look forward to unpacking to stategies I have used all my life to feel safe in my skin, and to actually be there for myself. Much love, Judi

    • Voge Smith

      Thank you Judi for your exquisitely vulnerable post. I know you speak for many who are in the struggle and confusion around attachment and authenticity. Thank you for your courage in posting an issue many are wrestling with.

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