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Authenticity and Privacy


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I though a bit about authenticity and how my connection and contributions to gamequitters.com fit into the picture of me. 

I haven't shared this journal on gamequitters with many people who know me personally. My wife and my best friend read it. Nobody else. I am right now safing my old journal in a txt-file and am wondering why I never made it public or shared my full contact details or picture. I never totally engaged with the community besides writing over 1,5k (!) posts.

Why is this? I was ashamed for a long time. But I don't feel shame anymore. It is just who I was and am. This should be nothing new to the people who know me. This train of thought lead to thoughts about writing an inspiring story about my "journey" and share it with other gamequitters or even linking to my journals in my social media accounts. 

But I pondered some more days about the question and I don't think that shame or fear of bad professional reputation are the reason that I don't want to share more. It is just my private life. It is ok for people I know to have a look inside my private thoughts and I am not ashamed to have them and to did what I did. But nobody has a right to look into me with just a few clicks in the internet. I don't want to be a public person right now.

I won't hesitate to share my story in person if someone is interested but I am not obligated to share it with anyone if I don't want to. Publishing this under my real name will enable anyone to read my private thoughts and feelings. Whilst I can defend them I don't want to have to defend myself. My private life is just that: private. I like it that I can share this here semi in public because I get feedback on my more or less anonymous account. 

And this sense for privacy is ok and is who I am. I don't have to be actually out in the open with everything if I am not ashamed of it. This is in fact no contradiction to beeing authentic. 

This leads to some consequences though. I won't be sharing more details of the real me. I won't become a official part of any role in the gamequitters team. I won't share this part of me with the world. I won't be as vulnerable in public. I won't make any public content (writing, video, etc) which deals with that part of me in detail. I most likely will not bond with other gamequitters in person (maybe if they contact me with pm's). 


@Hitaru @Mhyrion@giblets

How is your approach to this? Did/Do you even think about it? 

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In my case, I decided that embracing truth was the best option for me in the long-term. I want to be a public official, so I want people to see just how much I'm able to come clean, but I also had a personal... need? of being understood (which I now realize it will be practically impossible for anyone who's not me, at least not in a 100% way. And perhaps was a kind of masochist form of attention seeking).

This was really challenging. I had this... OK, wacko moment now. I had a clear premonition since childhood that hiding something about myself would harm me a lot in the future, much more than criticism. If I'm going to be critiqued or insulted, better be it with the truth. And so I made my decision. It happened through the course of my journal, as you'll be able to read. That's why you know really deep things about me: like I want to be a politician,  but have a childish fear of becoming an evil dictator just because I love a good melodramatic story,  and nothing would be so flashy as to be a cloaked villain. Or that I'm bisexual and into unconventional stuff, at least still in my head. Or that I have gender expression issues, or that I trash talk my family when I'm pissed off about really stupid things that they don't deserve because the only thing they do is sacrifice themselves to prolong my privilege. 

And you've seen my face, all this inside a person that is just... me, you know? I mean, I'm nothing special, I feel quite plain actually. Yet, I know the alternative: drown all these scary and controversial things under escapism and video games. I decided to take the insults, the hate, even the misunderstanding. And to be honest, I don't feel brave or morally superior for that, in fact many times I feel awkward or autistic, as if I didn't really get the rules of the game. But, it's done, and in some way, it's liberating. Now I can only watch with curiosity where all this matter-of-factness will lead me. I guess sometimes the most revolutionary and crazy thing you can do is just (to) be yourself. 



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I don't think my answer will be simple and may not value add, but privacy is a great topic that I love talking about thanks to my studies.

First thing though, is that authenticity and privacy are two separate elements of you. You can be authentic but private AF. An example that I can think of is one of the reasons I fell so deep into the dark hole that is WoW is because of how small close knit my guild was and how they were really authentic with each other. I didn't tell them anything about myself - they knew my first name because a friend of mine was in the guild and felt it weird calling me anything else while on Ventrilo - and I didn't ask them anything about them either - but we were all quite close. I took it very hard when I quit WoW so long ago that I would miss those guys and the bond we shared - even though I could walk past them in the street and have NFI who they were. I know and/or have worked with people who are not authentic at all and I knew quite a lot about them, they were quite open, etc etc, and I respected them less than a bar of soap. So I don't think the two elements are connected at all - if those 1,500 posts were authentic and intentionally helpful and value adding to people's lives, who cares if you keep the vast majority of your life private, that's your call.

For privacy - to me it falls into two categories - personal and data mining. Ignoring my upbringing and how my family kept a lot to themselves - even from each other - which made me tend to lean towards the conservative side of sharing information, I have found that being very open commonly does not value add. For example, when I was in college and then starting out in my job I shared a lot about myself and my past to try and help build friendships; but it didn't, all it did was provide fuel to people who lacked the self awareness to understand their actions. That may be an Australian thing - even @Cam Adair picked up on the 'tall poppy syndrome' while he was here - but it was also a contributing factor of why I despise Facebook. Facebook originally was designed for people to connect to each other - before it was an advertising platform - to get to know them and share information such as personal details or photos. What I found quite quickly is by doing that, people just tore it down, were overly critical; and then fabricated their lives to look better. What is the point of that? You can tend to see his IRL social circles too - everyone has been caught in that circle where they try to 'one up' or tell stories of how much better they are than the people around them. Who gives a fuck. From these two experiences I don't see the value in being very open with people unless I've worked out that their self awareness or emotional intelligence is at a point that it would be useful - which is generally after I have made them one of my close friends. For the record, I think I only have maybe two close friends right now :D

I initially was embarrassed to be on the site and admitting that I had a problem and needed help etc etc - but it was no different to being embarrassed that I was wasting my life away by spending over 365 days online in MMOs, or when people asked what I had been up to on the weekend and couldn't really respond with "leveling up my druid" without sounding like a retard, so making up stories of what I was doing or who I was hanging out with or places that I would go to. I think what really broke through the glass for me was when I caught up with a friend during my Vegas trip that I had met online (no it wasn't a crazy overnight thing - we have been talking for almost 10 years), who I was a bit nervous about telling him I was midway through the detox (about day 45 on attempt 2 at that point). But I just laid it all out on the table and said I had given up on gaming because I thought it was not helpful anymore, and he was surprisingly supportive and mentioned he was trying to do something similar. That made me realise that we are not unique with these problems and people around you are probably going through similar things and would appreciate your support or input as well. Since then I have gone out of my way to help people and have been dubbed on more than one occasion, "the Australian Tony Robbins". So I guess that is the other side of the argument/coin.

The second category is data mining, or 'big data'. Computing algorithms can work out every detail about you, or think they can work out every detail about you, for the pure single purpose of exploiting it for profit or control, by the amount of data people willingly (or unwillingly) provide over the internet. It is mind boggling and I can't believe people don't take it more seriously. Australia has more aggressive metadata mining/retaining laws/capability than the US - and the US has PRISM. That is scary. So why willingly put all this personal detail online, just so a mega corp can use it to work out when you should order new toilet paper? Or to work out that you are going to travel home for Christmas? Or how you are going to vote politically? (which has huge implications). I have been trying harder and harder to scrub my data from online and to surf more anonymously, but it is probably too late now. I heard a quote the other day on the Defensive Security podcast that "it has gone so far that we have lost total control of our own data".

Not sure if that really was the answer you were looking for but quite happy to keep flapping my gums about it B|

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On 12/31/2017 at 2:56 PM, WorkInProgress said:

So better not have a hang over tomorrow ?

Lol no! Hangover or not, I can't seem to make this a coherent piece of text anyway. ;p


To be honest, I didn't really think much about my privacy when first posting. Perhaps if I had thought it through more thoroughly before starting journaling, I would've kept it more private. At one point I felt ashamed and removed my profile picture. I am beyond that now (but deem it too unimportant to put it back up now). Sure, I've written stuff that borders on TMI and I might still relive the shame I felt then when I read it back. But we all start somewhere. Quitting games is now something I am proud of, something that made me who I am. People can see that side of me. That's also why I decided to post the selfie with Hitaru. Still, I didn't feel the need to point people to my journal besides hubby. Friends and family know that I connected with a community with other game quitters, but that's about it. They (anyone) could easily find me back if they would really like to play detective on me or asked about it more thoroughly. I don't think they care to that extent. In fact, I am quite sure noone beside me really cares about all the details I share. In that sense, I could keep my journal entries a lot shorter and to the point, but it serves me better with all the rambling in it. They do care about the bigger picture (progress (like: lost weight) and achievements (like: graduated)) and that's what they'll see and hear from me anyway without reading the journal on here.

If I had kept my journal more private from the start though, it would not have had the same use for me. Writing more freely allowed me express myself and help me navigate through emotions and hard times, and receive feedback and support needed. How much you share on this forum does indeed not reflect on how authentic you are as a person. You should use it in a way that helps you; whether that is to vent, to keep yourself accountable, to connect with others struggling with the same subjects, keep track of goals and progress, to express yourself, or any kind of thing that you can get out of it.

On 12/30/2017 at 10:42 PM, WorkInProgress said:

This leads to some consequences though. I won't be sharing more details of the real me. I won't become a official part of any role in the gamequitters team. I won't share this part of me with the world. I won't be as vulnerable in public. I won't make any public content (writing, video, etc) which deals with that part of me in detail. I most likely will not bond with other gamequitters in person (maybe if they contact me with pm's).

Nothing of this is obliged if you do not desire it or leads to a goal you strive for (also desire, I guess). And if you did any of this but not desired it, would it be authentic?

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Hey, Mario!

If you don't mind, I'll join with my thoughts.

I conciously decided to put my face out from the start for basically two reasons:

  • Accountability - I felt if I hid under a fake avatar, I'd not be as commited to the detox. I saw that as another escape. This was the main reason I put this picture on my profile and had my first and last name on it. I was ashamed of myself, but I was tired of running away. If I tried to hide this side of myself (as I had been doing for the last two years, lying to my wife and immediate friends about how I spent my free time), it would eventually find a way to creep back and haunt me. When I think back now, revealing had a huge impact on my success on the detox.
  • Leaving my comfort zone - Going public was something I hadn't done for the last 10 years or so. My social network accounts were not updated with news about me or the things I cared, though I logged in everyday to read and comment on friend's posts. I used to rationalize reasons to why whatever I might share would be irrelevant to everyone else. On the other side, I felt lonely here in Japan. I remember the exact feeling before clicking "Submit" on my first post. Felt like speaking in front of a huge audience about a topic I had no knowledge whatsoever. Anyway, whatever was that I was doing, was obviously not working on making me happier. So I decided to do the opposite and show my face.

With that said, I feel embarassed to read my own journal here (and that's why I haven't touched it in a long time). Embarassed - not ashamed. I'm actually proud of it. There is a bunch of people out there who can't face their demons in the eyes. People who can't see the strenght of what we do here are either too young or too naive.

I made my story public to my followers on Facebook when I finished the detox. It created a buzz for a while, people sent me messages, etc. It is there for everyone to see, and I still get a couple of views per week (it was posted on Medium). But there is no reason I'd bring that up again, unless someone I know asks for help. This is not something I'd like to focus on at the moment, but eventually I'd like to put effort on bringing more awareness to it within my circles of influence. I just have other, more urgent matters I need to deal with.

Be true to yourself and to what you want to do. Everything else will adjust in one way or another..

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Great topic and discussion. Overall my 2 cents is:

  1. Do what feels aligned with your values

  2. Live from a place of love instead of fear

Being open and vulnerable about your life experience can have an incredible benefit to others, as we have all seen by one silly Canadian being open about his story way back when, but healthy boundaries are fine and necessary too. I think privacy falls more on a spectrum than all-or-nothing. With that said, being able to share your story on the site anonymously still holds an incredible power for others and their journey.

I personally choose to live in alignment energetically with the world I envision and believe is worthy of creation. For instance, appearing on the Stefan Molyneux show cost me a brand partnership, even though we only discussed video game addiction and not politics. Now who they align with as a brand is their choice, but I'm personally not going to avoid having a conversation with a demographic of people simply due to their political views, when I believe the best opportunity to create a "better" world is by developing connections amongst all of us, even if we disagree on some things. I'd rather create a bridge of rapport than a jail of isolation.

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  • Hitaru featured this topic
  • 2 months later...

I think I struggle to find a balance between privacy and authenticity, partly because I feel that if I dwell for too long in the dark places of my mind I create bad habits for myself. To elaborate; if I’m writing in detail about some of the harder stuff to deal with, in writing I’m thinking of it more often. Whilst this is less of a privacy issue (I’m generally a pretty open person unless something may impact my safety/security etc) it is certainly an issue of authenticity. I frequently find myself lost in thoughts that I find difficult, and on the one hand I want to write about these to help others, but at the same time I don’t want to spend extra time dwelling on them myself, if that makes sense. It’s true that we shouldn’t avoid our problems, we certainly shouldn’t just ignore them, but I think at a certain point the reflection can become a counterintuitive indulgence. Circular thoughts that get caught in a pattern of repitition. In the end I’m starting to keep more things private because I just prefer to think about the specifics a little less, I’m worried that the more time I spend thinking about that stuff, the more I will tend to think about it when I don’t particularly want or need to. When there is negativity in my mind, I don’t want to risk making a habit out of it. 

I feel like I just said the same thing in multiple different ways, and even then I’m not sure if it really made much sense, haha. But thats my thoughts on it anyway.

To touch on what Reno F said about sharing his journal on Facebook, just the thought of doing that with my own makes me feel a bit anxious. I know my journal is public and that anyone who wants to read it can, and I’m totally fine with that, but in putting it on Facebook I’d just feel too judged by people who weren’t looking for it in the first place, if that makes sense. I shouldn’t care what others think of me, and I try hard to worry less, but I think I would really struggle with that. 

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