The way people find meaning is when they act in accordance with their deepest values within a community of like minded believers. (How To Achieve Greater Happiness - LivingOrSurviving.com) We need our actions to accord with what we really believe, the real me. This gives a person a sense of ownership and authenticity over their actions. If you are doing this then hopefully other people know who you really are and like you for it. (Building Your Resiliency-Part V: Recognizing and Utilizing Your Signature Strengths - The Art of Manliness and pp. 160-1, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment By Martin E P Seligman) Back in Oct. 2005 Matt Metzgar discussed Edward Deci’s work (Authenticity – Matt Metzgar). Deci is an advocate of Self-Determination Theory, which essentially holds that people are happier when pursing intrinsic goals. (See also Self-determination theory – Wikipedia) Matt points out that the basic problem is excessive seeking of approval from others. It seems to me that the problem of finding authenticity is simply an outgrowth of the trade-off between needing a community and needing autonomy. Of course, the ideal solution is to find a community that happens to believe everything you do. The problems start when you can’t.