I work hard at being positive.  It's a new muscle flexing for me.

I didn't complain once in a conversation I just had with a friend.

I do get confused though about when to do the positive "as iffing" (i.e. "everything is going well") vs being authentic (i.e. " I dealt with some challenges re depression/loneliness").

Do I always act as if everything is fine?


Great question and opportunity for clarification! 

The answer, I think, depends on what we believe the function of the relationship is - such as support toward what works in life, toward the other's happiness, toward being a companion to them during a shared experience.

Self expression is not equal to "what's on my mind".  It is not a vomiting of the thoughts that come from Dumb and Dumber (see How The Mind Works).   (Or one could say that one would best not blurt out what Dumb And Dumber [or one's mechanical brain] fires off!) 

As said by a growth group leader, the self with the small s is concerned for survival (the mind wiring where old neuronal pathways are fired off in the effort to cover all contingencies for survival).  Operating from that small s position causes a "loss of power", which is the opposite of true self expression.

Note that in this thinking one must be careful not to "personify" the small self as a person, realizing it is just a useful metaphor, and not something to retreat into when scared. 

Self expression from the big S is about what will serve the whole, in total.  It is expression within an "ethical" framework. (See Ethics.)  But it would, in my opinion, never act to your damage overall in the long term, even if it were better for the whole.  Your benefit, in your world, is 1,000,000+ times more important than anybody else's (to you); if it serves you to be "unselfish" in your acts, then that is good; but if it doesn't, don't do it; life is learning about where the line is between the two.

True self expression is where you express yourself and feel a sense of power about it.  One must distinguish (notice) when one has a loss of power - and that means something is out or does not align with power.  (Power is getting something done that has a benefit.  If that is the case, your conversations would all be fun or progressive or have some benefit to yourself and the other person.  I think asking for support in something is valuable, but it must be done where the other person can fill the role and the agreement, to have it be progressive, must be kept - you best would honor their time and input.)  Well, shoot, I gotta take off now, but I'll send this to you incompletely, so you'll not be wondering if I'm responding.  to be continued....    


I think this might contribute to the authenticity issue:   Authenticity In Relationships:  True Authenticity (Relationships, communication)