When you don’t like yourself for who you are, what’s the point of being liked for who you’re not.
Seeking our authentic self, is a quest for truth, as we begin to acquire the art of freer thinking, it makes it easier to drop the social mask we wear, and begin to reveal who we truly are. In society, hypocrisy is everywhere, we constantly present a false image, just to feel accepted. This causes emotional turbulence, as we never quite manage to accept ourselves as we really are, but with effort and discipline we can eventually stop desiring acceptance. Then we can begin to express ourselves without having to ask permission from others. We can learn to take control of our life, as the more disengaged from social acceptance we become, the more freedom we find. Making it easier to turn our backs to the crowd, as our way of thinking slowly stops being influenced by it. We begin to operate out of consciousness and not from suppression.
“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It is a practice, a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” (Brene Brown)
Discovering our authentic self.
Often, it’s not our authentic self we are looking at in the present moment, it’s a version of our past self. As we become an adult in society, we’re pretty much self sufficient, it’s easier to accept the default position. It requires no additional education, no additional development of skills, or any attempt to push through our comfort zone. We except the default status-quo position, which most people are only too happy to embrace, we are constantly changing, though not aware of these changes. Every minute, hour, day and year we’re shifting, growing, thriving, declining and getting older.
Furthermore, thousands upon thousands of actions, are functioning inside our body at any given moment, and we are completely unaware of them. At a deep level, we begin to realize there’s no such thing as constant “SELF” at all. “No man ever steps into the same river twice for it is not the same river and he is not the same man (Heraclitus) It’s similar to hiking in the mountains, we can’t resist looking back to appreciate the view, and to marvel at just how far we have traveled. If we could return to the same place again, it may look the same, but time has changed, places have changed, along with the people. We encounter new things, read books, take courses and travel to new places, everything is always in a state of flux.
Our authentic self is a goal that’s not often realized.
Trying to be our authentic self, is a process, we have to push ourselves to grow every day. If we were our “authentic self” right now, we would be completely confident, assertive, disciplined and internally grounded in our values. With zero fears and no negative thoughts of any kind, as healthy as we can possibly be, open and completely comfortable with our sexuality. It doesn’t mean being overweight without a medical reason, doing drugs or any other chemical dependence. Hence the body we are meant to have, if we live to our optimum state of being. As we progress, we realize there are many behaviours that we need to change, becoming more open minded, and willing to consider any idea or point of view. Always taking the high road rather than the low road in whatever we’re doing. This also applies to every relationship and interaction around us.
In every way we try to become the master of our life. Within society, we often have the impression that we’re free, in reality we’re a puppet, that is being manipulated by external forces. Trying to be authentic at a shallow level means, trying to “be ourselves” that “self” hopefully, is to be the best, we can possibly be. Part of my definition of authenticity, is trying to squeeze the most out of life. I have, and will make many mistakes in an effort to turn dreams into reality. Ultimately I may fail, but I will know, that I tried to the best of my ability. You may ask as I once did, “what’s the point to any of this” why don’t I just get drunk, except things as they are, enjoy myself and forget the whole concept of self-actualization.
Is being authentic a luxury that’s just too hard to follow.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was proposed in a paper, a theory of Human motivation in 1943. It’s depicted as a pyramid from base level needs, to top level needs. It has 5 levels, which are, Physiological needs, Safety, love/belonging, esteem and at the top of the pyramid self-actualization. There is actually one level above this, “self-transcendence” but that’s beyond my scope at the moment. I paraphrase Maslow here, but these are my believes also. Self actualization is actually not a luxury, but a requirement of our psyche. once we get the basics in our life down, we’re not going to just sit there. What’s going to happen, is our mind is going to slowly start to rot and our soul is going to rot from the inside out because we know that we’re destined for something much greater.
(Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder) Almost everything all external expectations all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure. These things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. There is no reason not to follow your heart. While talking about death, this quote also defines what we should be seeking in life, when we are trying to be our authentic self.