Letting Go For The Authentic Self

Letting Go For The Authentic Self

Letting Go For The Authentic Self

authenticityDid you know that authenticity is inextricably linked to happiness? To be authentic is to feel at home in your body, accepted into a particular group, and to feel true to our sense of values. It is a kind of confidence that doesn’t come from attaining something outside of ourselves, but knowing deeply we are enough whatever our particular feelings, needs, or skills are and that we add to the greater whole of life and matter. We can be true to our own personality, spirit, or character despite external pressures.

Authenticity is one of the most important ingredients in creating a healthy and sustainable relationship. Yet it can also be one of the most challenging to practice on a day-to-day basis. Why? the answer is simple: fear. We fear that if we showed up as we truly are—saying, doing, and feeling the real things that are going on within us without augmenting or censoring ourselves in any way—that others might disconnect from us, feel upset with us, or even leave us.

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.”
—Brené Brown

Authenticity: The Ultimate Practice of Letting Go

Brené Brown, who has spent the past ten years studying authenticity, writes in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection: “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.” Choosing authenticity means:

  • cultivating the ability to be imperfect
  • allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, and
  • setting boundaries.

If we aren’t being authentic with our deeper feelings and needs, then we can’t establish healthy boundaries. 

One of the things I personally practice and share with my students that enhances authenticity is to choose “discomfort over discontentment.” For example, when fear arises, it can feel uncomfortable and to avoid discomfort we can distract or push away how we really feel and what we really need—but this is ultimately never satisfying.

There is a risk involved when we put ourselves out there personally and professionally. However, if we don’t honor our true feelings and needs, they will eventually leak out when we sometimes least expect it and cause harm to oneself and others. The more we practice authenticity, the easier it becomes to live and lead from this place.

Source: https://www.mindful.org/4-questions-foster-authentic-self/

Where Is My Authentic Self?

Where Is My Authentic Self?

Where Is My Authentic Self?

Psychologist Andrea Mathews walks us through the beginning of the discovery process – as we come to understand that we are not who we thought we were …

“I’m not myself,” “I don’t know why I do that!” “I didn’t mean it!” “I don’t know why I’m crying!” These are all statements made when we become slightly aware that we are out of touch with the authentic Self. Self with a capital “S.” It has a capital “S” because it isn’t the same as the identity, which we often refer to as self.

What is “The Identity”?

Identity vs authentic selfThe identity is a mask and costume that we have worn since we introjected the thinking, feeling and behaviors projected onto us by parents, caregivers, family, religion and society. That identity can act, it can think, it can even feel. It can do that because we have moved the sense of self into a mask and costume that we have worn so hard and for so long that we think it is who we are. But it isn’t who we are—it is who they needed us to be. It is who we became in order to belong to them. And we think that it is our survival.

But all along, while we are living in that identity, the authentic Self is coming forth through the small cracks in the identity. Perhaps we feel this as a deep longing for something, or perhaps we surprise ourselves with something we say or do, or perhaps we just slowly begin to look deeper and find new aspects that have previously been undiscovered. When it surprises us, we often very quickly stuff it back into the unconscious. We do that because it rocks our boat. We do that because it has said or done something that makes us temporarily aware that we are not happy with our lives, with our relationships, our careers, or our own behaviors.

Why Do We Abandon The Authentic Self?

We come here as a Self. But we are born, most of us, into families who need us to be something. They need us to be something, something very commonly other than who we actually are. They may be projecting their own unresolved stuff onto us, so that, for example, we might be “asked,” through this projection, to play bad guy to their good guy role. That would be because they feel such shame attached to being “bad” that they need to believe that they are never bad. So, someone else has to live that out for them. That’s just one example of many. But all the while we are playing the identity, after we have introjected and identified with that projection, we are not living out the authentic Self.

And all that time the authentic Self is trying to find little ways to show itself to us. It wants us to come to know it intimately. It means to give us the peace of congruence. It means to show us who we are so that we can become that in our daily lives. It means to point out our original thoughts, our original beliefs and our genuine feelings and behaviors. It means to finally bring us home to our own souls (a term that can be seen as liberally synonymous with Self).

How Do We Reconnect With The Authentic Self?

We look for the Self within. We look for it in earnest desires, in genuine emotions, in original thoughts, in behaviors that have always wanted to manifest. We don’t find it in other people’s opinions, social or cultural belief systems, social mores, familial agendas or other external data. We find it by looking for it within.

So, the journey may begin with inner dialogue, in which the identity begins a conversation with the authentic Self. Letter writing to and from the Self, poetry to and from the Self, artwork that comes from the Self, or just taking note of genuine emotions that one has normally and previously repressed. The journey is a quest for the Holy Grail of the Self. It is a deeply spiritual journey, for it intends to unite us with our own wholeness. And those who take this journey are challenged to get the deeper meaning from difficult emotions, to draw boundaries with people who are toxic, to nurture and care for the Self even when the external rules of play would say that they should bow to another agenda. It is both the most challenging and most rewarding of all possible journeys.

Source: Andrea Mathews