This was sent to me by a dear friend. I liked it so much, I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!!!
Have you ever had a moment when someone describes how they see you, and inside you just say that is so not me? This past week I had a few of those moments. The circumstances were not that dramatic; however, it caused me to pause and ask myself why does this person see me that way? Why do I project that ‘mask’ with other people? Why do I, at some level, feel the need to hide behind that image; when if questioned, I know in the confines of my own being that is not the person I wish to be. Why not choose thoughts, language and behavior that are consistent with my ‘authentic self?’
Over the past several weeks a dear friend encouraged me to ‘engage’ with people who cross my path; instead of moving past them trapped in my own little world. She keeps reminding me that I’m better than that … and I should choose a different behavior. My response was to deflect her question by ‘level shifting’ and moving on to a safer topic. A few days later a peer asked my forgiveness for misjudging me – that my external tunnel vision was not the real person she experienced lately. Although I appreciated the gesture, which was genuine and heart felt; I immediately went to asking myself why the incongruity between what I project and the real me? Am I being ‘authentic’ in who I am and what I’m projecting to other people? I guess the quick and dirty answer is no – not always. I sometimes struggle with this part of my personality … something I am committed to changing!!
What does being ‘authentic’ mean for you? Venturing outside my box, I asked a few people to share their view of what it meant to be their ‘authentic self.’ Conceptually most answered consistent with Dr. Phil’s definition “the authentic self is the ‘you’ that can be found at your absolute core. It is the part of ‘you’ not defined by your job, function or role. It is the composite of all your skills, talents and wisdom. It is all of the things that are uniquely yours and need expression, rather than what you believe you are supposed to be, say and do.”
Then as if on cue, people continued to reflect on the subject and it became obvious how they condition their responses to certain situations from a place of how other people expect them to respond. Or they begin to rationalize their choices consistent to certain acceptable roles such as husband, wife, parent, boss, friend, man, woman, or business person, etc. Oftentimes we live behind these ‘masks’ or roles without even recognizing how they compromise who we are at our core. One author stated it succinctly by saying “do what you say and do who you are.” In my personal affirmations, I summarize this sentiment by repeating “live passionately in the flow of life conscious and aware” and listen to my “inner voice.” Over the years, I have personally concluded that when I fail to listen to my ‘inner voice’ a ‘parade of horribles’ inevitably occurs in my life.
Dr. Carol Adrienne writes in her Article entitled “Authenticity” that “the voice of the authentic self seems to be the same as the intuitive voice, that quiet, but persistent voice that whispers new ideas to us in the middle of the night, on vacation, or after meditating. Intuition speaks in short, clear messages that are qualitatively different from the repetitive mind chatter that makes us feel anxious. Intuition tells us where the authentic choice is – for us.” Dr. Adrienne continues by describing an interview with a client by asking the woman “what is the first step in identifying what she wants.” The client answered the question in the negative by saying: “I don’t want to be dependent on anyone. I don’t want to feel unsure of myself. I don’t want to be tired all the time. I don’t want to be negative, to always see the down side, or to expect the worst. I don’t want to be a fearful worry-wart. I don’t want to be a people-pleaser. I don’t want to feel that I am not being authentic.”
In the Article “Your Authentic Self,” Dr. Phil states that failing to live consistent to your authentic self creates this feeling of incompleteness, as if there is a “hole in your soul.” When we continually live from this place we feed the “fictional self” that results in “draining the critical life energy we need to pursue the things we truly value.” When we live consistent to our ‘fictional’ self we are “putting our trust in a broken compass.” An interesting movie entitled The Compass (similar in presentation to The Secret) was released earlier this year focusing on living consistent to our inner guide or compass.
Dr. Suzanne Zoglio in her Article titled “Living Full – Living True: The Authentic Life” that “when you fashion a life where the decisions you make and the actions you take are considered, deliberate, and in harmony with what’s important to you, you are living an authentic life. It is not necessarily a life that ‘others’ admire or think is right for you, but a life that you know in your heart is right for you. It may not be a life that has been your habit, but it is a life that makes you greet each day with enthusiasm and sleep peacefully at night.” Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements suggests a transformational path to get in alignment with your inner self and to live an authentic life by creating four agreements for yourself:
- Be impeccable with your word. Carefully examine what you tell yourself, what you tell others, and when you decide to speak. Speak with integrity.
- Don’t take anything personally. It’s not all about you – reject the fallacy of personalization. Rely on your own well-founded self-concept – be immune to the opinions and actions of other people and you will avoid being a victim.
- Don’t make assumptions. Suspend judgment. Carefully examine all the facts, acknowledge what you don’t know and have the courage to explore and ask questions.
- Always do your best. Do all you can while you recognize you can’t do it all. But by doing your best given the situation it will help you avoid self-judgment, self abuse and regret.
When you accept these agreements in your life you begin the work of transformation; the journey toward your authentic self will be your reality. In the quietness of your own being ask yourself: Is your behavioral life, your public persona, at odds with the values, beliefs, desires, passions and visions that define your authentic self? What ‘masks’ do you hide behind to shelter your authentic self from being present in the moment? How are you living a compromised existence?
I hope you enjoyed the reflection, and take the time to consider how you can live a more authentic life today and beyond. Most of all I hope you make it a GREAT day and week!!