“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Dr. Brené Brown
By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
Living authentically is when the peaceful, confident core of your being directs the inner and outer aspects of your life. It means operating from your truest inner-self, so you can be the person who you were meant to be and to experience life empowered.
We each have an inner compass, our entelechy, which guides us toward our authentic life. The entelechy is the fullest realized essence of a thing, i.e.: The oak tree is the entelechy of an acorn, and a full grown adult is the entelechy of a human infant. Dr. Jean Houston, in her book “The Wizard of Us”, teaches that the entelechy is that Essential Self that longs to be expressed and remains your gentle guide.
However, outside forces may interfere with this central guidance. Parents, schools and other elements of society try to mold you to act in a certain manner. This socialization is done with the highest of intentions to keep you protected. Just as animals seek safety within a herd, most people want to limit others’ differences. They believe that it is safer for you to be like everyone else so that your family and society will support you.
In an effort to fit in you might find that you don’t express who you are. You hide yourself from your colleagues, friends and family. This creates conflict for your authentic self, and when it’s hidden for too long, you might even forget what, and who, you have been hiding.
Interestingly, unhappiness and anxiety may be the entelechy’s language to return you to your lost self. Instead of avoiding your body sensations and emotions, take a look at them, listen to the message and return to authenticity.
TO RECONNECT WITH YOUR TRUE SELF
What did you love as a child – art, music, dance, writing, etc? The exuberant joy you felt as a child is often your window to your REAL self. So begin now: Join a class, get paper and pastels, pick up that instrument, join a chorus or dance in your home. Do something NOW to begin your journey towards your authentic self.
If you don’t know what to do, do anything. If it feels good, do it more. If it doesn’t, do something different.
Don’t betray yourself and don’t negotiate your integrity. Compromise is fine when it is done willingly, but if you agree to something out of fear or to try to be “the good girl or boy” your inner self will know. You will be angry with the other person, but your deepest anger and feeling of betrayal is directed at yourself.
Acknowledge and accept all aspects of yourself including the qualities that you pretend don’t exist (the shadows). Sometimes your shadow is a behavior that you exhibit but won’t acknowledge. Other times it’s a behavior that you don’t demonstrate but unconsciously wish that you would. When these behaviors are seen in others, you will most likely feel anger or annoyance. Once again the deepest anger or frustration is not with the other, but rather the inner disappointment for not honoring the self.
Are you in the job you wanted for yourself, and if so, are you still happy with it? If changing your job or career is not a possibility, strive to incorporate your true passions into your life through hobbies, interests or volunteering.
Develop your inner confidence. Ironically, as you become more self-assured you can live more authentically. The more authentic you become, the more confidence you will feel and express.
When you respond to others, are you being who others expect you to be instead of being you? While it seems advantageous to fit yourself to the expected molds so as not to be difficult or different, it is much more important for you to be your true self. Dr. Brené Brown reminds you to show up, be real, be honest and let your true self be seen.
At your very core is the driving force to be authentic. Recognizing, acknowledging, and empowering yourself to be who you really are will enhance your confidence, joy and inner peace.
Don’t ever forget Who You Really Are.
Judy Lipson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and educational strategist in West Bloomfield. She helps clients of all ages who have learning difficulties; work or school related anxiety; ADHD; Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorders; and those who wish to Remember and Become Who You Really Are. Contact Judy at 248.568.8665 and email@example.com, and visit www. SpiralWisdom.net for more information.