Of the many different faces you show the world; which is the authentic one? Why do you spend eternity trying to find it? How will you recognise it?
I gave a talk a few years ago, which I advertised as “Who is the REAL You?” I was extremely surprised and gratified when a whole bunch of people came – then watched in horror as they left early. Although I knew what I wanted to say, it turned out that I didn’t manage to say it. Since then I’ve agonised over that night … what should I have said, where did I go wrong, how should I have presented the information? Ok, I plan to do it right, this time. But I need to make very clear – right up front – these are my own ideas. If you disagree with me, then I celebrate that! IT’S WORKING!
Society, in general, has a great fear of us finding our own Authentic Selves. We are persuaded, from childhood, to be gullible, manipulated, controlled, and managed. Seldom is it deliberate, or malicious, or even wrong. Parents often live their lives through their children (“I want you to have the opportunities that I never had.”), education systems try to make us fit in (“Focus, no time to daydream, don’t use your imagination, learn someone else’s words”), advertising takes our self-esteem and does terrible things with it (“You will only be a successful man/woman/lover/parent if you use this product or service.”), peers push and polish us into meeting their requirements (“Everyone’s wearing this, listening to that, eating/drinking whatever”), religion takes the high ground (“if you don’t believe in ME, you will be condemned to eternal darkness …. And your family will pay a terrible price.”); and sport/politics is in there, somewhere (“if you don’t support us, our lack of success is YOUR FAULT!”) Round and round we go, trying desperately to find a way to uncover who we really are.
Some time ago the spectre of “New Age” burst upon the scene. The same things were said, using different pictures, colours, words and concepts – but the control is the same. Again, please understand that I know that this is not necessarily deliberately manipulative, or harmful, or unkind, or wrong. All these have their place and have, indeed, helped millions of people. But there is an element that feeds on fear, ignorance and emptiness. If you don’t wear the correct colour (translation: “vibration”), you will never be healthy, if you don’t eat this, burn that, buy this particular brand of health product, or dangle whatever in your environment – you will never achieve your life goal. Added to that is some covert “fear of death” pressure … or you may even (are you sitting down?) GET OLDER (gasp!)
So, who is the Authentic You reading this? Let’s have a look at your childhood. That was when you were closest to being truly “Authentic” in this incarnation.
Were you allowed to use your imagination, or were you pushed and encouraged into “improving” yourself? There is nothing wrong with extra support and improvement for education, sport, social, financial, family, health, religion, ethnic, or whatever other reasons you can add; but was it at the expense of being allowed to simply be a child? Were you allowed to keep your dreams alive? Were you encouraged to keep your innocence intact for as long as you could – and then lose it with respect and kindness? Were you taught that it’s perfectly acceptable to be who you are; regardless of your shape, size, skin colour, abilities, gifts, skills, weaknesses and strengths? Were you given permission to have ideas outside the mainstream? Were you taught that respect is a mutual gift; that is given and received and, when necessary, can be demanded. Did you learn that gentleness does not mean weakness? Did you experience kindness, encouragement and gentleness; or ridicule, demands, or inappropriate expectations instead? Did you learn that there is a place for rules, regulations, structure, patience, compromise, negotiation, pain, vulnerability, loss and sadness – and that these can all be survived? Did you learn that hormones are yet another life skill? If not, then how did you cope, and what slightly different False You replaced the Authentic You. Let’s look at what you did to simply survive. And where you hid the Authentic Persona? Look at the very fiercely protective thinking you put in place to keep him or her safe.
I urge you to spend some time looking back, tracing back along the “track” that I mentioned last week, and find the place where the footsteps changed. That’s where you’ll find the Authentic You, the one with the dreams and the wisdom and the knowledge and the strength, which is still quietly waiting to be found.
The last part of the question I asked myself: how will you know it when you find it? It will be so simple, it will just fit you.
Word of warning: I was told this by a very wise woman – and this is written in stone, so just accept it and work with it: everyone you know will support you and encourage you to change, AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T UPSET THEM.
So, when you begin to make the changes you need to make, don’t fling yourself into this with joy and abandon and freedom, instead take small steps, do it slowly, almost imperceptibly, with kindness and respect. Follow your own “tracks” – your own Inner Tuition.
RECOMMENDED READING: “Homecoming” by John Bradshaw.