Unleash Your Authentic Self

What exactly is the authentic self?  Let’s begin with a definition of authenticity which has been described as Authenticity means being real and genuine when you communicate.  We can add trustworthy, loyal and sincere as areas that are part of our authentic selves. The truth should guide you on your path.

Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman defined authenticity as “the unimpeded operation of one’s true or core self in one’s daily enterprise. (1)

Writers tend to agree that authenticity is something to be pursued as a goal intrinsic to “the good life.” And yet it is often described as an intrinsically difficult state to achieve, due in part to social pressures to live inauthentically, and in part due to a person’s own character. It is also described as a revelatory state, where one perceives oneself, other people, and sometimes even things, in a radically new way. Some writers argue that authenticity also requires self-knowledge, and that it alters a person’s relationships with other people. Authenticity also carries with it its own set of moral obligations, which often exist regardless of race, gender and class. The notion of authenticity also fits into utopian ideology, which requires authenticity among its citizens to exist, or which claims that such a condition would remove physical and economic barriers to pursuing authenticity.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―    C.G. Jung

To know ourself, our authentic self, is to embark on the greatest journey of all. Author, Hermann Hesse and psychologist, Carl Jung were pivotal influences in my own journey of discovery and both continue to be touchstones for my path in life.

In self-analysis we stop looking outward and focus inward. In doing so, we begin to strip away the compressed layers of conventional attitudes we are taught as ‘reality’, or how we should be, and begin to think for ourself, as we are, with all variables in play and in doing so we come into our authentic self. We do this not in a narcissistic way, where we use the world and others to inflate and gratify an immature grandiose-self, but quite the opposite, in a whole, non-fragmented way where we are functioning on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We detach from the world, just as we detached from our birth mother when we were born, in order to find our true identity and thus embrace the person we are.

http://asheham.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/carl-jung-journey-to-self-discovery/

 

 

The Authentic self is who we truly are or are aiming to be.  Those that choose enlightenment and want to be better people do so but now we add the public self to the equation and everything changes.  The public self is what “society” expects us to behave like, how we act, talk and our opinions are greatly influenced by what we should do.  This is not necessarily a bad thing for if we did not follow laws and behave in a civilized manner there would be repercussions for our actions.

Many people present a persona on Facebook that is contrary to who they truly are, is this to follow some norm?  Is our authentic self truly what we are projecting to the world of social media?  Or are we inclined to be pretending to be someone else just to fit in?

 

 

 

The authentic self is the soul made visible. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

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Behaving authentically means acting in accord with one’s values, preferences, and needs  as opposed to acting merely to please others or to attain rewards or avoid  punishments through acting ‘falsely.’ . . . Authenticity is not reflected in a  compulsion to be one’s true self, but rather in the free expression of core  feelings, motives and inclinations. (2)

Don Miguel Ruiz shares centuries of Toltec wisdom in his book The Four Agreements.  To apply this wisdom, choose to create these profound agreements with yourself:

1.Be impeccable with your word. Carefully examine what you tell yourself, what you tell others, and when you decide to speak. Use your word consistently to express and strengthen your values. Don’t employ or overlook factual errors, fallacies or, distortions during communications. Express yourself authentically. Earn trust. Do what you say.

2.Don’t take anything personally. It’s not all about you. Reject the fallacy of personalization. Rely confidently on your own well-founded self-concept; it is the only evaluation of your worth that matters. Challenge and balance your first-person viewpoint.

3.Don’t make assumptions. Suspend judgment. Readily acknowledge what you don’t know and have the courage to ask questions. Carefully examine the evidence. Don’t attribute intent to others. Retain a healthy skepticism as you avoid cynicism. Develop, refine, and constantly apply your own well-founded theory of knowledge.

4.Always do your best. Do all you can while you recognize you can’t do it all. All you can do is all you can do. When you have truly done your best, there is no reason for shame. It’s ok to goof off if you do your best when it matters the most. Apply your time and effort toward your well-chosen and enduring goals.

If you are ready to explore and unleash your authentic self start with these three simple tasks and see where they take you.

1.  Sit in silence with yourself every day.

Living an authentic life means taking action from the inner confidence of intuition. Most people have no idea what their intuition feels like because they are so busy. We do not stop to listen to what we truly desire.  Our culture values productivity over peace and tranquility.   Cultivate and harness your voice of intuition.  it will always lead you to where you need to be.  You need to be able to actually hear it,  practice the art of silence every day — even if it’s only for 5- 10 minutes at a time.

2.  Be vulnerable. That’s Where The Real Power Lies.

If we want to live an authentic life, be more real, feel more alive, empowered, and fulfilled then we need to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is facing these emotions of shame, fear, guilt, frustration, and grief.  It’s only when we connect with our pain and move through it that we connect with the emotions of love, joy and happiness on the other side.

Have the courage to be still and feel what you feel, don’t run from it. Being vulnerable is real strength. It’s the ability to honour your boundaries. It means having the confidence to be the real you even if it’s not pleasant. Being vulnerable is the path to authenticity.

3. Fulfill Those Dreams.  Write out the steps you will need to take in order to live that dream and take your first “next step.” It won’t feel overwhelming if you focus on one step at a time.

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

References:

1. Wright, Karen (May 01, 2008). “Dare to be yourself”. Psychology Today.

2. Kernis, M. (2003). Toward a conceptualization of optimal  self-esteem. Psychological Inquiry, 14, 1-26.

NEXT BLOG IS ON MODERN HERBOLOGY

The Power of HealingTouch

After a stressful week, all I could think about was my upcoming massage appointment which was this past Monday.  Now, for me massage is one of the things I use for pain management often brought on by stress.  Stress takes it’s toll on many of us, leaving some of us with sore backs, & tense shoulders, the list continues.  My lower back had been in knots for several days and that tension was also wreaking havoc with my IBS and knee pain.

Upon my arrival at the massage therapy centre I was feeling emotionally worn out, tired, sad, lonely, etc.  Once inside the room where the massage was to take place I told Amy ” I am feeling very emotional today so if I have a cry, don’t be surprised.”  She immediately asked me ‘ if I wanted a hug?”.  I said “Yes,please.”.  We hugged and I know that hug was what I needed more than anything.  I thought to myself Monday night after the massage, why didn’t I ask for a hug?  Well I am going to ask whoever is around when I need a hug but now I know what I need.

What I did not realize is how good it feels to be pampered for 45 minutes under the gentle touch and care of my talented and kind hearted massage therapist Amy.  I have only seen her twice for treatment but she truly listens to where I tell her my body hurts and offers suggestions to me that are extremely helpful..We also discuss things going on in my life that are causing me additional pain and hurt..I laid down on the massage table on top of a warm towel, the room smelled of flowers, the lighting minimal and the music peaceful and serene.

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We undervalue the power of touch.  When we are babies psychologists tell us that we require cuddling and attention from our Mother’s or we may develop abandonment issues later on during the preschool years.  Those hugs and kisses were given freely and with much care behind them but as adults we do not often see the value a hug or a touch can bring to ourselves and the other person.

In life we have burdens that we must carry which Amy and I discussed at great length.  Both of us recall from our university days – she in massage therapy, while I was pursuing a BA degree in psychology that psychological and physical stress combined with heavy responsibilities creates tension ( the burden we bear goes to our backs).   It is also important to note that responsibilities involving our jobs, paying the bills, etc. are just as heavy as the obligations and expectations our loved ones and families have of us and the ones we want for ourselves.

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Healing touch is not just limited to humans, our pets want us to hold them, carry them and hug them too.  They radiate love … Trust me on this one if you are a dog owner don’t tell me rubbing their tummies does not make you feel just as good as they do, while you are doing it.

Many people can be reached with a hug, a stroke of their shoulder or holding their hand.  No words are required when we see people in pain or feeling hurt…  I dare you to stand up and hug someone and soothe a soul without saying a word..

My massage on Monday left me pain free, relaxed and full of energy but this was not a clinical massage.  This was beyond that, it was two virtual strangers being human, I see your pain, I feel your pain, and I am going to lessen that pain with a hug.

If you would like to read more material on the topic of Healing Touch, please follow this link for some research findings at http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/02/massages-mystery-mechanism-unmas.html

Strategies for Strengthening Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself as a person. Those with high self-esteem believe that they are adequate, strong and worthy of a good life, while those with low self-esteem feel inadequate and worthless. Low self-esteem can develop in childhood and continue throughout adulthood, causing great emotional pain. Therefore, it’s important to develop a healthy, positive sense of self.

Low self-esteem has been linked to depression and/or anxiety. If your emotions feel overpowering or out of control, one way to build self-esteem around this issue is to learn to manage your mood and gain control over your feelings. Some people are able to do this with the help of friends and family. Others need to work with a mental health professional to manage the problems that lie beneath the surface of low self-esteem.

Strategies for Strengthening Self-Esteem

Recognize how you’re attacking yourself. Identify what you may be doing to perpetuate your low self-esteem. For instance, you might find that you are surrounding yourself with toxic people who further lower your self-esteem. You may not be aware that others talk down to you. Some people don’t voice their needs/wants and let others speak for them.

Once you can recognize the ways you sabotage yourself, you can work through them. Take the initiative and start voicing your needs. If you’re finding you are too passive, learn ways to become more assertive.   Start small: Ask your partner to turn the television down, say no to an event you don’t want to attend or something that is being asked of you that you do not want to do.

Identify and challenge self-critical thoughts. Certain distorted thought patterns enable low self-esteem. A common distortion is personalizing things; one example is seeing yourself as more involved in negative events than you really are.  Maybe you take full responsibility for your spouse’s medical conditions, or for your boss’s anger.

Remember that you may be able to influence someone’s behavior but you certainly didn’t cause it nor are you necessarily responsible for it.

You also can learn to challenge other negative thoughts, such as: “I’m a loser,” or “I can’t do anything.”

Find out who you are. A healthy self-esteem also means having a quiet happiness about who you are, but first you need to know who that person is. Each individual must determine his/ her own values, principles, and moral standards and live by them

What do you value in life? What matters to you? Once you can pinpoint your values, you might even realize that the very things you beat yourself up about have nothing to do with your goals. One example is a man I know who berated himself for not earning a high enough salary and felt he was letting his family down. But when we explored his goals and dreams, he realized that helping others and spending time with his family were more important than earning a specific income.

A healthy self-esteem doesn’t mean thinking you’re flawless; it means knowing realistically what you need to work on and making the necessary changes.  If you’d like to be more social, you could join a social club, volunteer, or start a new hobby.  If you don’t like that people walk all over you, research material on establishing appropriate boundaries.

Learn what lights you up. People with low self-esteem often have a long can’t-do list. Start a what you can do list.

For instance, a friend of mine saw herself as a shy person but wanted to try stand-up comedy.  I encouraged her to join a local group of amateur female comedians.  She thoroughly enjoyed it and still attends on a monthly basis.  She tells me that this is the best thing she ever did and her self-esteem has soared.

Accept your imperfections. Think of your best friend, partner or kids. Why do you love them? Undoubtedly it has little to do with their flawless traits. We don’t wait to love others until they’re perfect.

“Love is a choice and a commitment that we make each day, despite our imperfections.

Take Good Care of Yourself

Another way you can build your self-esteem is to take very good care of yourself. You may take very good care of others and put your own personal care last. You may be so busy that you don’t take the time to do the things you need to do in order to stay healthy. You may feel so badly about yourself that you don’t bother to take good care of yourself anymore.

Practice healthy habits. It’s important to prepare your brain — maximizing the health, function and receptivity to new learning of neurons — before studying new skills. This includes feeding your body nutritious foods, participating in physical activities, getting enough sleep and treating medical or psychological conditions.  For example, if one has been shamed by physical abuse, it is  critical to heal the emotional wounds first before trying to get to a more positive place.

Some of the things you can do to take good care of yourself include:

•Eating three meals a day that are focused on healthy foods—fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grain foods and rich sources of protein like chicken and fish.

•Avoiding foods that contain large amounts of sugar, caffeine and food additives. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you may want to avoid it.

•Getting outside and exercising every day.

•Spending some time each day doing something you really enjoy.

•Spending time each day with people who make you feel good about yourself.

•Having regular check-ups with your health care providers.

Again, having a positive self-esteem isn’t selfish. It’s important for leading a fulfilling, healthy life, which in turn helps you help others.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

~ Judy Garland

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Joy of Forgotten Treasures

  Sunday evening I started an intensive reorganization of my office. As a writer, singer, herbalist student, very amateur musician or rather dabbler, and crafter my space is extremely limited and as such I am always coming up with space saving ideas. I began doing a visual review of what needs to be rearranged and discovered a collection of angel pictures and ornaments I had forgotten about, There is a small bookcase I was able to utilize to display these items and I was most pleased with my discovery and new display They now sit beside my waterfall which is now flowing and that too is a treasure I enjoy to watch.

  Angels make me think of Christmas and pleasant memories, human decency, kindness and love. Maybe this is why these angels mean alot to me they allow me to be in a special place.

  To create,one requires a certain ambience and those forgotten treasures are a part of who I am in many ways. Funny how as we get older we change, life changes, seasons pass but those forgotten treasures will remain the same.

Grateful for Being Able to Give From My Pocket & from My Heart

Being Thanksgiving I wanted to reflect upon the many blessings that we have in our lives.  To be of good health, to have loving, genuine, people in my life, to have enough food & water, a home, to afford to have animals, my dear angel Molly who loves me unconditionally, enough clothing, to afford to go on a holiday.  To people in third world countries I would be seen as extremely wealthy and YET there are so many people that want more than this!  When is enough, enough?   People wait in line for hours to get the latest cellphone.  I have no idea who you are trying to impress; I am not remotely interested in that.

 

 

Give of your heart; give a little if you can to those in need not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  In everyday life give back a little hope, a little sunshine.   One does not always have to give money, give a pair of gloves or an old jacket to a local shelter or to a street person.  Take a few cans of food to the Food Bank that are in your cupboard.  Do one even better than that; give someone in need something anonymously.   Maybe give a gift card to a local grocery store or drop off a Christmas tree to a family in need.

 

 

WHO INSPIRES YOU TO BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE

As a young writer at the age of nine I was instantly inspired by music to write.  As, I grew older I found that music was my muse in many ways.  If my mood was high I would listen to rock music and when it was mellow I would listen to Stevie Nicks.  I think anyone that enjoyed the music of Fleetwood Mac found Ms. Nicks to be enchanting, mystical and unique.  A tiny little lady with such a dynamic stage presence that all eyes were on her.  She has not had an easy life, there have been drug problems, weight issues, etc, and yet she remains positive about her life and continues to do what she loves and that is to sing.  What I admire about Stevie is she ventured out on her own in a predominantly male orientated industry and became a successful solo artist in her own right.  But what I admire more than that is that she has and always has remained a “REAL person.  She inspires me to be a little different, to see things outside the box.  Her music creates an ambience in which I can find peace and sereniy in an often insane world.  Her obstacles inspire many to keep going, no matter what.

 

My partner inspires me to be REAL everyday.  He always supports my creative endeavours and my dreams.  I admire Marty because he is a genuine person and sees beyond himself.

 

 

 

 

 

My dog Molly inspires me to be a better person, being that she is sensitive I have to always remember that she gives me all her love and attention and she deserves that from me. She has taught me to be more accepting of life and to remain calm in many situations.

Who inspires you?

What Birds, Peaches and Tennis Balls Taught me About Life

Does anyone remember the saying “ A little  bird told me?” I am choosing to use birds as that gut feeling a person gets when  you know you made the wrong choice or decision.  You know the one I mean, when  you realize you should have been more cautious in your business dealings with that person.  It is a pang of sorts, as if your instincts are saying listen up,  heed the signs.  Often it is strongest when someone is trying to manipulate you  into doing something that you do not want to do; when their soul purpose is to  gain something from you for their best interest, not yours.

Peaches represent the the sweet and loving  people that I treasure in my life and all the little things that make living  truly worthwhile.  The call you get from a friend to see how you are.  A card  from a loved one when you are sick, the neighbour that brings you flowers.  Your  partner that cares enough to work more so you can deal with your health  conditions and not have to worry about working.   It can simply be the sounds of  crickets in the fields at night,  the smell of fresh rain, and the cuddly puppy  that jumps into your arms at the end of the day.  Even in the darkest moments,  always remember to love and appreciate your peaches because they are not all  going to be sweet.

Tennis balls represents  the obstacles one  does not see coming.  The unexpected little surprises that feel as if one has  been plummeted with tennis balls and cannot catch all of them at once.  The  proverbial balancing act where rationale can go out the window and what I call  “the who cares already” zone emerges.