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 Inner Shift to Enlightenment

 

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. Buddha

 

Sometimes this inner shift comes with age but always through the attainment of knowledge.  One enters a period of enlightenment where the material world is no longer your focus.  An inner shift is when you realize that true abundance is much more about “being” than it is about “having,” “going,” “doing” and “getting.”   It is here, you discover to your great delight that your unconditioned self is made of everything you are trying to find in the world. Yes, you truly have it all.  Joy is your spiritual DNA.  Love is your original energy and your true nature is already free. Your true nature begins to materialize, you naturally experience a life that is rich in every way.

 

Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Morihei Ueshiba

Though you may travel the world to find the beautiful, you must have it within you or you will find it not. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings

The Strait of Georgia encompassed me as I stood at the top of the freshly rain laden mound.  I took in a long breath in awe of it’s enormity.   As I walked further down, the water became closer and more expansive.    I felt like a mere speck in the universe only having experienced this once before in Oahu as night fell and the sun set for the day.  In Hawaii when the water embraced the sun, when the union of the world below merged with the world above my heart skipped a beat and with it my feet tingled.  It was in that moment I knew there was something larger than me at the end of this game, we call life.  There is a power greater than myself that has given me so many blessings.  How selfish humans are in so many ways, we do not appreciate nature as much as we should. There is an innocence and peacefulness in these waves I view in the distance, that beckons me to continue walking.  My mind and body are calm and at ease.  The wind gently pulls at my hair that was in a ponytail, now flowing freely around my face.  I hear the comforting sound of birds and see several boats sailing in the deep jade coloured waters as the night began closing in.  The mist below my feet starts to rise and with it my visibility becomes reduced..  One can describe a certain balance that I sense is entering my consciousness or is it just what one’s natural state is meant to be?  Are we so convoluted with technology and worries that we fail to arrive home very often?  To me, this was worth a lifetime and yet seems a lifetime ago.

7 Steps to Complete Inner Peace

Inner peace is one of the most valuable assets that we can cultivate.  Nobody can give us inner peace, but our own thoughts that can rob us of our inner peace.   We can experience inner peace right now, exactly where we are. One does not need to travel to a sacred temple or to India to find it.  The most important criteria is to value the importance of inner peace.   If we truly want inner peace, we will strive to make it a reality.

These are some suggestions for bringing more peace into your mind.

 

1. Limit your time reading negative material and watching the news.

It is true, that we can try to detach from this negativity. But, in practise ,we will make our progress easier if we don’t spend several hours ruminating over the problems of the world.  Once I limited, if not completely removed myself  from watching the news and reading the newspapers I found my energy levels and outlook on life became more positive.

It has become too easy to automatically switch on the TV or surf the internet when we have a few free minutes.   Take the opportunity to be still and enjoy a relaxed state of mind free of conflict and responsibilities.  As a writer I find when I turn off the television and the internet my mind tends to become more aware and more creative.

 

2. Control of Negative Thought Processes:

It is our thoughts that determine our state of mind and body.   If we constantly cling to negative and destructive thoughts, inner peace will always remain at  a distance.   Begin by turning these thoughts around.  If you feel you failed at something look a what you learned in that situation.  Train yourself to think ” I did the best I could” and forgive yourself as well.  This requires practise. – We cannot attain mastery of our thoughts over night. But, at the same time we always have to remember that we are able to decide which thoughts to follow and which to reject.  You are NOT a helpless victim to your thoughts.

We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”
―    Elizabeth Gilbert,    Eat, Pray, Love

 

3. Simplify Your Life & Home:

Learn to say “No”.   We can feel that we never have enough time to fulfill all our tasks. Take time to simplify your life; there are many things that we can do without, quite often we add unnecessary responsibilities to our schedule.  Do the most significant tasks, one at a time, and enjoy doing them. To experience inner peace, it is essential to avoid cluttering our life with unnecessary activities and worries.  Organize our activities and appointments in daytimers, use a filing system to find important documents.  We also may want to purge ourselves of things, perhaps clothing and items that we no longer use.

Balance is key here as well.  I have learned many ways to maximize my time, such as running a few errands together.  I balance household responsibilities and time I need to ensure I stay healthy – going for walks with the dog to prevent back pain and keep chronic pain at bay with my free-lance writing and my coursework as a student.  Yet, I am still able to spend time with loved ones and friends.

The things I do not desire to do I do less of.  It all comes down to priorities and what really matters now.  Will it matter if the laundry gets done tonight or another day?  So what if the sink is full of dishes that will wait til tomorrow.

 

4. Spend time to cultivate inner peace.

Most weekdays we spend 8 hours a day at a job, surely we can find time to spend 15 minutes to cultivate inner peace?  No matter how much money we have, it will never  bring us inner peace.  I am able to sneak in at least an hour a day to do things alone that allow me to maintain a state of peace in my busy life.  I enter my office ( sanctuary) and listen to music, burn incense and listen to my waterfall and the world falls away.

One can get creative with this one, so maybe you can’t find ten minutes a day for inner peace at home.  Maybe our lunch break at work might be a place we can slip away for ten minutes to meditate.  Some friends I know take a little drive after work and sit at the park for 15 minutes to unwind and meditate while others demand 30 minutes when they get home from work to be left alone.

If all else fails listen to some  relaxing music in your car on your way to and from work.  This can be a great stress reliever as well..

 

5. Avoid Criticizing People:

If we want inner peace, we need to be more accepting of others.  If we are indifferent to the feelings of others, then it is impossible to have inner peace for ourselves. What we give out comes back.  The old karma thing.  If you offer a peaceful attitude to others you will find that this will be returned ten fold.  Not everyone will return a peaceful attitude and those people that prefer not to, let them worry about it, that is there stuff.

 

6.  Let Go of Perfectionism:

We are not perfect nor is the world or anyone else.  Stop being so hard on yourself.  Nobody ever died from a messy livingroom.  It can be quite freeing to let go of having to do everything perfectly.  When we do this we also allow others to help us if we ask.

 

7.  One final point, stop worrying.  This serves no purpose, things are going to happen as they do.  We can convince ourselves we have all this control but we often don’t.

Peace

Namaste

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your Spirit Need A Boost – reblog from 2011.

Ever have one of those days where you are just in a weird funk and you need a boost?  I keep a folder in my email that is called From the Heart and I  read some of the things my dear friends and loved ones have sent to me..  or I go to a special shoebox in my closet and read all the cards I have from people I love… this makes me feel so very blessed and loved.. A. Penn (c) 2011.

Someone once said that love can conquer all things.  That did not make sense to me but it does now.

Today let us remind ourselves that there is much love around us and we should be grateful for all that we do have.

Love & light

Angi

Is Your Butterfly Awake?

Many of us have become accustomed to performing certain duties and taking on specific roles in our lives.  We do what is expected, what is required, what one must do to complete tasks.  We sometimes do things or don’t do things because we are seeking someone’s approval or to avoid criticism.  Maybe we do things to keep the peace and avoid conflict.

At midnight I found myself listening to music and thinking about the colourful butterflies I saw this weekend camping.  I have always been one that was fascinated with butterflies at a very young age.  Back then there colours and vitality would captivate me for hours.  They flutter about in such a magical fashion, they are free to fly wherever they wish, they are not bound by social norms or societal expectations.  A large black butterfly with yellow trim appeared to follow me for most of the weekend.  It landed on my shoulder a few times before it finally flew off into the woods.

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A butterfly represents a free spirit, when was the last time your let your butterfly out?  Is your butterfly awake?  I danced like nobody was watching to my music under the stars and the moonlight….  thank you butterfly for reminding me to be just me.

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