My life's experiences have proven me that authenticity is the most fundamental foundation to happiness. Lot's of us already had, or still have, this dilemma in life: Do I express myself as I am or do I express what the others want me to be? This is a question that undoubtedly reveals you are headed to disaster. Why? Well, if you cannot express yourself as you are, do you really think you'll be able to lead a peaceful happy life? My personal inner answer to this question is a big NO. So what is yours?...
There are several different reasons for someone to renounce authenticity. Conditionings, inefficient beliefs and ciclic patterns exist to maintain you hooked to your fears. We grow within a society that, to some extent, both consciously and unconsciously preserves and exhorts traditional, religious and cultural fabrications and fallacies. Our conditioning starts with our parents, that are very much unaware of the result of their actions, teachers, neighbors and friends. Then we grow up and our conditioning goes on through our partners, bosses, colleagues, gurus and leaders. Advertising, commercial movies, trashy TV programs and other delusions also join this explosive cocktail and serve the purpose of maintaining our minds occupied, controlled and quiet. We forget who we are and the system rejoices.
This world is in need of a major change. And so do we.
We are destroying this beautiful planet we live in with total disregard even for our own most basic needs. We cannot survive without oxygen, yet we are destroying all the planet's lungs. We cannot survive without the ozone layer yet we are destroying it daily. We should be maintaining balance in the ecosystem so all beings, including us, may survive and prosper, yet we do all the opposite. The Human species, in general, tends to forget that we exist only because this planet exists. And whenever we damage it, we are damaging ourselves.
Our species has an unbearable arrogance. The existing mass concept that we, because of our rationality are superior to all other beings, that we can control everything and get away with it. This is both unintelligent and calamitous. We even think we can do better than Mother Nature, isn't that funny? We are plagued, all around the globe, with extreme greed, violence, modern slavery, loss of human and humanitarian values, and the search for the maximum profit out of everything. This is, undoubtedly leading us all to trouble. What we are seeing and living, all around the globe today, is disturbing. It's sad to realize that we, as species, haven't changed much along the centuries and that rationality hasn't helped us to become a more "enlightened" species.
But how have we come to this?...
I believe man was always violent and greedy for power. It's not difficult to realize this, it's an historical fact. Even those so called more evolved civilizations have proven to be violent, controlling and greedy. But does this mean that we are ALL like this? I believe not. Within those civilizations there where not only imposing characters but also the ones that dedicated their lives to learning, understanding and evolution. So where do this violence and greed comes from? And why? There has always existed, across time and civilizations, people that need to be in power, people that live like nothing's ever enough, that need to subdue others to satisfy their own necessities. People that have no moral restraint and do whatever possible to be in total control and collect the most they can to themselves.
And then there's the others. The ones that accept being dominated by the domineering. The ones that shut up, go where and do what they are told, the ones that do not want to see what is. The ones that insist in having the eyes shut to the most aberrant of situations and accept to be manipulated. That is, the great majority of us. The problem is the symbiosis that arises from this. The domineering get what they want, the subdued find it easier to live without any responsibility for their own life's and find comfort and solace in being lead and manipulated. So this has been going on forever. In reality, we are all co-dependent! And what's in the heart of co-dependency? That's right. FEAR.
We all fear something and we are all controlled by our fears to some extent. And as we all know, fear is what drives us away from our core self, well-being, inner-peace and happiness. I believe, today, we are more than ever before, far off from our true nature and the knowledge of who we really are and need. We have lost contact with nature, with our human condition, we live in artificial environments where nothing appeals to our humanity. We live in a made-up world where nothing is really real. The system has very intelligently fooled us, by applying marketing tools and concepts to society, so to control it more effectively. And we have followed it blindly, enrolling in the "modern" life, in culture and tradition, in education and religion. And by forgetting what is really important in our lives, we get in the game.
Today's society, aiming to control the herd, is built upon some very unkind concepts that were implemented through social and educational conditioning. Individuality is pretty much encouraged, but in a a flawed way. Everything leads to yourself but in an external/frivolous manner. The way you look physically, the clothes you dress, the things you posses, your status in life, this is what makes who you are. All your surroundings are always delivering this message to you, ruining your self-esteem, your self-worth, your centeredness. Everything around you is always pictured like being "better" and you end up feeling the worst that must strive to reach for the "best". This is a deceit and a lie.
On the other hand the system stimulates an egotistical approach to life in all of us by supporting separateness. You are constantly being told that you are alone in this world and you cannot trust anyone. This starts in school, with competition between students being fully supported by teachers, instead of cooperation. You are taught to compete, not to cooperate, so you can be the best. You are told that you have to be better than the other, you have to surpass the other. And you do it, regardless of the impact of your actions. You are unaware of the consequences, you step on others, you do not help them, so to obtain "success" and "be better". You have to be the "best" so to get the best job, the best house, the best looking wife/husband, the best car, the best external artificial stuff you can get.
For some people, eventually, this kind of behaviour will maybe make them not only feel alone, but be alone. Instead of looking for connection with the other they'll seek for advantage. The other is unimportant so they only care about what they can profit out of the other. For this people, relationships base it selves on interest instead of sharing, inter-help and love. And not only work relations suffer from this, friendship and partnership relations are affected too. This division between them and the other corrupts their authenticity, for they don´t trust anyone and cannot be "real" with nobody for they truly "feel" the separateness.
The very well know phrase, "Divide and Conquer", comes from the Latin, and means: A combination of political, military and economic strategies that aim to gain and maintain power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into chunks that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. In order to rule securely, don't allow alliances of your enemies.
What do you think about this phrase when applied to our modern life? It's almost the same as saying "separate to control", isn't it? And so today we see separation applied to every aspect of society and human life. We see separation from the core self, the other and the world around. Nothing is really important anymore and everything has only money value. Unfortunately we have forgot that we evolved and are here only because of cooperation, without it we'd be extinct.
So, how can you regain your authenticity?
Fortunately, nowadays, there's an immense quantity of people "waking-up" to realize something is out of place in their lives. Maybe this is happening to you. Maybe you don't understand what exactly is out of place, but you may feel depressed, anxious, stressed, that your needs are not being met, sad, alone or having some other out of place feeling. This is an indication that something is not right. The reasons why you feel out of place may vary and be rooted in several life events and different conditionings.
Step 1 - I believe the first step to reconnect with your true self is to recognize and accept that something is not fitting the puzzle. When you are aware that something is not working properly you are already on the way to change. It's like when your car starts to make a strange noise, you can go on with it, unnoticed, until your car dies on you. Or you can get aware of the noise, and decide to do something about it, taking it to the mechanic and maybe adding your car some extra life years. This is also true for yourself, if you are aware something's wrong you can fix it. But be patient, don't get desperate if you feel something is wrong and you don't know why or how to fix it immediately. Be aware that there are no magic potions nor quick magical answers. Sometimes transformation requires time to mature and solidify. Anyway, if you recognise something is wrong, transformation is already on the move!
After recognising what is happening, go to step 2.
Step 2 - Start your own personal self-investigation by questioning yourself. Buy a notebook and gather facts about:
What every aspect in your life is making you feel?
Where are those feelings really coming from?
What would your ideal life be?
Why are you not living that life?
What/who prevents you from living it?
What steps would you need to take to go there?
Question yourself about everything in your life. Why you act in a certain way, the kind of attitude you have towards life, where do your actions, words, thoughts, come from. But don't get overwhelmed by questioning. Asking yourself these questions may be important, but letting yourself be overly carried away by it, won't be helpful.
Step 3 - Expressing yourself and sharing your thoughts with someone you trust or/and a therapist is also fundamental. You have to put out what's going on in your head, otherwise, distortions of reality may occur and you'll end up with a big ugly monster inside that was initially only a small tiny cockroach. Sharing your thoughts is also important for you may encounter like-minded people that already went through the same process and may help you clarify your thoughts. Putting out what's going inside, will also offer you relief as well as understanding, for sometimes when we ear ourselves saying some thing out loud we suddenly realize the truth of it.
Step 4 - Relaxing is another important part to this process. Physical exercise is very beneficial, because it keeps you healthy and relaxed. It does not matter if you prefer walking, yoga or running, as all are effective. Do choose an activity you really enjoy and gives you pleasure. Outdoors activities are also very much advised, as fresh air, nature and sun empowers relaxation. Also if you enjoy activities like yoga, meditation, tai-chi and the likes, you may benefit from the additional benefits of this practices, for they work not only the body but self-awareness too. But then again if you run with an inquiring attitude, you may also benefit from higher self-awareness. Whether the practice you choose works on body or mind awareness, both approaches are good because they are intertwined and influence each other.
Step 5 - Healthy eating is very important too. I will not go on a radical speech about vegetarianism or veganism, as each person is entitled to have personal dietary preferences and as I myself am not a vegetarian. Nonetheless I must refer that having a fat/sugary/red meat diet does not help your thinking process because it tends to make you number. A diet high on vegetables and fruit, with a bit of carbohydrates, fish or white meat, almost no red meat, sugar and fat, will give you an healthier body and a clearer mind. And if you can afford organic food, good, if not, don't stress over it. I advise you to stay completely away from GMO food for it has very much unwanted consequences to your health, short, medium and long term. And without health everything gets more difficult. Also overeating is not good for the mind, so eat only what you really need.
These are some foundational actions that can help you reconnect with your true self and rediscover your essence. Don´t try radical changes for usually that doesn't work for long. Implement change slowly, little by little, at your own pace, without worrying about the result, just enjoying the ride and seeing it as an adventure! Also, try whatever makes you curious, for you never know where it can get you! Question, inquire, experiment!
What will YOU gain by being AUTHENTIC?
Authenticity scares. Some people will not like you or avoid you. The truth is not always welcome. For those who prefer living with a mask, your truthfulness will appear offensive or inadequate. You'll face opposition. Also there's a unnatural resistance to change. People don't like change, because it presupposes a need to adapt to something new and unknown, and that assumes more effort on their part. So if you change, people around you will be forced to deal with that change too.
Your regained authenticity will maybe make some people flee, but it also means new people will come into your life. Sometimes the old has to give in to the new. Sometimes we have to leave what no longer suits us and obtain what we need in the present. Like the phoenix, going into ashes so that renewal can occur. And never forget, whenever a door closes, a window opens.
But being more authentic doesn't only mean facing resistance, it also means, and more importantly, that you'll be able to express what you are, really want and need. No longer will you be doing stuff that you don't want to and suffer from anger, stress or annoyance. You will go wherever and whenever you want. You'll do whatever you feel like doing, and you won't feel guilty for doing so because you'll be acting truthfully to yourself, and others. You'll feel at peace with yourself and the world around you. You'll feel stronger, more confident and more connected. You'll have a higher self-esteem, you won't be afraid to express yourself and you'll have a more joyful daily life. You'll feel happier so you'll be more likely surrounded by like-minded people, making it easier to express your true self.
Finally I must refer that expressing your authenticity does not mean being an individualist or having an egotistical character. By expressing your authenticity you'll be relating with the other in a TRUTHFUL, RESPECTFUL, LOVING way. The other will know what your limits are, what you want and do not want, and through the truth the other will also be allowed to rightfully decide regarding both sides. Decisions will be make supported by truth instead of guessing or the wrong presupposition.
The journey into authenticity is most definitely a journey into happiness, joy, self-awareness and outer-awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love, greater love for others and the planet and inner-peace.
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Have a nice day and be happy! :)