Living life authentically is difficult for many of the people I counsel. Television, music, books, magazines, movies, and other sources of entertainment are constantly showing us that we need to be someone different.
What’s so wrong with being you? After all there is only one of you. I believe each person is unique in his or her own right. A Franciscan medieval philosopher Dunn Scotus coined the term haecceitas which loosely translated to the English as thisness. You maybe thinking to yourself what does this all mean. Let me explain. Thisness is something we all have. It is not something we had to earn. We are born with it. It is embedded deep within our DNA. I strive to live my life honoring the fact that I was made for something special and I was created different from everyone else on the planet. What I am not saying is that I am better than everyone else. Rather, what I am suggesting is that I am unique in my own right as are you and your closed loved ones and friends. No one can take this away from us.
For some reason over time we are taught to see that our thisness is not special and to devalue it. We are taught to conform to the demands of a growing society. Thus, requiring us to give up and mold some of our uniqueness for the greater good of society at large. I am sure we can all think of a former friend, professor, and/or significant other who told us that we could not do something or would not amount to anything. From the depths of my being I want to shout out “stick to your inner image. To thy own self be true.” It is difficult to trust in how your heart is guiding you to take the right path. Our training through life has helped to erode our sense of intuition and instincts that helped us carve a path that will make us happy. Life is too short so it is important to make it our own and meaningful.
I would like to challenge us to reconsider our value. You and I are worth more that what we give credit for. We were created with purpose and meaning and have yet to discovered the our true value.
I think sometimes we forget that our lives while at times shared with others remain our enterprise. We suffer not because others cause us to suffer. Rather, we suffer because we move away from living authentically to the image hidden deep within our psyche and soul. My readings of existential and humanistic psychologies affirm that our denial of our inner image cause us to experience suffering and lack of meaning. To live authentically and from the well-spring of our own being means trusting in your thisness, instincts, and intuitions. We all have this innate quality to know when something “feels right” or something is happening at the “right moment” but we must deepen our awareness of this potential.
My children are the greatest example for me of living authentically. They do not have any preconceived notions about how the world works or their value. Their love for the world and their affection for almost everything they experience amazes me. Some times I think we need to be more like children. Value what is versus what ought to be.
Living inauthentically or misaligned from one’s values and beliefs is a cause of many psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. The solution to effectively dealing with these problems is to start with self-awareness. Take an inventory of who you are as a person. Realize your fullest potential. See where your values and beliefs have changed to meet the demands of others, to people please, or to settle for less than what you deserve. The next step is the hardest.
Begin the process of changing the values and beliefs that do not align with your inner belief and value systems. If you cannot do it alone consider going to therapy or attending a support group. The reality is you do not have to do this work on your own. Often times making new connections in the brain is difficult without the help of someone else guiding you along the path. Many of the people I have counseled struggled with living their authentic self. Their desire to be more authentic grew out of the pain that comes from living outside of one’s values and beliefs. As a sponsor once told me, “How sick do you want to be.” Do you want to stay in your depression or anxiety or do you want to live a more fuller and free life. To do the latter and not the former is to choose to discover your thisness.
Whether it is your choice of careers, jobs, schools, friends, or anything else in life let your instincts, intuitions, and inner image be your guide. Trust in yourself to make decisions that will set you on your path to fulfillment of your hopes and dreams.
Thanks for staying with me! As always please let a comment or story below. Share this post with someone who might be struggling to live their more authentic self.