In the beginning times of our lives, we are trained to become like everyone else around us. Of course, we don’t know it as we are going through it, and by the time we do realise it we have already been trained in countless, untraceable ways of being that would take another lifetime to discover. It was through my own personal experiences that I came to understand the many and varied intricacies of the affects others, and the type of society we live in, have on us and how we tailor our own lives. I won’t go into it all here because I can go on for hours, days probably, explaining the ways in which our lives are not our own until we make them our own. If you’re at a point in your life where you can see something isn’t right, but have no idea what to do to sort it out, this is a starting place.
Most people, men and women alike, live for others rather than for themselves; this is because of the way societal training moulds us. We’re shaped by the beliefs and reasons of others, in turn, that pushes us toward one decision over another; or you might just do things by rote rather than even thinking about it. The truth is, everything around you influences you in some way. What you think about, what you buy, what you read, how you dress, the job you end up doing; it’s all influenced from the outside. Until you truly stop to think about potential consequences with a view to making a more informed decision, you’re not in a position to move on from those external influences.
Maybe you know the truth for yourself, and, for whatever reason, don’t want to change anything right now, that’s okay, you can come back here later should you decide you do want to make life better in some way. I understand the shock at hearing one of the foundations of your life being ripped out from under you. You see, when I was first told I could make more of a life for myself I reacted badly, could not understand what the person was going on about. I’d asked for help with my marriage and here was this lady telling me what was happening was not my fault and that leaving was the best option. She was so calm, so understanding, I can still recall her kindness to me even though I could not accept her words at the time. She gave me the most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever received. She told me, “When you leave, make it on your terms and take the financial records with you.” I took it a few steps further when I finally made the decision that she could see was the best option for me to live a good, happy and fulfilled life, unencumbered by domestic violence and the limitations surrounding it. I did everything I needed to do before leaving so I did not feel the need to go back to check on anything. That woman changed my life, although it took a few years for it to all fall into place.
Back in those days, I used to think I was pretty much in charge of my life, I’d made choices that I had thought were my own, carried through on responsibilities I thought were mine to see to completion. I thought I’d properly researched potentials to find the best results to take, all of those things that a thinking person does with both big and small decisions. Unfortunately, I was working with flawed data!
It’s probably not news to you to realise that much of the information we take for granted as accurate, honest and properly, scientifically researched and replicated before being set down as protocols to be followed, actually isn’t as accurate, honestly researched if it’s researched at all, and certainly seldom updated when new and more fully developed information is scientifically acquired.
We are all manipulated, affected, influenced, in more ways than can be counted, even when we think we are not, when we think we are above it. The influence toward a particular set of outcomes began at the moment of conception and continues every day. The thoughts we think, the actions we do or don’t take, the way we save or spend our money, all have their foundations in the thoughts and actions of our parents, our school instructors, our baby sitters, our friends and whether or not we choose to learn new and amazing things,or choose to remain hidden away from societal influence.
Your authentic self is the self that lives and breathes, it keeps you going in the most challenging and stressful situations, often without you even having to think about the next step. It is the self that knows instinctively what it is you ‘should’ be doing, because you’ve already thought about that next step and all the potential consequences your current experience allows you to perceive of. It’s the self that is not lying to you. You are being your authentic self every time you take a breath because your body knows it needs to breathe to stay alive. You are being your authentic self when you are using the knowledge and ability you have at the time.
Your authentic self does not blindly follow the suggestions, advice, words or leadership of another – whoever that might be – and yes, this includes religious and spiritual leaders and teachers too. The words ‘authentic self’ make up just another catchall phrase useful for advertising and pulling in the needy and the gullible, the serial searchers and the serial belong-ers. As I so often say, it’s really simple: just think about who you really are and who you want to be, then take mini-steps toward becoming that person.