The Authentic Self

masks

It takes courage to grow up, and become who you really are.

-E.E. Cummings

We live in a world that is infatuated with presentation; how we dress, appeal to others, speak, behave and the multiple ways in which we are labeled, and therefore judged, by those we come in contact with. Who am I, and how would I authentically like to been seen by others? How am I supposed to behave at work, school and social events? How do I want family, friends, in-laws and peers to view me? We spend countless hours contriving ways to provoke the world to respond to us only to be left with the foolishness of what we’ve created. After the required energy spent to deceive others into believing what we portray, there is little energy left to acknowledge our authentic self. This concept mirrors Victor Frankl’s assumption that happiness, much the same as authenticity, cannot be pursued, but ensued, and will continue to allude the seeker the greater one focused on that outcome.

While I spend the majority of time in an occupational field that stresses presentation as a means of attaining clinical outcomes,  I have found the less I concern myself with the way others may perceive me, and more time I spend on behaving in a way that brings me intrinsic joy, the less the issue of extrinsic perception matters. I have come to believe that individuals want to see the authentic you, the person that doesn’t have to portray a mirage of stimulation or colorful disguises in order to connect with another human being, or strains to search for an authentic self. Authenticity displays truth. Others prefer to see your weaknesses along with your strengths, your insecurities along with your self-efficacy, and your doubts and fears along with your certainties. That is authenticity, for authenticity if found in our ability to share with others our true self, without the perception of uniqueness or difference. If we spend our time hiding within the fallacy of the perception of someone else, we may just lose sight of who we are becoming in the process. Don’t waste your time on fooling others for you will slowly become the only fool. Become the author of your own story, own it, and share it with the world. Shine in your own splendor! Spend a little time within yourself, get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and find the aspects of yourself you cherish, and let them out in all their glory. Authenticity is not necessarily authentic, but authentically unique, and we are all unique in our own way.

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