Authenticity is defined as the quality of being genuine. Being faithful to our internal world rather than the external world. Authenticity is faithfully reflecting into the world an original, accurate, reliable, depiction of who we really are. But who is that person? The real you?
One of my favorite quotes is “Be who you are! Be yourself. Nobody does it better”. Another good quote on authenticity says “ Be yourself. All the other self’s are already taken.”
It sounds easy right? Just be you. Just be yourself. No problem! Piece of cake. Of course that means we need to determine who we actually are. Our false ego self? The self others assume we are? The self we think others want us to be? The self we think we have to be in order to be loved, belong, or be cared about,? Or the self we think we need to be in order to matter to those we care about?
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself trying to be all those “self’s” at various times. In fact, it can get downright confusing trying to figure out who my real, true self actually is. Too often who I am depends on my environment. Or who is standing in front of me.
If we even have to ask the question who am I, or if we find ourselves attempting to be a particular “self” in order to cope with an uncomfortable situation, we are not being our true, authentic self. We are attempting to manufacture a self that we think best fits the situation we find ourselves in. For example, what if we’ve just met the person of our dreams? How should we act? Cool? Humble? Smart? Extrovert? Or how about if we’re interviewing for a job we really want. How should we behave in that situation? How would we act or present ourselves if we were just being who we are? Should we look casual? What are they looking for?
Ok, lets go back to the beginning. Authenticity is defined as faithfully reflecting into the world an original, accurate, reliable, depiction of who we really are. When we set aside the false self that our ego is continually creating, what’s left is the pure, observing consciousness of our true, authentic self; the self we really are.
So if our goal is to embrace and reflect our authentic self, all we would need to do is just stand and stare at the world. That’s what a pure, observing consciousness would do. Right? Just observe? Just be in the moment? Obviously it’s not that simple. Each of us has a specific purpose or reason we are here. So if our goal is living with authenticity, we have some work to do. We first have to discover our life purpose.
Here is how I personally try to solve the problem of just being who I am. I try to witness and observe the world, to be in the moment, but I also try to add value to the lives of those around me. The reason this approach works for me is simple. When I am focused on how I can add value to the lives of those around me, my ego is not worried about how I look or whether I’m being who I am.
Who I am is simply a self that’s looking for ways to add value to the lives of those directly in front of me, or around me. Sometimes it’s as simple as just listening to them. Sometimes it’s affirming who they are. Sometimes it’s just saying hello with a smile. There are many ways to add value to the lives of others.
Its been a long and challenging journey, but over the years I’ve come to realize this is the person I was born to be. It’s my life purpose. That’s why I have dedicated my life to helping people awaken their consciousness. That’s why I became a therapist. That’s why I write about awakening and spiritual growth and offer workshops on awakening the primitive ego that lives inside each of us. I am simply trying to add value to the lives of those around me.
In other words, I try to keep it real simple for my ego so my ego doesn’t get all wound up trying to figure out who it thinks I should be. Living my life purpose gives clarity to my ego; it knows who I am. When I can stay awake and simply do the task of adding value to the lives around me, my ago relaxes and becomes less anxious.
Finding our life purpose isn’t always easy. As I am fond of saying, anyone can wake up their consciousness, it’s staying awake that becomes the challenge. The good news is once you have discovered your life purpose, you will recognize the symptoms when your consciousness falls asleep; your ego will get overwhelmed, anxious, and have you acting in ways that simply don’t make sense to you. When it happens, and it will, reaffirming your life purpose will get you back on track.
Each of us has to find our own path; what it is we came here to do; to begin living a life that makes sense to our soul. As I said above, it takes courage to begin paying attention to our inner-world. It also takes time. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of one’s life purpose. If you can pay attention to the quiet voice of your soul you will know when you have found your life purpose. And when that time comes, you will experience an inner-peace you’ve only dreamed about. You will know beyond any doubt that you are living with authenticity.