How long have you spent connecting to your authentic self? For many, the journey to total authenticity is one of seeking or searching. It’s a process of learning about the self, about what brings happiness, what feels uncomfortable, what is needed in what moments and what does or doesn’t “feel right”.
What many people on this journey don’t realise is that this is not how you connect to your authenticity, or to your true self. In fact, all this serves is limitation and the closing of doors in your own life. Let’s take a closer look at this:
During a process of self discovery you’ve realised that when you’re in your authenticity, you set boundaries with certain people. You give a list of rules that determine how particular people are allowed to interact with you. One friend is not allowed to talk about a particular topic with you, another you refuse to go for drinks with, and a third must ask for permission before sharing their emotions with you.
You’ve also come to the realisation that you’re a “family person” so you start to put double the effort into family birthdays and go to visit your parents every Sunday. On top of that, you’re also now searching for a partner because you’ve latched on to the idea of being a parent yourself.
Creativity also came up as one of your authentic patterns. Therefore it makes sense to set yourself goals. You decide you must complete 3 paintings a month, or write 20 pages a week.
You then set career goals that are in alignment with your authentic self, cut friends out and replace them with ones that match who you really are and decide to log your progress in a journal, writing about what’s going well and where you still want to improve.
It seems on the surface that you are FINALLY closer to living true to yourself. You’ve satisfied a huge list of preferences, wants, desires and attachments. These are the things that you believe will bring you joy and happiness. However, the more you follow this path, the more you realise that it takes a lot of upkeep.
There is sacrifice involved. To have what you want means giving up a whole lot of things. It also requires maintenance. Never a day goes by that you don’t have to put some work into the upkeep of your authentic self. Conversations need to be had, boundaries restated and enforced, tasks completed and self care practised.
Once you have achieved everything you set out to, you realise that there is still work to do and boxes to tick so that you can be MORE authentic and MORE aligned. In fact, you decide that the work is never done and there is always more to DO.
What doesn’t occur to you on this journey is that you are constantly chasing a feeling of control. You’ve created a huge list of ideas in your head about who you need to be, how the world needs to be, and how you should fit into the world. None of these ideas are true, they are simply random ideas, likely fed to you from other people throughout your life that you adopted and took as your own.
Then, over time, you became so deeply attached to these arbitrary, meaningless ideas that you decided they were truth and that you needed to enforce them. Each idea simply another control mechanism to try and bring peace and happiness to your life. Of course, happiness always being an achievement in the future, never right now in this moment.
With every idea you desperately get involved with, deepening your attachment to it, you close a multitude of doors in your life. Narrowing the possibility of experiencing everything life has to offer by saying “no” and putting in place boundaries, cutting people out, becoming military with your habits and set rules of what is and isn’t okay.
Each idea becomes a limitation, a dead end to experience. Your whole life becomes forced into a rigid framework of who you are and are not allowed to be. The strangest thing of all is that BEING your authentic self becomes all about DOING in order to maintain.
But what if you were to let it all go? Not just chill out about it, but totally let it go. Forget every single idea you are holding about who you need to be and how the world needs to be for you. How would that feel?
The authentic self is never found in the chasing or control mechanisms. We were born on this planet with five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. All we ever have is the present moment, and our senses through which we can experience whatever is in front of us.
It is our ideas that bombard us with thoughts about the past and future, taking us out of where we are now and doing everything we can to make life feel more peaceful. But in the absence of those ideas, we are free to experience with no judgement, choosing to make the most of each sense we have been given.
When we are in the present moment, acting as a vessel of experience free of ideas, we are free to choose joy all the time. No need for anger, unhappiness, fear, discontent or boredom. Everything has the opportunity to be aligned and the very act of experiencing without judgement is where the true authenticity can be found.
Free of effort, control, chasing, avoiding, and living anywhere but the present.
Zen Jungle, unlocking the life you can FINALLY love.