When we talk about the authentic self, we often mean the version of you that is most true to who you are. That includes your core beliefs, feelings, thoughts. Very often, your authentic self can have important influence on your decisions and actions. When you aren’t sure what your authentic self is, or you’re repressing and hiding this version of yourself, it may lead to feelings and actions that don’t align with who you really are or what you really want.
I think, and it’s not scientific in any way, that most people are living some variation of their authentic self. These versions of them are a mix of other people’s beliefs and wants, along with their own. I think this is most common, and people who truly live their authentic selves are more rare.
It’s not a judgement, but an observation. As we’re social, we have a tendency towards sympathy and empathy, and this often means taking on other people’s ideas and emotions for our own; even if we’re not intentionally doing it. For people who tend to be more altruistic and more naturally empathetic, this may happen more often and you can end up getting yourself lost.
It’s sort of the curse of being the type of people who helps other people.
When this happens, over years, it’s possible you could lose yourself to different people’s feelings, and complex emotions. By this point, you could unknowingly be taking on other people’s lives and problems as your own and applying it to your life. This matters because for you to find your happiness, you need to be able to figure out who you are and live the kind of life that is most authentic to your true self. Otherwise, you end up living other people’s lives for them.
For most people, they’d recognise this in children who grow up trying to live up to their parental expectations. This can even go so far as to take on the same careers and making similar life choices as their parents. This can have profound effects on them. Living someone else’s expectations and someone else’s dream means your own needs and desires are left to wither somewhere.
There are those who hide out of guilt and shame, embarrassed about who they are and things they desire. You have to figure out who you are so you can decide the best course of action for your own life that is most true to your needs. Trying to figure out who you are isn’t always easy, as there isn’t some template you can copy. Your journey to discovery can be quite different from another person’s journey; but it usually always starts with looking at yourself and reflecting.
Join us at College of Allied Educators to learn more about yourself, what motivates you, and how you can find happiness, meaning, and success in work, love, and life.
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