By the time most of us are in junior high we have learned to be the consummate chameleon. We are crafty and have learned to hide our true selves from a disapproving world. In an effort to fit into the mold like everyone else we banish our authentic selves to darkest recesses of our being. We keep changing the mask to fit people, places and things. We pretend to be the person others expect us to be a forget how to be ourselves. We live in this masquerade and wonder why we are miserable. Why do our accomplishments seem lackluster and the accolades ring hollow. We are content to identify ourselves by the criteria of others. Wife, mother, husband, sister, daughter, son, uncle, boss, manager, employee all of these are words we use to describe ourselves and the true authentic person is never revealed in any of them.
You are an individual and your authentic self is the one that is driven by the passions of their core values. These may be buried deep within you but you can flush them out, dust them off and begin to allow them to mold you into the human being you were supposed to become without all of the role playing and mask wearing. To find your lost inner being is a journey of self-discovery. And just as the name implies it is a long road, filled with scenic routes, detours and sometimes even a few hazards will be found along the way, Self discovery begins with the quest to find your personal core value system.
Finding what you are truly passionate about. What makes you joyful, apprehensive or even move you to action? This is more than an elevated sense of right and wrong it is what makes you tick, what stirs your soul. The A-ha moments in this journey will be there but a lot of it will be hard work. You will have to work to peel back the layers of self-deceit and to be willing to honestly look at who you think you are, as opposed to who you really are.
Once you get a revelation the next step is to incorporate it into your daily life and this will be frightening to some since it denotes a major departure from what you and everyone in your life has come to expect. Learning what your true needs are and how to see that they are met without forcing yourself on others is a part of this journey. Maslow’s heiarchy of needs starts at the bottom of the pyramid with the basics of life. Next comes safety, after these are met you can begin to meet the needs of love and belonging. This invariably leads to the next step of esteem. This is where a lot of people get stuck. Never moving on to self-actualization. By learning what your core values are you can more easily become some one who can rely on their own esteem and not rely on the superficial esteem of others thus moving you closer to self-actualization.
This in a nutshell is what finding your authentic self is about. Once you have peeled back all the layers from years of playing the roles society has foisted upon you. You will be better able to see what you value and how to make use of those values to improve who you are now and where you are going in the future. Make a determination that you will be all that you can be. That means learning who you are and being able to “just do you”.