Originally published at https://ideapod.com/authenticity-key-steps/
Authenticity. What does this word mean to you?
Is it even something our modern culture puts any importance in? How can we recognize authenticity in a world where we cannot even identify what is the truth and what is not?
The truth is, we live in an age where we are getting more and more disconnected from ourselves. With the internet, social media and so many technologies for communication, we are being bombarded with so much information to the point of getting not only distracted but lost.
We are told every day, in many objective and subjective ways, that we must do more, achieve more in life and even be better than we are. The marketing tools of our capitalist system make us believe that the solution for our anxiety and unhappiness is to do more than we have done, achieve more than we have achieved, be better than we are. It makes sure to keep us loyal servants of the system, always working, consuming and keeping the wheels moving. We buy everything, from clothes to self-improvement workshops, looking for a kind of fulfillment which can only be found when we stop pursuing it and embrace the person we are and the life we have. But we are too occupied pursuing things in the future.
It results in being obsessed with the mythological models of success, happiness, and perfection which are being sold to us by the media. It seems abnormal these days to be a human who is susceptible to failures, with feelings of insecurity and sadness deep inside. Parts of our most basic nature have been transformed into a problem and we are spending our whole lives trying to run away, to fix or to get rid of the “problem”.
In the face of it, we are experiencing a big crisis of identity. While we became so obsessed about being different than we are, we have lost the connection with our deepest nature. When our authentic core is not fed, we start losing the energy, the spark of our eyes, drying slowly till we reach depression.
But blaming the “System” is not a solution, right? This is the world where we live. It has its challenges but also brings opportunities.
In fact, information has never been so available! While our ancestors had no option but buying the model of reality imposed by their societies, we have every sort of knowledge, ideas, and perspectives at our disposal. It means at once a challenge and an opportunity.
The challenge is:
With so much information available, it’s easy to manipulate the facts and find a way to corroborate whatever you believe. It’s a dangerous phenomenon! If we look with attention, we’ll find many different groups, many ideologies, displaying the same information in different ways, to manipulate us for different purposes. We are in the middle of an information world war!
You can see people being manipulated by all kinds of fake news, believing the most absurd lies. It’s easy to identify this phenomenon outside of our own bubble. Although, they are probably looking at you with the same perplexed eyes! Is it really possible to know who is right and who is wrong? Actually, no! Because everything we know by reality is no more than a fragile construction made from fragments of life, interpreted accordingly to our personal and collective perspectives. Your reality is just a construction, a very limited and fragile interpretation of the infinite.
But there is also an opportunity:
While everything changes so fast, we cannot trust anything for truth anymore. It makes us realize how relative and fragile our concepts of reality are, how easy it is to configure a certain kind of reality and then sell that — and how easily we buy it.
Once you are aware of what’s happening, you can use it to your advantage. Since the fraud of our reality is more exposed than ever, it’s easier to challenge it! This moment opens an opportunity. It opens a gap for us to start really exploring ourselves.
Every time you find someone hypnotized inside of a personal bubble, remember that you are in the same situation! There is a huge difference between our concepts and reality. You have concepts about yourself and about life. Although the real nature of life and the true extension of your being cannot be conceptualized.
When you stop trying to understand life, you start living it. When you move beyond your concepts and stop trying to define or catalog yourself, you find your true being.
You don’t need to look for authenticity. It’s already in you.
What is authenticity? In truth, it’s one of those things that we shouldn’t try to define. We lose the grasp with our authentic core once we start trying to define ourselves. Like life itself, we are in constant movement and transformation. Our dynamic nature cannot be put into words. We are a mystery which cannot be explained. The definition, the explication, the image we have of ourselves is what hypnotizes us and disconnects us from our authentic core.
If you really want to find authenticity, you need to go outside of your thoughts. You need to go outside of that little box, that small and limiting hologram of yourself which you have created. You must feel yourself and taste your soul.
You are not only thoughts. You are emotions. You are instinct. You are a body. Thinking about your emotions, instinct and body only disconnects you from such an essential dimension of your being. Feel your emotions without resistance, trust your instinct and value your body. Then you can ground in your basic nature and flow with the life which exists within yourself.
You are much more than your mind.
Our mind is an essential component of our being. Our thinking abilities have led us to great accomplishments. Yet we are much more than our minds. The voice in our minds is a mix of our own ideas and all the information we have been absorbing since the day we were born. But there is a silent intelligence in our bodies, which is the purest source of our being.
This intelligence inside of you coordinates your body, emotions, and psyche. Imagine that every minute in your body, around 300 million cells die while millions of new ones are born. In a single day, this number peaks at around 432 trillion cells dying and being born inside of you. These same cells create tissues, organs, body fluids and every element of your organized, synchronized and effective body. Per second, your body processes around 37 thousand billion chemical reactions. And it’s not only your own cells that are doing the work of keeping you alive. There are more than 40 trillion bacteria participating in the miracle. Can you organize and command any of this with your thinking mind? There is a much more powerful, profound and wise systemic intelligence coordinating your vital processes.
While you are distracted, expending so much energy trying to understand the world and yourself through your mind, life is happening inside of you, and you are missing it. And the more you disconnect from the primal intelligence of life which resides in your body, the more unhappy, empty and lost you feel. Unfortunately, we don’t even know how to listen, how to get in tune with this instinctive intelligence.
There is a huge difference between consciousness and reason. In case you want to experience your most authentic self, you must detach a little bit from your mind and its constructions to let your consciousness explore different dimensions of yourself.
How do you get there?
1. Detach from everything you’ve learned about yourself.
We have been programmed since the beginning of our lives.
First, you were given a name, which became a first definition and limitation for your infinite self. Then you were identified as a boy or a girl, and with your gender, you inherited many different concepts about how you are supposed to be and behave. Then you were educated by your family, school, religion, and society, inheriting countless concepts and assumptions about life and about yourself. Most of these elements have nothing to do with your real self. They are only social constructions.
Our visions about ourselves are completely shaped by so many elements. And everything we have learned about ourselves can get close to what we are — but will never be more than a sketch of our truest self.
Ultimately, every definition we can create about us will not be real and won’t be solid. It will just be a definition.
Because we cannot be conceptualized. We are so much more than we can understand.
When you give up trying to understand, trying to make sense of yourself, you take the first step to finding authenticity. Because then you can relax, feel yourself and let your nature be.
2. We can find authenticity in action, in the dynamism of life.
How many times have you caught yourself in the mirror, or staring somewhere, thinking about yourself, about your life?
The fact is, we spend so much energy doing that — thinking about ourselves too much. “Oh, I’m doing this, I’m going this way in life, I must be this way. This is how I should behave.”
Instead of trying to be in a certain way, just respect yourself and unleash your nature. Let yourself be and act from a more spontaneous place. The most authentic expression of yourself is maybe not so perfect as would like to be, but this the real you who must be honored and respected.
3. Authenticity is the natural expression of your being.
Here’s the truth: authenticity is not something we must go anywhere for. It’s not something we must do in order to find.
You just have to stop doing things so much. Stop being so artificial. Drop your concepts and expectations about yourself. You don’t need to be anything else than you already are.
Just listen to what your body, your emotions, your instincts are telling you. Not that they will have a voice to tell you directly, but it will give you the urge and the energy that will push you into action.
4. To find your true self you cannot exclude any part of your being.
This is where a lot of people struggle. If you really want to live an authentic life, you must equally come from an authentic place of being. What have you been fighting within yourself? Which aspects of yourself you accept and which you don’t?
Let’s start with your emotions. What do you think of your fear, sorrow, anger, and anxiety? Do you think they are natural aspects of your being, or do you treat them as diseases that you must heal? There is no way to live an authentic life unless you remain impartial and respect the full spectrum of your emotions. Don’t judge them as positive and negative. Some emotions are pleasurable while some are painful, but they are all are sacred and must be respected.
While you fight your emotions, you fragment yourself and create violence within. We have been programmed this way. We’ve been told that some of our most natural emotions are negative, forbidden and must be treated, fixed or defeated. But what you end up doing is fragmenting yourself and polluting an important part of your nature with your judgments and your violence.
Authenticity, after all, comes with the wholeness of your being and the acceptance of it all.
5. Pay attention to how you behave in your Instagram
Instagram is the perfect portrait of our bizarre tendency to fake ourselves. Everybody is happy there, posting the most beautiful shots of their lives. Why are we so desperate for admiration? Why do we need to look so cool and to pretend we have such an amazing life?
The fact is that we’ve been doing it much before Instagram came along. Some smart guys just identified one of our weak spots and developed an app to make money from it. But we compulsively try to hide our insecurity, our sadness and our failures from the world and show a very fake version ourselves and our lives. We get to the point of trying to play this hypocritical game even with ourselves! We want to believe that we are absolutely pure and good in our core, while the heavier aspects of our nature are just an accident, only shadows which we are going to transcend at some point. But we are all only human beings, naturally messed in our cores, vulnerable and subjected to failures.
Our world is full of fake perfection and happiness, but craving for authenticity. Maybe you don’t need to participate in this game anymore. You can start with yourself. Assume the commitment of making peace with your true self the way you are. Learn to admire the whole picture of your being and the beauty of its contrasts. Then you can take a second step and stop spending your energy trying to look confident and brilliant. Your true self, even being contradictory, insecure and vulnerable, has much more substance than the character you play.
6. You must be brave enough to open doors.
Authenticity requires you to be brave enough to open the door, face all the forbidden and forgotten aspects of yourself and embrace it.
We have been programmed to believe that if we stop controlling ourselves and surrender to our emotions and instincts, something terrible happens. We are made to believe that our instincts are animalistic, barbaric, that it will make us mess it up and destroy our futures.
But actually, this is far from the truth. Our instinct is a really intelligent power. It’s the thing that pushes you to do what feels right, even when other options are easier or may yield better results. It is the one thing that is always on your side.
The only cause for our imbalances is the bad relationship we have with our emotions, body, and instinct because the part of us that we judge and repress ends up turning against ourselves.
In order to achieve our goals in life, we have to make sacrifices. Yet we must choose very well what we are going to sacrifice. If we have to sacrifice our own nature and everything that makes us so unique in order to be successful, our success is already a defeat and, once achieved, will be no more than a prison.
So, if you want to live an authentic life, be brave enough to embrace and protect your true being, and be ready to pay the price for it. You’ll be tempted on a daily basis to take the easy path and play the role the world expects from you. It requires quite a temper to be yourself, instead of a social walking dead.
There is a feeling which is much more important than happiness, success, or any other sense of achievement in life.
It is the feeling of being at home with yourself. The feeling that you are somewhere true to who you are. It comes from from the depths of your guts and fills you completely.
It’s what drives us to live our lives the way we want to live it. Not in the way our society or someone else has planned for us. But on our own terms and according to our own rules.
So let me ask you this.
Are you living your life? Are you honoring your true self?
Rudá Iandê is a shaman and also the creator of Out of the Box, a revolutionary method for developing your personal power and reframing your reality. Out of the Box is delivered as an online workshop by Ideapod Academy. To find out more about Rudá Iandê and Out of the Box, check out our free salon exploring what it means to live life “out of the box”. Also, check out Rudá’s website here.