The Authentic Self Versus the False Self
In my new book, Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity, I write that it is the present moment that matters the most, and if we value the moments of our lives, we will want to make the most of each one, and not let any moment go by without having lived it as truthfully and authentically as we can.
But what does it mean to live “authentically”? The definition of authentic is “genuine” and “real,” or in other words, the combination of all your true qualities and characteristics. However, I like to describe authentic as “living your truth in the present moment.”
I know, it’s easy to want to hide or conceal certain aspects of ourselves we may not love, but once we start to hide who we really are, it can slip away from us to the point that we are living dishonestly to our true nature, and why would we want to do that?
Fear, insecurity, doubt.
Those are some of the emotions that strip us of our true nature. And before we know it, we are not living our truth in the present moment, or any of the moments of our life if we are not aware of the traps of our mind, which are the lies we tell ourselves that keep us stuck in self-deception.
Mindfulness, which is living in the present moment with total awareness, keeps us honest, and true to who we are. It reminds us when we slip out of the moment of authenticity, and try and hide or replace it with a false image of ourselves. But we don’t always practice the valuable skill of mindfulness or remember how important it is to stay present and authentic. To our detriment, we choose to present a false image or persona to others, and this can be one of the greatest causes of our pain and suffering.
As I note in Live True, it’s a lot harder to be who we’re not than who we are, and takes a tremendous amount of work to keep the inauthentic, or false-self, going. This means that you have to keep presenting yourself as who you’re not, and after a while it can be exhausting; both mentally and physically to keep the lie alive.
If you feel that you are living inauthentically and are reluctant or afraid to show who you really are to others, ask yourself what is your greatest fear about revealing your authentic self. Is it that you’re afraid you won’t be liked or loved, or judged for not being enough as your true self? And, if that’s the case, ask yourself if you want people to like and accept you for who you are, or would you prefer them liking you for someone that you’re not?
Living authentically means you’re being honest with yourself, and your honesty is what you have to live with. Even if you take a step back from it out of fear or insecurity, or for whatever reasons, know that you can step right back into the flow of your deepest “authentic truth,” which is the greatest honesty to realize.