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Authenticity – 3 reasons why we don’t show our true self

Most of us want to be authentic to ourselves. But why it’s not happening? Learn from my personal story the 3 reasons that prevent us.

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We maintain our conversations at the surface

Do you remember being at a party, and introducing yourself? Most probably you will say: My name is Jane, I work for a private company, and I have two kids. If the discussion goes further, it will be perhaps “Any plans for the coming holiday?”, shoes you wear, the car you drive, and so on.

I remember living for years in a relationship with all my surroundings at that level of exchange. Once per year, we meet our cousins and family in law around Christmas dinner. People have known me for 10 years is the mother of their niece and nephew. Prepare gifts, do shopping for dinner, cook, exchange some conversations around work… That’s all that they know about me. And I know about them.

And believe it or not, you can maintain such a relationship of surface even with your partner and your children for years.

I didn’t permit myself to express

A few years ago, I was in a dinner organized by the scouts of my son. I was on a table with a farther of another scout in my son’s team. We started the conversation around his work. For a moment, we didn’t know what to talk about. To break the silence, I started to ask him about the work project he was in. It was about some technical stuff related to a telephone company. I didn’t know why, perhaps to be socialized, I tried my best to show interest in this subject, laughed, commented, asked more questions.

And today, several years later, I still feel the extreme discomfort of my being at that moment. I felt ridiculous, unknowledgeable, and passionless. For within myself, I know I am horrified by these types of technical subjects.

Because I didn’t permit myself to express, I didn’t really know who I really was. And for 10 years, I surrounded myself with all the people who I didn’t really understand. And who didn’t share anything more profound of my soul? Perhaps not to my extent, but maybe you can relate to some of them.

Today, I still wonder why I did that. Why did I try to be someone else that was not my true self? These are the main reasons why most of us do not show who we really are.

First of all, we do not necessarily know who we really are

It might sound strange. But we do not necessarily know who we really are. In this case, how to truly show our person?

Let’s imagine now, that you need to introduce yourself, without a job, a social surrounding (family, the city where you live, some sports that you do, some daily occupation). What you will tell about yourself? Think about it. Who are you as a person? I believe it isn’t easy.

Indeed, we do not have time to figure it out! Our whole self was basically drawn into artificial activities in most of our lifetime. Thich Nhat Hanh once said: “Too many activities reduce the quality of our being” (about Lazy day). If we spend some time with ourselves in stillness, we permit our being to express. We can listen to our own thoughts, our own feelings, and our own guidance.

Meditation is a good way. Or walking. Someone says the walk is a way to wisdom. In Europe and the world, those who search for themselves, take the spiritual journey, where they walk one month or two to reach the spiritual destination.

If we know who we are, we might have the fear to show it

If we know who we are, it is already good. But there are many reasons why you and I do not dare to show it to the world.

Secondly, we don’t believe that there are people who believe in what we believe

We might think others do not appreciate who we truly are. Maybe it’s your country of origin. Or your sexual orientation. Or your religion. Or your beliefs…Whatever it is, we are fearful of incomprehension.

When I began my journey to building my digital business, I had the impression that I was thrown out of myself. Trying to reach more people, get more traffic, I was feeling really bad. One day, my mentor said: Don’t fear that you do not make any money. Be your true self in your business. Only and only when you are truly yourself, then you can connect with those who truly believe in what you believe.

I realize that, unconsciously, I didn’t truly believe that in the world, there were people like me. Who believe in what I believe. Gaining this confidence was not only a big step in my business but also in understanding my own person.

When we know about ourselves and permit the belief that there are people like us somewhere in the world, we will be able to connect with them. Maybe not necessarily in your immediate surroundings at the moment. But they will be there in no time.

And thirdly, you might not believe that you are remarkable

And other than this fear about other’s reactions, it’s the founded belief within ourselves that we are not remarkable as a person.

Many teenagers don’t feel confident wearing shoes without a trademark. Or when their parents come to pick them up in front of their friends with a cheap car. This is because the society of consumption has made themselves the beings made of clothes, shoes and what they wear. The day they learn that they are more remarkable as a person without all of these, that will be the day they truly grow up as a person. And believe me, many of the “grown-ups” have never been really so!

I believe that if any of us have the possibility to do what our true person is really about, we can give rise to remarkable things in the world. It’s the expression of our true being and beauty.

Give yourself permission

When I went to a spiritual retreat with Plum Village or a zazen retreat, I felt so good. Nobody looked into what shoes you wear, what car you drive. Nobody compelled you to talk and to socialize. Everybody is permitted to be their true self at that moment.

Give yourself permission today. Take some time to sit silently and listen to your breath, your body and your feelings. Tell yourself that there are people in the world who believe in what you believe. You will be able to connect with them. And believe that you are remarkable as a person without anything and most of all without anything else.

Read more: Want your authentic self? Mindfulness is the gateway

7-day Advent calendar to be more mindful this Christmas

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