Trying to be something you’re not doesn’t work. Not in the long run. And not in the short run either because even if life looks good on the outside, inside the truth lives. People master this truth at different times but on some level we all know it. That’s ‘inner wisdom’.
On the flip side, inner wisdom is also the knowing that there is something attractive about REAL people. We are drawn to them.
This article began on my daily exercise last week. Inspiration for what I write can come from anywhere really, even a billboard sign advertising beer. I am not here to promote or discourage beer. I don’t drink beer simply because I don’t like the taste of it. I’m not particularly keen on billboards either. Maybe, upon reflection, that is because I’m not usually drawn to anything I see on them. However, on this particular day, this billboard made me smile…
People who are real are attractive. Sometimes they are attractive because at the neurological level they are actually safer. What you see is what you get. The brain likes to hit the pause button and do a bit of analysis each time it encounters something new, or someone new. If someone is being open and honest about who they are, flaws and all, then your brain can make a decision quickly about whether you are okay with this person or not. Then the brain can relax.
Sometimes people who are real are attractive because we want to be like them. Its the sense of knowing how freeing it is to just be who you are – there’s the inner wisdom again. We can see their openness, their authenticity, their vulnerability and we want some of that energy for ourselves. So if we spend time with people like that, or observe them, or simply study authenticity in any way that we can, then we will become more like that.
If we all have the knowing that it’s freeing and more enjoyable to just be yourself, then why is it often so difficult to do? I can go into a situation with the best of intentions, sure that I’m feeling great and content and happy with myself, and then “pow”, some sentence out of my mouth that wasn’t authentic. Why did I say that? That’s not me! That’s not a true representation of who I am! The person on the other side of the conversation is usually completely oblivious to this internal dialogue that has started in my head. But I know the truth. Sure, with lots of practice I’m getting much better at staying with my truth but it’s an ongoing process of negotiation with myself.
And ultimately it’s my brain. The most useful and powerful tool I have is not perfect. When my unconscious brain blurts out thoughts or feelings which are not authentic, my brain thinks it is doing me a favour. It thinks it’s keeping me safe! The need to be liked, appreciated and supported is natural. It’s connected to our ability for survival. It is encouraged by the messages we receive through media. It’s often programmed into us early by those who raised us, who got it from those who raised them, who got it from those who… you get the picture.
So there is logic in the madness of being inauthentic.
But when you take the time to quiet all the external messages, there is a knowing about the freedom in being authentic.
You know it. So go with it.
It’s often not easy. But I probably don’t need to tell you that it will be worth. There are times you have already experienced it.
Playing life by the rules that others set out for me – there was a time when that was appropriate. Rewriting the rules for my life, not just once, but constantly refining as I find out what is right and authentic for me… well that’s how I found my groove!