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In Search of The Authentic Self

"There are needs that can and should be satisfied in the present. Among these is every human beings central need to express himself; to show himself to the world as he really is, in word, in gesture, in behavior in every genuine utterance from the baby's cry to the artist's creation. "

Alice Miller

The beautiful quote above carries the message that life is truly fulfilling when we are living authentically. This quality of authentic expression comes from living life in integrity, and in alignment with our own values. I see the flourishing of my client's effortless growth when they embrace their authentic selves.

A prerequisite to authentic living is in discovering, or more accurately, rediscovering who we are. This may at first seem to be an absurd statement. We are with ourselves all of the time, how could we possibly be strangers to ourselves?

It is easier to answer this question by stating who we are not - We are not our behavior. Our present behavior is mostly comprised of reflexes, that is, automatic reactions based on our past conditioning. As human beings, we are pulled by two extremely powerful urges. The urge to be safe and the deep desire to be free. Our minds process present conditions through mental models made up of all previous experiences. These models measure all activity instantaneously and either alert us of a threat to our safety or send a comforting message that all is well. Since our behavior is so heavily influenced by these past experiences, we mindlessly proceed through life with little to no awareness of what is driving us.

The quest to discovering our authentic selves flows through the following continuum:

Observe Thyself
Know Thyself
Accept Thyself
Love Thyself
Be Thyself

Clearly, if we desire to enjoy the consistently fulfilling and joyful life authenticity has to offer us, it is through the door of awareness, which is drawn from mindful attentiveness in observing "the Self."

Detached Self-Observer vs. Emotionally Attached Critic

We are not inclined to look inward because of our over-identification with our behavior. We view our behavior in a way that defines us, is part of us, is who we are. This huge mistake shuts us down from the incredible value of self- observation. When we understand the value of being non-critical, detached witnesses to our behavior, we begin to realize that the observer and the observed are two quite different things.

The aim is to see our behavior objectively, that is, non-critically. The productive use of this witnessing is when we can step back as observers and view our reactive nature without over-identifying with it.

If we are looking to break a "bad" habit or begin a new desirable one, the benefits of detached observation become apparent. We begin to become aware of the thoughts or actions which serve as triggers to the behavior. In contrast, with "critical" observation we get into the blame-game or the pity-pot of victimhood, and through this misplaced attention, we expand more of what we don't want. This adds fuel to the very same anxiety (fear of future outcome), which is often the triggering cause of the negative behavior. This state of mind drains us of our creativity and leaves us frozen in despair. We've mistakenly judged ourselves as wrong by over-identifying with the behavior. By remaining detached, we can simply observe the behavior that can bring us awareness as to the root-cause triggering the behavior and this, in turn, can guide us back toward the direction of our mindful intentions.

Socrates, Silva, Maltz, Dyer, Peale, Hill, Chopra, Robbins, Gurdjieff and many other mindful thinkers point out to us the value of observing our internal self-talk and external dialogue. They offer us techniques to interrupt behavioral patterns that do not serve us and replace them with thoughts which are in alignment with the intended outcomes.

The call-reluctant salesman overidentifies with his reluctancy to pick up the telephone and begins to feel terribly about himself. Lost in this emotional dungeon, he has little chance of motivating himself. He perhaps forces himself painfully through the process or retreats defeated. By seeing the behavior separate and apart from himself, he offers himself the opportunity to discover the cause of his discomfort and seek pathways which are more in alignment with his authentic nature.

The authentic salesman brings a genuine quality to his work and effortlessly attracts clients who objectively and subjectively perceive this at a deep level. He eagerly looks forward to delivering his products and services when he internally views his work as an expression of his values.

Now sales ideas, strategies and techniques are salt on the steak of this already whole individual, in contrast to the salesman that hops from hot idea to hot idea continually wearing someone else's suit, which never quite seems to fit just right, and this too is perceived by his prospective clients.

Millions of us over-identify with weight control problems. This over-identification increases negative attention and therefore adds to the emotional anxiety which is the triggering cause of the problem. Through non-critical observation, this discovery becomes clear and shifts our attention to life long self-care strategies vs. the endless cycle of fad diets and temporary successes.

As we continue to make headway, the mind begins to develop new, healthier models to process life experiences through. Increasingly attracted to this new found freedom, we fearlessly continue to be observant, witnessing the folly of this energy-draining behavior. The stage is now set for the authentic self to emerge. The true self seizes control and orchestrates a fresh life composed of mindful choices.

Clearly this constitutes a major transformation from mindless, repetitive, fear-based, reactive behavior to mindful awareness and a genuine expression of freedom and self- love.

Attracted to this path? If not, why not? If so, get some more techniques and tools by simply calling "the coach.

Copyrighted by John Felitto
Author & Publisher of the "INTENTIONS" Newsletter

More Of John's Articles

John Felitto - Coach - Web Site
John Felitto, Mind Development
Trainer & Coach,
65 Mendolia Ct., Pearl River, NY 10965
(845) 735-4284
John is available for telephone coaching, speaking engagements and on-site training programs.

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