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What exactly is "The authentic self" ? Is the idea of authenticity flawed ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by -barry-, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. -barry-

    -barry- Newcomer

    There's this idea of the authentic self. It is said that when you ignore it, sickness magnifies. Dr. Gabor Maté often talks about the need forauthenticity and the need for attachment as two opposing ideas.

    What exactly is the authentic self ? How do you notice it and how do I differentiate it from other "voices" ? What if it's your ego talking and not the authentic self ? And what does it mean to listen to your authentic self ? Does it mean to accept emotions or to do things your authentic self wants you to do ?

    My problem and question I have about this idea is this :

    1. Does this idea not create a certain panic within a person ? A person who is determined to act in accordance with their "authentic self" might fear that if they don't - they'll get sick. "I'm not liking my job but I still have to pay the bills - Will I develop an illness if I keep going ?" - "I'm not being 100% honest with my partner or people in general so I'm rejecting my authentic self for acceptance by others - Will I get sick now ?". Every action and every thought goes through a heavy monitoring process. But the truth is life is not black and white. Nobody is 100% honest. Nobody is 100% content with their decisions. We are flawed.

    I also like to link this passage from a very interesting article that seems to examine what authenticity actually is and that there is no pure authenticity that's independent of the opinion of others.

    "
    But authenticity is a slippery thing. Although most people would define authenticity as acting in accordance with your idiosyncratic set of values and qualities, research has shown that people feel most authentic when they conform to a particular set of socially approved qualities, such as being extroverted, emotionally stable, conscientious, intellectual and agreeable.

    This is the paradox of authenticity: In order to reap the many of the benefits of feeling authentic, you may have to betray your true nature

    But a number of studies have shown that people’s feelings of authenticity are often shaped by something other than their loyalty to their unique qualities. Paradoxically, feelings of authenticity seem to be related to a kind of social conformity.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-inconvenient-truth-about-your-authentic-self/ (The Inconvenient Truth about Your “Authentic” Self)
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi -barry-

    I like the points you're thinking about.

    Is there an authentic self? What is it? Can it be accessed? Is the feeling of being safe and OK, which might feel 'authentic' also actually be quite conditioned by our need to be loved/attached?

    And most importantly, I think your question of
    really strikes to the heart of doing inner work because it points to the perfectionism and seizing on the "right path" to more ease, and less pain. I think this is very important in doing TMS work, knowing when we're pressuring ourselves to be xy or z, or know xy or z. Because fear and pressuring about doing it right is not helpful. So how do we keep our eye on the prize, and hold all of it sort of "loosely," lovingly?

    To me, both the conditioned sense of "comfortable self" and a more authentic self have their place. What is helpful is seeing the conditioned self with compassion and understanding about how it is trying to get its needs met ala Gabor Mate.

    To me the parts of myself are often distinguished by a somatic or body feeling. My authentic self might feel more spacious, free, crisp, alert, alive, full, dense, consistent.

    Perhaps a feeling of completeness or safety, ease, looseness. Maybe a sense of self-intimacy.

    I might be more curious, interested, compassionate, and less attached to outcomes. Maybe I can learn in these moments and enjoy them. Making them happen probably won't happen...;)

    I think the "authentic self" accepts emotions. That may help distinguish it from the conditioned self which tends to reject experiences.

    The Scientific American article I think keeps the discussion about what is authentic rather on the surface. It compares and points to the feeling of being authentic as an ideal, another part of our conditioned self. A "self" which feels accepted by being a certain way: outgoing and happy. What I am pointing to in my guidance for how to distinguish the differences is deeper. It is a felt sense of satisfaction and less inner conflict. It is a "scent" which we learn to follow, learn to enjoy and like. It has its own rewards regardless of pain relief or what others think.

    Like Mate points to, it has an innate sense of autonomy. Not a false autonomy of "I'm different than you" but an inner autonomy of "this is my real experience, which is important to me."

    Knowing something about this, as direct experience is important because it gives us a lode stone to know when we're more in a state of inner conflict or "Tension." The tension pointing to the interplay of the "false selves." Again, that "Tension" I think can often be felt inside.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
  3. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Well known member

    Hi Barry,

    What a great topic! Here are some of my thoughts on it, but I'm going to be very interested in what others have to say about this.

    I think you are actually being authentic by the mere fact that you don't kid yourself, you admit to yourself and others that you don't like your job. So that means that you can still get better from TMS, despite doing a job you dislike because you are being authentic. If at all possible you can aim to try and find work that is a better fit with you and in the meantime make the best of a bad job (in both senses of the word, and pun intended) and do everything you can to soothe yourself and keep your stress levels down to help you with your recovery from TMS. There are people who have recovered from TMS who post on this forum and they have testified to getting better despite lots of things - some of them being quite major and some of them things that weren't within their power to change - not being hunky dory in their lives. They have said that they just needed to recognise these stressors and their involvement in making them rail and rage inside.

    In this article https://medium.com/@chrisjones_32882/finding-your-authentic-self-cd4043eed2f8 (Finding Your Authentic Self) it says that "the 18th century, the philosopher Jean Jacque Rousseau conceived of the idea that society has the habit of corrupting the individual. Our natural tendencies, he said, of compassion and feeling towards others, can get side-tracked by other preoccupations that society encourages in us, such as how we appear to others and how materially successful we are". In the example in the article you give the link to, it says that Jack's personality is antagonistic yet both Jane - who has a personality that is agreeable - and Jack felt inauthentic when they argued with others This might point to Rousseau being correct about our natural authentic selves actually being essentially agreeable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Our ego is a many headed monster. Each time you think you've decapitated him, he grows a new head... My old "Bad Guy" self got replaced by "Good spiritual guy" self which got replaced by "Jaded 'Ecclesiastes' self" and on an on... hard to keep up with all of it's tricks. So where is the 'real authentic self'?

    Well, I have slowly and painfully sawed and scraped off as much as I can stand. The remaining blob is getting closer and closer to the authentic. Hopefully I'll get there before I die. It is my personal conviction that anything you don't work out in this lifetime is waiting for you in your next one (I am a Gnostic)...you only get to go home when you've done the work in front of you.

    I have learned about the Inauthentic (Lies and fictions) through participating with my shortcomings via paperwork (steps4,5, 6 and 7 in 12 step work)
    Most of my Inauthentic (Lies) self is nurtured by a need to protect my flaws. Fear or the basic human unease, alienation would be at the core. I prop it up and protect it with STORIES. Most of the stories are 'why I can't be OK right now and why I am justified doing/not doing what I do'.

    Example. I got angry this week at the neighboring construction site for letting an electrical pole hang dangerously over my yard... they just ignored it. I lost my cookies. I felt a murderous rage course up and down my spine as I did everything in my power to show THEM they were not going to fuck with ME. I wasted tons of energy and time outlining the wrongness of theirs and the righteousness of myself. I told the story to myself and anyone else who would listen.

    THEN I wrote about it and looked at where I was selfish, dishonest, self seeking and frightened. The electrical pole just is. Their negligence just is. My flailing about right and wrong is something My Ego made up. I could have simply contacted them and told them I was concerned about it and would appreciate it being secured.... unfortunately my Ego got in there before the mustard seed of authenticity I possess got hold of it.

    They fixed it. I could feel that energy of righteousness and murderous anger roll out....almost embarrassed. Maybe even frustrated. I want to FIGHT and Be RIGHT. The 'silent watcher' inside me also made note that the exiting wave was a fiction I had created around the 'story'

    so... for me it has not been finding authenticity, but acknowledging the Inauthenticity (Lies, stories, emotion) and being willing to let it go.

    Eckhart Tolle explains this better than any one I have ever read. After reading him , other disciplines and teachings had much more meaning for me and they all point towards the same truth, but each one of us has to find it inside of us on our own. "You shall enter the bridal chamber alone"

    Sarno and TMS was instrumental in letting go of 'the story of Marc's Pain, birth defects and bad luck'. Once I let go of the story, the pain didn't really have anywhere to latch onto so It got bored and left... But I must be alert lest I come down with a new story and the attached grievance....which is the New paint job on my old inauthenticity.
     
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  5. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    [QUOTE="Baseball65, post: 121758, member: 5773"

    Example. I got angry this week at the neighboring construction site for letting an electrical pole hang dangerously over my yard... they just ignored it. I lost my cookies. I felt a murderous rage course up and down my spine as I did everything in my power to show THEM they were not going to fuck with ME. I wasted tons of energy and time outlining the wrongness of theirs and the righteousness of myself. I told the story to myself and anyone else who would listen.

    Once I let go of the story, the pain didn't really have anywhere to latch onto so It got bored and left... But I must be alert lest I come down with a new story and the attached grievance....which is the New paint job on my old inauthenticity.[/QUOTE]

    I found this incredibly raw, brave and honest, and once again, you've helped me just by my reading your post and a part of it happening to mirror my own life at the time.
    I've had a similar incident and I'm still raging about it.
    I read your post.
    I back off.
    I don't send my threatening message to the person who has, for all intents and purposed, 'ripped me, and many other people, off'.
    And yes, it's ego, how DARE she do this to me, and it's up to ME to protect all the younger girls who don't have the grit or savvy to take it further.

    In the end I contacted Paypal for a refund.
    I have not heard back - as I expected, as she is not answering paypal requests either, in the end, Paypal will have to refund me.
    But I AM going to report her to consumer affairs and let them deal with her.
    I AM going to call the department that deals with merchant fraud, because it is not up to Paypal to refund customers.
    But as for personal revenge, one on one, no, I've dropped it.
    Your post helped me identify where this thirst for retribution came from and I stopped.
    I still fantasize about the scary monster I could be to her, but I've more or less dropped it, let it go. So long as I get my money back and the relevant authorities know,
    then it's not up to me to do anything, really.
    thanks for waking me up
     
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