Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | March 19, 2011

Pursuing authenticity: Will the real me please stand up?

Sitting in my favorite chair, I watch my cat sleep contentedly by my side. Feet up, stretched out on his back, he gently snores away as I marvel once again at his inability to be anything other than who he is.

Mr. Kitty never apologizes for who he is, never acts like he cares when he doesn’t, and never, never dons a mask before he goes out in public. He is who he is, and the idea of how he presents never crosses his mind. He’s the real deal. He is authentic and frankly, I am jealous.

Of course I can’t be like him. I am not a cat. If I wish to be authentic, I must work at it. But I was a child once and I am pretty sure I was authentic in the beginning. That was a gift. If I wish to return to an authentic state as an adult I must strip many layers of familial and social lessons that actually taught me how to be three kinds of me (more on that later). 

 There are two definitions of authenticity that perfectly express how I want to be:

  • The quality of being genuine or not corrupted from the original
  • undisputed credibility

I want to be genuine, uncorrupted, and credible in all my words and actions. This is where the “three kinds of me” wreak havoc. They can not possibly match up.

Three kinds of me? Yes. Most of us live our daily lives as a cast of characters within ourselves; going back and forth between one to three of the “mes” that we are. If we are not authentic then we are most likely to be made up of:

  • The “me” we are when we are totally alone and maybe when in the company of a trusted one.
  • The “me” we present to the world. This me is often further split into the many “mes” cultivated to present at work, with family, out in public, at an interview, and so on.
  • And finally the ideal “me”. The one we see as the “me” we want to be.

It is easy to understand why Mr. Kitty is so relaxed. He only has one “me”.

So the desire is to integrate the three “mes” into one authentic person who is comfortable being who she is in all situations. She is comfortable in her own skin, in relationship to others, and living her ideal self. So how the heck do you do that?

Warning: I don’t have the answer.

If I told you I did, the following would be coming from the “me” I would like you to see or the ideal “wise” me I would like to be. However, the genuine me has a few ideas she would like to explore with you:

  1. I need to understand and trust that I am not a human being seeking spirituality, but rather a spiritual being experiencing life in human form. I come from spirit (God). I will return to spirit. It seems to me that rather than adjusting my spirit to human ways, the goal is to align my human experience with my spiritual beliefs. Bending my spirit to accommodate my humanity feels disingenuine at best.
  2. I am pretty sure I need to sort through and strip away social skills that taught me to “present”. I don’t like to hurt other people’s feelings, and I do like to put my best foot forward, but I am learning that when I put those things before the truth I cause more trouble for others and myself. Those are just two examples of social skills that I now believe cause more harm than good. Just as we practiced these skills growing up, I must now practice authenticity. It’ s not easy.
  3. I must make peace with the impossibility of miraculously waking up one day as my ideal self and start putting into practice actions that reflect my ideas of what my potential is. Thinking about the ideal me does nothing. Living the ideal me sometimes only frustrates me. Striving realistically to know and be all I can be, and acting in accordance seems to be the way to go.

If I trust and appreciate my spirit, remove the societal cobwebs that skew my clarity, and begin to work toward my ideal, not try to think or wish it into existence, I believe I just might find this human journey leading me full circle, back to the authentic self that God sent here.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3  Hmmmm…..I might be on to something here.

What do you think?

Mr. Kitty

“He is who he is, and the idea of how he presents never crosses his mind. He’s the real deal.”

 

 

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