Imposed social roles, the pressure of our environment often lead us astray. By striving to meet expectations, we make important decisions in life. And now we have an unloved job and a painful social circle. In the book “Authenticity. How to be yourself ”psychologist Stephen Joseph says: you can become happy only when you listen to your desires and strive for your own goals. And this does not mean that everyone else needs to declare war.
Be true to yourself
For the first time, Karl Rogers, the largest humanistic psychotherapist of the 20th century, spoke about the problem of authenticity. He gave the definition of this concept: “Authenticity is the ability to be the creator of your own life, a complex phenomenon that involves the desire to identify and satisfy their needs and at the same time the ability to coexist harmoniously with others, including meeting their needs.”
A person who needs psychological help is often inauthentic.
Emotional depression is a symptom of a violation of harmony, a mismatch between his inner world and external actions, a cry for help. To help his patients, Karl Rogers developed a new method of psychotherapy based on acceptance.
When a person feels that he is accepted for who he is, he stops pretending to himself and begins to listen to himself.
His world is filled with meaning, a global goal appears, life changes dramatically, becomes conscious and authentic.
Previously, psychologists were mainly interested in problems and deviations (depression, anxiety, fears, deviant behavior), and psychological well-being was understood as the absence of problems.
Thanks, among other things, to Rogers, a new generation of positive psychologists began to study the phenomenon of happiness. Stephen Joseph also became interested in how to live a happy and meaningful life, and came to the conclusion that the main condition for such a life is authenticity.
Formula of authenticity
How often do we think that in our youth we wanted to do something completely different? Sometimes we dream of changing jobs, parting with a partner, traveling to distant countries, dreaming of living a different life, but few make these dreams a reality.
More often than not, the reality is that we spend our days at an unloved job that takes up all the time, and only on the way home we remember that we had a dream to become an artist, a designer, write a novel, participate in a marathon, learn to play the flute.
At this moment, you realize that you have a choice: to leave everything as it is or to step towards change. It is then that many people prefer to read a magazine or turn on a series, so as not to make any decision and postpone oppressive questions for later.
But if a person decides to change, go to a dream and do what he has long wanted, but did not dare, authenticity wakes up. It means being true to yourself. Every everyday decision of an authentic person corresponds to his inner desires and intuition. It is a constant process, daily choice of the path and awareness even in the smallest things.
How to check if you are authentic? Remember if you honestly answer the usual question: “How are you?”
Do you get off with a “Okay, thanks” on duty, or do you prefer to answer in essence, truthfully weighing your current situation? Of course, sometimes you don’t need to tell others what you really think. In this case, you can directly inform the interlocutor about this. The authentic approach is that all our words and deeds must match our feelings and thoughts, otherwise we will feel emotional discomfort.
You can recall the words that are attributed to the American cartoonist Dr. Seuss: “Be yourself and do not hide your feelings. Because those who judge you mean nothing to you. And those who mean something to you will not judge you. “
To be authentic, you need to listen to your inner voice. Steve Jobs spoke about this at a meeting with graduates of Stanford University: “Your time is limited, so do not waste it on living someone else’s life. Do not fall into the trap of dogma, do not start living by someone else’s behest. Don’t let the noise of other people’s thoughts drown out your inner voice. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to follow your heart and intuition. After all, they already know who you really want to become. Everything else is secondary. ”
Three features of an authentic person
What allows an authentic person to consciously approach all aspects of his life? Stephen Joseph lists three features.
1. Knowing yourself. Such people understand what they love and what not, what they are good at and what they are not very good at, what they are ready to go for and where they should stop. They try to look at what is happening objectively and recognize the truth about themselves, even if it is unpleasant.
A person of this kind is honest with himself and is ready to change his mind if additional information appears. He listens to his intuition and can sort out his own emotions.
2. Ability to take responsibility for oneself. In the middle of the 20th century, American psychologist and sociologist Solomon Asch tried to find an answer to the question of why many quite decent and respectable people obeyed Hitler’s will and took part in his crimes.
Ash conducted an experiment. The subject entered the room and sat down at the table, where there were already five dummy actors. Everyone was shown three lines and asked to rate each in relation to the others – whether it is longer, shorter, or the same. At first, everyone at the table gave the correct answers. All the actors answered incorrectly about the third line.
The subject, having heard five wrong answers in a row, began to doubt: believe his own eyes or join the “public opinion”, albeit obviously wrong? 35% of the subjects agreed with the wrong answer.
Those who did not succumb to the provocation behaved authentically. They were not afraid to take responsibility and express an opinion that did not coincide with the opinion of the majority.
3. Ability to be yourself. Those who are authentic strive for honesty and openness in relationships. Status is not important to them. They are not affected by the “effect of servility”, when a person is more willing to support someone who is higher in status, and to those who are lower, treats with hostility. They do not enter into meaningless wrangling with those who are unable to accept someone else’s point of view.
How to learn to listen to your inner voice
Our positive sides, as well as fears and bad habits, are formed in childhood, they are based on relationships with parents. But if we become more authentic, we can find the roots of our flaws and try to overcome them. How to come to this?
1. Build your children’s self-esteem. It is important for parents to set reasonable boundaries for their children, while avoiding coldness and control. Try to see the world through the eyes of a child. The child should not feel that he is less loved if he did something wrong. He must understand that his parents are upset by his actions, not himself.
2. Accept yourself and do not set conditions. If in childhood we are not accepted as we are, we have a list of conditions that must be adhered to in order to be loved. With age, these values turn into voices in our heads that constantly criticize us: “Look how awkward you are! You are hysterical and do not know how to control yourself! “
For an authentic life, we must not let these voices drown out our own. Intuition and some free time will help here, when you can listen to what is happening inside and take steps to make out your feelings and thoughts (without judging yourself).
Compliments, which you can accept and thank for them, also help. Don’t shield yourself from praise.
3. Look for positive relationships. Distinguish between positive and toxic relationships in which love is only possible under certain conditions. In toxic relationships, there is little empathy and sincerity. In such an environment (for example, at work), it is important that your self-esteem does not suffer. Remember your strengths, talents, and capabilities. Don’t doubt them.