People are it seems really confused around the issue of identity and authenticity, especially when communicating with or presenting themselves to others. The comment “just be yourself”, sounds very simple but is actually a minefield for many of us. Being yourself can mean to enter into a state of authentic being, but you might not be able to work out what that is or how you do it. To put yourself out there in a genuine way can feel very scary since we can feel very vulnerable and we don’t know how it will go down with others. What if we get ridicule or hostility?
Being yourself can be tricky
It’s all the more tricky when various “celebrities” and PR-savvy people seem to be doing a pretty good job of it, with whom we compare ourselves negatively, until that is we hear that there’s a crisis of confidence in public figures, a cynicism and distrust which seems to suggest that actually what we’re getting isn’t truly honest and authentic. This is often described as the age of narcissism, the false self, self-absorbed and “me first” orientated, presenting some seemingly convincing image but actually wrought with anxiety about whether it is “good enough”. Many people are now asking for honesty and trustworthiness. If you are presenting a “self” that people don’t get, there’s a problem.
Knowing who you are
Being yourself presupposes you know who you are. Do you know who the being is who you are trying to be?! That can need working out and it isn’t necessarily easy, especially knowing where to start. It’s really important to do some training where you need to share with others in a group and part of the work to involve sharing yourself authentically. It is in groups that you can get the feedback, and people can be very straight about what’s missing. You can learn from that. It’s also important to work on getting connected with yourself emotionally, to sense how you are really feeling, and learn to trust what your body and your feelings are telling you in any given situation. Then learn to express that, so that what you then share is connected with all levels of your being.
At all levels
This brings us to the importance of knowing yourself at all levels of your being, which is not only intellectual and rational but also emotional and sensed as stated above, and also spiritual. Sensing your spiritual side is unfashionable but something that people can sense intuitively. Thus when you are connected at all levels and speak from there, you open yourself to connect with all levels of the other person too, and to others in a group for example. This is the level of the connectedness we have with all others, in the sense that we are all One. So when you are thus connected, you are in touch with a force that we all know even if not consciously, and people can feel almost automatically drawn to you. This is arguably the challenge of the modern age, to use this age of instant communication to connect with all people through our Oneness. To be so aware of being yourself brings a whole new dimension to knowing yourself and being yourself.
Thus real authenticity is to be complete at all levels of your Being, so that you can truly be your Self.
You can still opt out of it all if you choose, and go and find and be yourself on your own or with like-minded. But you might at some level still find yourself needing to deal with the challenge of connecting with less like-minded people. After all, what we resist, we get.