Socrates and Plato once had discourse over the idea that life was not worth living unless it was fully examined.
Now this is not simply a matter of contemplating one’s own navel, but rather a matter of actually having questioned the consideration of which that allows you to have an authentic look at yourself.
How do I uncover myself from this world that consumes me?
We as human-beings are wired to be admired. We want to look good, and we want people to think highly of us. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to come across someone who wasn’t influenced by social judgement underneath it all. One of the things that is admired by others is the notion of ‘being real’ with someone, or being authentic. If you are a phony in life no one will admire you, and who wants that? The first step on the journey to authenticity is to be authentic with your inauthenticity. You might be scratching your head now after that statement, not to worry, I will explain it more clearly below.
What I mean to say is that you need to recognize that are fallible as a human and fall short all the time. As soon as you start to recognize the areas in which you aren’t being authentic, the sooner you have reached a new freedom.
This is how you begin to start to get a real good look at yourself.
Here is an example
In the normal course of events we think of our listening as a an empty bowl. Someone says something to me and there it is in the empty bowl and I take a look at it and then respond.
Now, what if I suggested to you that the bowl, or our listening ability wasn’t actually empty to begin with?
The act of listening was taking place but it was already being shaped and judged by our own perceptions. That background noise was already there in the presumed empty bowl.
When I discovered one of my own in-authenticities I began to see the background noise more clearly. I was a person who needed to have their point of view heard no matter what the cost. If we were having a discussion, I would not simply sit there and hear you out, I would always be formulating a plot to defend my stance prior to your any response you had. As soon as you finished your last word I would jump in and begin my rebuttal or pitch. This left me not really being capable of listening in the first place. My inauthenticity was trying to persuade my own point of view upon others in a ‘righteousness’ of importance. If I was trying to an authentic person I would sit in earnest compassion for your words and perspective, instead of sitting there with my loaded gun ready to shoot!
As you can imagine this lack of interpersonal communication left people feeling frustrated and manipulated, let alone not being heard or validated. How about that for leaving a bad taste in someone’s mouth? No one wants to move forward in progress with someone like that, now do they?
Now that I have recognized that inauthenticity within myself I can be present with it. I now have a choice over the matter. I can stop honouring that arrogance within myself, and I can empty my preloaded gun and actually be present to the discussion. I can then attempt to put myself in the other persons shoes, recreating what it is they are attempting to relay to me in full heart and attention.
Have you stopped and thought about ways to be more authentic in your own life?