“Be your authentic self. Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment, or before the world starts pushing you around and telling you who you’re supposed to be. Your fictional self is who you are when you have a social mask on to please everyone else. Give yourself permission to be your authentic self.” Dr. Phil
When you dance with life, which dance do you prefer: the one someone else created or the one you created? Who are you really?
Getting in Touch With Our Untamed Self
There is a part of me that has always remained untamed. As a child and for many years, it primarily remained underground. I tried to be a good girl, not cause trouble, and do the right thing. As a result, I was very uptight, nervous, anxious, and socially uncomfortable. I had this feeling that who I really was, this thinking, creative being, wasn’t a good thing.
But there were two things that saved me. The first was that my family spent many hours out-of-doors where I experienced Oneness with nature. When the weather was good, we went on hikes, swam in lakes and rivers, and picnicked under the trees. In the silence of nature, there were no expectations, only the silence in which to be. And I loved our pet cats because they were cuddly and playful, but undomesticated unlike dogs. They simply remained who they were.
The second thing that saved me was my creative nature. That creative energy within felt like the real me. It was spacey and flowing, unpredictable and joyful, not at all practical like the main quality of most of my kin. As a child, I created wardrobes for my paper dolls; as an adolescent, I was in plays and wrote speeches; as a young adult, I became committed to being a modern dancer; as a mature adult, I began writing. Those creative expressions came from a mysterious and unique place deep within me that no one else could touch.
Hiding Behind Society’s Masks
As I entered adulthood and faced my impending marriage, I became aware of the extent to which I had learned to accommodate who I was supposed to be. Sometimes, I caught myself telling little white lies. They were created to keep the peace, and I realized I had been doing that for a long time out of fear of being rejected. I began to monitor myself and tried to be more honest in my communication with those I cared about because I knew I wasn’t being totally genuine.
But being a good wife, teacher, and dancer was stressful. In Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, my spiritual memoir, I reflected on this dilemma. “At times, who I was seemed as mysterious to me as the mystery of who Gary [my husband] was. What was behind the masks we wore? We put on our husband and wife masks and did the marriage dance, the balletic pas de deux—playing the prince and princess. We smiled, we touched each other affectionately in public. He brought me flowers when I performed and roses on Valentine’s. We celebrated birthdays, promotions, and performances. But sometimes beneath his persona as a police officer, behind the uniform and the revolver, I saw moments I pretended not to see—moments of insecurity he pretended didn’t exist, doubts—doubts about himself, our marriage, or me.”
We play out these conditioned roles because it is uncomfortable to go against society or our families. People we love may desert us. We may lose a job. This happened to me twice because I refused to do what I felt was unethical. When others are comfortable doing the foxtrot, they resent our doing the tango. But as long as we wear the masks others create for us, we are dancing their dance, not ours.
We are taught these roles are who we are supposed to be, but who we are authentically can only be created by us. Shakespeare said it best, “This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man.”(Hamlet) And that is the core of it. If we cannot be honest with ourselves about who we are, we cannot be honest with others.
Being Authentic Makes Us Free
Being authentic is true freedom. It puts us in touch with our Wildness, that purity of nature that lures us to the forest or ocean, for the energy and essence of nature is within us. We are all One. When we are in touch with our Wildness, our Oneness, we no longer fear the judgments of others. We empower ourselves by accepting who we are, and on the deepest level, what we think of ourselves is all that matters. This is not to say that we do not have to treat others in a responsible manner. It does mean that we will take full responsibility for our own choices and accept the consequences of our actions. If we mess up, we have to clean it up.
When we are authentic, we feel secure, for we are also connected with our inner spirit, and thus with that Spirit that is Oneness. In the silence of meditation or nature or creative expression, we are able to touch our deepest core and who we truly are. When we are authentic, it is easy to love ourselves. When we love ourselves, it is easier to love others and to draw to us those people who will truly love us for who we are.
Next week, I will introduce you to a friend who has created a space in which to experience his Wildness, The Space With No Name.
In one sentence, who are you really?
©2012 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5