Authenticity is a sensitizing and blessed power.
When you are comfortable with being yourself, you are also at home in the universe. The power to be yourself—–the greatest power in the world. Striving for authenticity is not easy. It is an endeavour of a lifetime, and nobody ever makes it all the way. It is a becoming rather than an ending, something we learn day by day.
Here are a few ways to start :—-
(a) Pay attention to what is going on in your life—–inwardly and outwardly. Keep a journal, if necessary, to see how you change over time and to discover what suppressed longings are being expressed. A few of us are so monolithic that we do not harbour conflicts within ourselves. Admit them. Listen to the dialogue within and record it in your journal.
(b) Accept the idea that nothing is wrong with being different from other people—– I would say, “DARE TO BE DIFFERENT”. The HERD MENTALITY comes easy to al of us, but it takes a lot of guts to STAND APART. The truth is, ALL OF US ARE DIFFERENT, AND WE ARE MEANT TO BE. Paul Weiss, the philosopher, wrote, “Each one of us is a unique being confronting the rest of the world in a unique fashion.” Seek out your own deep convictions and stand by them, no matter what happens.
(c) Spend time with yourself.—–Solitude is at the heart of self-knowledge, because it is only when we are alone that we can truly distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, between what is trivial and what is important. “Solitude”‘ said Nietzsche,” make us tougher towards ourselves and tenderer towards others.”
Authenticity makes each person’s life count by restoring POWER to the individual. To be oneself is a natural human and universal power, which brings with it a cornucopia of blessings:
(a) A sense of direction—–Authentic people recognise the direction in which their lives are meant to go. When Albert Schweitzer, a great missionary doctor, was a boy, a friend proposed they go up in the hills and kill birds. Albert was reluctant, but because he was afraid he would be laughed at, he went along. When they arrived at a tree in which a flock of birds was singing, the two boys put stones in their catapults. Suddenly, the Church bells started to ring. For Albert, it was a voice from Heaven. He shooed the birds away and went home. From that day onwards, he realised that reverence for life was more important than being laughed at. His priorities became clear.
(b) Self-generated energy—–Fatigue is a common symptom of people who have suppressed what is truly themselves. They are not tired but TIRED OF. They are so fatigued, that they can hardly drag one foot after the other. One pschychotherapist, summing them up said, “The sense of loss of muscular power was really a sense of loss of power on the part of the soul”. We, too, are tired from the effort of trying to impress others. THAT IS HARD WORK. In contrast, authentic people do not dissipate energy in contradictions. He feels alive and exhilarated, because his self-honesty reduces internal conflicts. He does what really matters.
(c) The power of example—–The authentic person also mobilises the energies of others, by inspiring them. During the French Occupation of the Saar in the 1920s, the German feelings were running high against the excesses by black colonial troops. Roland Hayes, the great black singer, faced a hostile audience in Berlin. For almost ten minutes, he stood quietly by the piano, waiting for the noise to subside. Then he began to sing Schubert’s “Du bist die Ruh (Thou art Peace ). A silence fell over the unruly crowd. His artistry transcended the hostility and ther was a profound communication between the singer and the audience.
(d) The power of self-love—–A person who respects and values himself is also likely to do the same for others. When we are not sure about who we are, we are uneasy. We try to find out what we should say or how we should act. But an authentic person does not waste his energy in protecting a shaky ego.
(e) The power of the spirit—–Spiritual power comes to those who are most centred on the deep self where discovery begins. Few of us can be great leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr, who marched between the swinging police clubs and the baying dogs to Selma, Alabama, and electrified a huge audience in Washington. A person, who is true to himself, enhances his access to this power of the spirit. So be authentic and true to your own self and values.