Authenticity

by Lesley

I am the sun; feel the warmth in me.

The Art of Being Real

This subject has been on my mind a great deal recently and over time it’s sorely tested my trust and faith in others; some of whom I’ve held dear over a long period of time. I’ve come to some conclusions lately which have surprised me and the people I’ve shared my info with.

Authenticity; the quality of being real or true.

(Ref Cambridge Dictionaries Online.)

…This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man… Shakespeare.

But what exactly does this mean? As it’s written this clearly states to me that we should follow our own reasoning and be honest with ourselves, which renders anything different towards others, impossible; once we become honest in our thought, word and action we simultaneously become honest with everyone else.

I sense that there are a very many people then, who are not so honest with themselves. I reached this conclusion which in itself, has been hit by a barrage of my own questions, ultimately leading back to trust. I shall attempt to explain in the course of writing this.

Often in conversation we hold back on saying what we truly mean so as not to offend or upset the person we are speaking to. It may not be the ‘right’ time to express our feelings on the subject – or it may be we fear the response we will get.

This says something about us; suggesting that we could be compassionate or alternatively, it can show us to be incongruent, depending on the situation.

In my experience of working with people from all types of backgrounds this still holds; people are people and we all have fears of one kind or another. For some, being socially accepted comes above everything else, so much so that words are only used to manipulate or control others and these words lack true meaning.

It’s like ‘if I say this, they’ll believe it, because I say it’, quite simply forgetting that the other person has a mind of their own and can judge for themselves that which rings true.

Perhaps a good example of this would be politicians; we are led to believe these people are doing the very best for the party or country they represent but how they perform in office may be completely different from before they got there!

Then there are those who win their way into people’s affections by giving passionate speeches and promising the world. In short this would amount to having a deep resonance with our ideals so we’ll be more inclined to believing in the person and the direction they would like to take us, when in fact all that is being done is emotional manipulation – saying what the people want to hear.

Unfortunately, some fall down holding onto those values so dearly.

Earlier this year there was a perjury trial here in Scotland concerning a very outspoken politician who was suing a newspaper for smearing his character by saying he attended a ‘swingers’ nightclub. To cut a long story short, his wife was brought to trial as well as members of his political party – some of whom gave evidence against him.

Background; Tommy Sheridan, former Member of Scottish Parliament, was a much loved and respected political activist with socialist values for equality and fairness which he regularly boomed out to crowds of people wishing for acceptable change in the country.

He appeared to fully believe in his own words, inspiring others to become more active in what happens in their community and propelling the Scottish Parliament towards accepting their role in creating change for the people of Scotland.

During his trial he called women he had ‘relations’ with. He put them on the stand and as he was his own counsel, questioned them himself on the truth of their statements. In this alone one can see that his once socialist values had become ‘me’ centred. As it was he lost the case and is now serving his sentence.

Now, you may ask, what has this to do with authenticity? Consider the words of Confucius;

“Man who is not as good as his word is a disgrace.”

Well, as it became a high profile case here it showed the man to be less than his word. He was prepared to sell out his previously loyal colleagues to save his own ass. He may well have been congruent in his political stance but he’s shown himself to be less than reliable as a friend or workmate.

In my opinion he would’ve been far more believable had he held his hands up, admitted to the papers that he had been at the club and told them to mind their own business. That would’ve been much more authentic, instead of prolonging court cases at the taxpayers’ expense and taking all of the women concerned on his ego trip.

It seems he was afraid to own up to the truth, until forced to do so, losing all credibility in the process. On the other hand, Tommy was also inveigled in the News of the World hacking scandals and there may well have been a conspiracy against him; but it doesn’t get away from the fact he was proven to have lied under oath.

Discerning the truth from what has been said takes more than just listening to words; when we meet people we have eye contact while we converse. We use body language to reinforce meaning too; it can be accepted or rejected by the person to whom it is being directed.

As the Buddha says…

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

How do we become authentic; when or how do we know we are ‘real’?

When we make peace with ourselves and balance the ego we’ll be about half way there. All we really need to do is stop the silly games in our heads and take the ego for nice, long walk.

To be authentic we must be ‘present'; fully in the now, acknowledging our own presence and that of others; many people are not ‘present’. They appear to be afraid of being themselves and I suspect mostly that comes from associating with the negative in their mind – ultimately not even liking who they are, or perceive themselves to be, whilst comparing against other, more confident, happy or assertive people.

Keep this being ‘Present’ in mind if you feel yourself float backwards into the past or fly off into the future; that wherever you are, you need to be  there fully. This ensures we have a firm grasp of the now, experiencing nature’s gift; the present moment- nurture it and allow it to pervade your every waking moment.

Spend time alone, read a book, create a journal of the journey, write about new experiences, walk in nature and listen to the inner sounds. These are the sounds of ‘alignment’, encouraging kindness toward the self and others  – bringing body, mind and spirit into harmony with all that is.

As we grow we learn to love the gift of now; of accepting what is, without stressing to fix or change it… doing only that which is right and true for ourselves, which ultimately will also be ‘good’ for others around us.

This is part of the process of being real; of becoming fully you.

It’s only when we feel authentic, show love and care for ourselves and our environment that we, as the human race, will truly progress.

About Lesley

Lesley Rodgers has written 146 posts on this blog.

Personal Development Consultant and Confidence Coach. Lesley is also a committed Human Rights Activist with her heart firmly lodged in 'community' and collaboration.

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