Your Authentic Self
Perhaps you sense a Core You who feels safe and at peace, who is without pain or fear, who never feels anxiety or depression. These aspects of yourself often get buried as we grow up, but they never disappear. As we uncover our innate Essence qualities, we automatically begin to tap into our aliveness, creativity and intuition. The Authentic self is like a compass that guides us to True North.
Essence Qualities could be: enthusiasm, adventurous, efficient, patient, visionary, honest, understanding, spontaneous, humorous, willing, responsible, loving, faithful, loyal, trusting, compassionate, courageous, forgiving, simple, playful, joyful, creative, grateful, transforming, inspirational, open, mothering
Each of us creates our own form of emotional protection in order make our way through life’s challenges. These layers of protection served us well as children, but they may hinder us as adult
The Princess and the Pea as metaphor for Soul
In “The Princess and The Pea” a tale written by Hans Christian Anderson, a little girl discovers she is a princess because she can feel a tiny pea hidden under 20 mattresses and 20 down comforters. In our own lives the pea stands in for Soul, or our enduring Essence.
In the normal course of modern life we have all experienced rejection, betrayal, neglect or even trauma. And the body’s build in protection helps to hide parts of our Essence in order to cope. These protective covers kept our authentic selves safe from harm as we took on roles and behaviors that disguised our true identity for safe keeping. With each challenge, we added another layer (mattress) of protection, and may have forgotten our real self.
These “mattresses” include our perceptions and fears, coping methods to keep us from feeling the pain of loss. Most people arrive at adulthood having forgotten that they are not just their bodies, their jobs, their relationships, their possessions. They sense something is missing but can’t quite tell what it is. Like the pea in the bed that keeps you awake at night, you have a vague sense of discomfort and longing to remember something precious.
Signals like anxiety, depression, stress, pain or uncomfortable body sensations can lead us, like the keen instincts of a Sherlock Holmes to discover where we misplaced our authentic selves. Our Essence hasn’t gone anywhere; it’s simply waiting safely to be uncovered.
Ways to Discover Authentic Self
- Write or say the words “I am” 20, 30 even 40 times until you get down through all the layers. When you arrive at essence you will feel a sense of “yes”, and your body will take a deep breath and you feel a sense of aliveness or warmth flow through your body
- Think of someone you deeply love or admire. Write or think about the enduring qualities you notice in them. Notice you may be looking in the mirror of projection at your own authentic self, seeing in them what you dare not see in yourself.
- Ask someone you trust to name the qualities they appreciate in you.
- When you’ve identified some of these qualities, feel what they are like in your body. For example, if one of your essence qualities is enthusiasm, notice if these was fully present in you, how do you sense your posture, your facial expression, how would you breathe, how would your feet connect with the earth. This exercise will help you embody and anchor these qualities.
- In your everyday life, imagine how you would feel, what you would say, what you would eat, if this quality was fully present in you. How would you treat your co-workers, your children, the person who cuts you off on the freeway? Imagining helps your nervous system remember this feeling so you can begin to embody it.
- Imagine this quality, notice what color it might be and let that color fill up your heart and expand throughout your body. Breathe it in and send it out into the world.
Imagine the little child you were, like the princess and the pea, and see yourself when this quality was fully alive in your little body. Fast forward your imagination to see who that child would be now, having been fully supported to be authentic. And if you dare, step into that imagined you. Walk around, feel what it would be like.
While reawakening your Essence, you will begin to tap into your own inner wisdom and bring ease to your life. Choices become clear when they are made from your Essence rather than the need for safety and protection. Reduce the guesswork about what will make you happy. Notice that when you center yourself in authenticity, you’ll be able to feel whether a certain path will make you happy before you travel it. You’ll become more confident as you realize you don’t need outward approval for your life. You’ll find the courage to make life-transforming decisions.
Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself
You’ll find it easier and easier to live the life you were meant to live rather than “shoulding” on yourself. You can release addictions, compulsive or self-defeating behaviors since you live on purpose.
And once you have named and recognize these core qualities, you will begin to recognize them in others and help them to also awaken to their authentic selves.