|CHAPTER THREE: WHO AM I?|
The Authenticity Audit – “Truth” v Perception
INTERVIEWS NOT INCLUDED HERE (YOU’LL HAVE TO BUY THE BOOK!!!!)
JUSTIN REED EARLY
SARA DAVIS BUECHNER
|THE AUTHENTICITY AUDIT“Truth” v Perception|
| Why do people accept the opinions of others about themselves as truth? Who is going to live the rest of your life anyway? Now that is TRUTH!
Life can be a frustrating and challenging experience where, no matter how hard you try, whatever you desire eludes you.
Dreams of economic abundance, career satisfaction or romantic fulfillment can so easily appear unattainable when time and again your attempts are thwarted.
Whatever your frustrations or perceived failings, you should know that your life CAN be transformed and that this can be done QUICKLY and EASILY by learning that your life’s limitations are self imposed and are not controlled by external influences.
Of course we don’t choose to limit ourselves but most of us tend to make decisions based on our feelings of self worth. We have all spent years developing our self concept, subconsciously forming judgments upon our capabilities and imposing restrictions on ourselves as to what we do and do not deserve to achieve.
We even justify and rationalize these beliefs, finding evidence to confirm them, and allow ourselves to obstruct our personal or professional progress, even if our current situation is unsatisfactory and the alternative much more favorable.
In short, it is our attitudes and beliefs which inform our thoughts and it is our thoughts which determine our behavior.
It is absolutely vital to know where your beliefs have originated and to recognize where, when and in which ways these beliefs have been reinforced. Beliefs should always be disputed and should never be taken as literal truths.
The labels which we are given by others be it family, friends, colleagues, peers, the media and wider society and those which we give ourselves determine the outcomes in our lives.
I may well have been a clumsy child and even now I often have clownish catastrophes but this does not define me. Awkward adolescents needn’t grow into apprehensive adults but many do because they have not questioned the validity of the definition and with each ungraceful act, fresh evidence is collected to verify that the label is correct.
I remember returning, after many years away, to the city in which I had grown up. It had been almost 15 years and the city had physically changed a great deal but sadly the attitudes of many living there remained unaltered.
I had been living in London, Brighton, briefly in San Francisco and even more briefly in Spain but, through a series of events, unfortunate or otherwise, I had found myself back in Bonnie Scotland, at my parent’s home on the bank of the River Tay.
As you can imagine, I’d been through the usual life-altering experiences (relationships, jobs, travel and at least one immensely overwhelming tragedy) of which you’ll no doubt hear more of later and for some reason decided to visit a bar that I had gone to in my underage youth.
There I was welcomed by “Fat Bob” whose opening line was, “You’ve really put on the beef!” By which “Fat Bob” meant that I was perhaps a little more beefy, blimpy, bovine, bulging, bulky, burly or even chunky, dumpy, elephantine, gargantuan, gross, heavy, hefty, husky, lardy or meaty than he recalled. I did remind him that the last time we had met was prior to my seventeenth birthday and cream cakes and cheesy bakes can be cruel; I’d transformed from skinny vegan to slightly less slim line vegetarian.
A few days later, or perhaps that same day, I ran into someone else from my youth. Back then we had mutual friends, one in particular, so I sat with him and his gaggle of giggling girlfriends.
We spoke of our mutual friend and it soon became apparent that we had very different views on a number of issues. The subject changed, however, and, against my better judgment, I accepted a drink.
Trapped, and perhaps he felt the same, we talked about how our lives had been in the years since we had last met. As we chatted I could sense his unease and as I shared stories of the selected highlights from my strange life he reacted with judgment, jealousy and, with a raised eyebrow above a jaundiced eye, he disparagingly declared, “You’ve changed”, to which all I could retort was, “…and you haven’t”.
Please don’t think that I was intentionally cruel but, if I’m being honest, I did feel justified and even empowered by this mild statement of self recognition.
I would go so far as to say that this was a moment of epiphany from which I’ve never looked back. In this brief but meaningful interaction I realized that I HAD changed; I was no longer meek and mild or afraid to express an opinion but more confident, worldly, and yes, opinionated but at the core I was still that same 17 year old who knew right from wrong, who could instinctively detect insincerity and the really remarkable aspect of this revelation was that I actually liked myself!
The point of this story is to illustrate that the opinions of others are just that, opinions, and the labels that were attached to me, as a teenager, may or may not have been correct at the time. In believing these labels to be a true definition of myself, I acted in ways which encouraged others to similarly define me but somehow, with time and experience, I redefined myself.
My reaction to these past acquaintances sent a clear, perhaps blunt, message that I was not who they perceived me to be. I may have changed, whether this meant physically having more flesh than bone or growing a backbone but what would be the point in living if the journey didn’t involve change?
The great news is that, although we can’t undo the past, we can, however, create the future that we desire through living a life that is truly authentic. The first step towards true happiness and achieving your full potential is to acknowledge both WHO you are and WHAT it is that you want to accomplish.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer encourages us to look inward NOT outward each day. This may sound simple, but when was the last time that you truly took time to look at yourself and to evaluate if your goals and behaviors were in line with your authentic self?