Most of us play many different roles in the course of any given day. We could be Mom, Boss, Employee, Student or Friend, to name just a few. Very often we identify ourselves by those roles. When asked, "Who are you/" we say, "I'm a wife and mother", "I am a doctor and amateur photographer". We identify ourselves by how the world sees us, not by who we really are.
Our authentic self is who we really are, deep at the core of our being. Our authentic self is not who the world labels us to be. The authentic self is driven by our individual values and our specific needs.
In order to learn to be our authentic self, we must first discover our authentic self. To discover is to learn of the existence of something. Self-discovery is learning of the existence of our core values and needs.
Discovery is not a one step process. Although there are many "a-ha" moments in discovery, there is a lot of hard work that must be done before and after experiencing those "a-ha" moments in order to incorporate that discovery into our daily lives. Once we say "a-ha" I really value adventure and creativity and I really need support and tenderness, it is time to incorporate those values and needs into our daily lives.
While most of us would date the discovery of penicillin to the early 1940's, the first "a-ha" moment came much earlier. Sir Alexander Fleming discovered that the mold growing on his unwashed culture plates was repelling the bacteria surrounding it in 1928. It was not until 1940 that Ernst B.Chain and Sir Howard Florey first tested penicillin on animals. And it was not until 1941 that pharmaceutical companiesin the United States started penicillin production, a long road to the discovery of penicillin.
Self-discovery is also a long road. In truth, we can continue to discover ourselves throughout our lives. But, we have to work at it. We have to look deep into our core to find our inherent values and needs.
Think about what values motivate your daily life. In any community there are shared values. These might be honesty, integrity, respect, and helpfulness. You might share these values with colleagues, friends and family. In addition to these shared values you will have values that are specific to you as an individual.
Your individual values might be, to contribute, to discover, to teach and to create. These values are specific to you and are what propel you to become who you are. You are more likely to be drawn to work in the arts if your core values consist of creativity, originality, discovery and beauty. By the same token, you would be more likely to become a teacher if your core values consist of guiding, inspiring, learning and informing.
The other factor to be considered in becoming our authentic self is the needs that drive us emotionally. We can not be our authentic self without having those needs met.
You might have the need to be empathetic in your relationships, or to experience adventure. Perhaps your need is to be really connected to your family or community. These needs go beyond the shared human needs of food, shelter and safety.
We often confuse wants with needs. To want something is to desire it. We may want a bigger house, newer car or financial independence. We can achieve those desires and still have core needs that are unmet. We have all heard the saying " Money doesn't buy happiness". The truth in that adage is that "money" is an external want not an internal need. When our internal needs are not met, it matters notwhat external gains we accomplish, we are left un-fulfilled.
If we don't live by our core values we are in essence creating core needs. For instance, if we have discovered that our core values consist of things like, creativity, originality and imagination and yetwe work and live in an environment with no room for original thinking and conceptualization, , we are not being our authentic selves. In turn we are creating the unmet needs of creativity, originality and imagination.
So, in order to be our authentic self we must embrace the path of self-discovery. We must look deep within our being and discover our core values and needs. We then must choose our goals and our path in life based on those core values and needs.
Beth Densmore is a Personal Life Coach who offers support, inspiration and motivation to those who are in transition and want to achieve a goal. For more information and more free articles like this, visit her site at http://www.newfocuscoaching.com.