The Authenticity of Childhood: Surviving the spiritual back-slide into Adulthood…

Happiness / Positive Psychology

We are all preoccupied with the future, and yet our desire to influence it may have its roots in our desire to change and rebalance the past…

“Its amazing that we all think we are enlightened, until we go and spend a week with our family. The sense of, and level of guilt that we feel is the sound that inauthenticity makes when we can’t hide from ourselves”…

As children, we all had an innate sense of freedom to explore the things that were authentically resonant with us. And then the weight of expectation and the intense impact and reactions to approval and disapproval start…

We are now slaves to the intense amalgams of reactions to the approval and disapproval that we received as children. We are then set on a hedonic treadmill based on what we achieve, create and do that can fulfil us based on the level of approval.

This hedonic treadmill manifests as phrases such as “I’ll be happy if/when… (insert here home, job, relationship, salary, holidays, vehicles or accomplishments and achievements).”

The Paradox to blame

The cause of these voices is the wounded child inside of us continually seeking the acceptance of the people who, we perceive – withheld love or loved us CONDITIONALLY or in ways we did not understand when we were children. As sentient beings we primarily desire one thing above all: TO BE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY. The paradox is that we are programmed to create and be creative. This creativity is innate and can manifest itself in many different ways. It is not necessarily artistic in nature… Why is this a paradox? When we create, we rarely do so without a witness to tell us “that’s fantastic”, or that is “rubbish”. Both of these can be dangerous… if we are praised we end up creating for this praise. If we are criticised, we try to change or stop creating… Or, we create things that no longer resonate with our inner being.

Society is highly-competitive, and we quickly learn that it provides us with tools to gain love CONDITIONALLY – because we are talented, handsome, beautiful, impressive, powerful, go to good schools, get good grades, have a massive vocabulary, can write well, earn huge wages and so on… Social media compounds the problem…

Those who are familiar with the Johari Window will be familiar with the “facade”. As we started to emerge from childhood, we learned and mastered the devisive art of creating  facades – in order to try to obtain the acceptance, approval and love we coveted. The sad truth is that any acceptance, approval and “love” that we now receive as adults based on our facades – as opposed to our inner and authentic selves – is, like any hedonic pleasure, is unsatisfying, and completely devoid of nutrition.  Our authentic selves may be messy, unimpressive, and have flaws. It is ours, it’s beautiful, and we should own It!

Sometimes we meet someone who not only allows us to be ourselves, it’s the very reason they love us!

Many people have become so entwined with their facades that they no longer know who they are other than what it says on their business cards, CV’s, Facebook or LinkedIn homepages, Instagram and Twitter accounts, or in Google searches of them.

4 keys to authenticity:

Stop creating drama around yourself – doing things for attention traps you into a negative cycle. It turns pride into vanity. Vanity is what we want others to think of us, pride is what we think of ourselves. Give yourself attention, love and compassion rather than seek it from others…

Forgive – forgiveness sets us free. We cannot be ourselves without forgiving ourselves, forgiving others and forgiving the world. Forgiveness is the path to trust and ultimately to unconditional love. If we are unable to love ourselves unconditionally, how do we expect others to love us in the same way?

Be creative – get in touch with creating. Listen to that inner voice. Creativity is not just art. It could be building things, planting things, growing things, decorating things, teaching others… Creativity is about bringing things into the world…

Experience new things – don’t buy new things – the truly priceless things that we truly own are our experiences. Seek out and experience new things. You will find resonance this way.

Stop seeking love – It is not something that you can find that way. Start with loving yourself not your achievements. Love yourself without conditions. If you seek It, you will try to become “loveable”. In doing so, you will become something else. You will not find love, somebody else will. The false version of yourself will be present within a love triangle of your own creation. It will be you, your false self and another. The sound of the dissonance that is created will grow louder and it will drown out everything and eventually the glass will crack!

 

So that’s It, the universe has been changed with one simple post and five simple keys to unlock authenticity. Or not… Listen to your inner voice, stop being something that you are not, stop seeking approval, do things and love them without any external recognition, practice forgiveness, and remember what you loved doing when you were a child. No, not what you were “good at”, what you “loved”…

Your strengths are NOT your acquired skills, nor your achievements. Your CV is not a mirror, it may be a lie containing elements of truth. Your LinkedIn profile is probably full of ego and arrogance, and the irony is that you are probably not. Your strengths are the things that align beautifully and resonantly with what you love to do, not always what you are good at. You know what they are – though you may have forgotten…

 

This Article was written by Reece Coker SAC Dip, Dip,ed, MITD, MSc
Ex-military, expert in counter terrorism, Close Quarter Combat and a Psychologist, Reece is passionate about helping victims of violence grow and flourish post traumatically. Reece has studied and researched the...