The journey to find my authentic self

Authentic. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about being authentic lately. In fact I have been bombarded by it. Authentic here, authentic there!! It’s the buzz word in business. (I wrote this some time ago and came across it spring cleaning my files)

Because I was getting the message from so many different directions I decided I needed to look into it. So I looked up the meaning:

AUTHENTIC –

  • Not false or copied; genuine; real
  • Entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy
  • Conforming to fact & therefore worthy of trust, reliance or belief
  • Having a claimed & verifiable origin or authorship; not counterfeit or copied

Entitled to acceptance, I liked that! I’ve had lots of experience and I have always been reliable and trustworthy. So I’m on my way!

I was brought up in an era where ‘children were to be seen and not heard’. You never shared your inner most thoughts, or secrets, or emotions. Anger was not allowed in our house, unless of course it was my mother’s!

I know now in hindsight that I had no sense of self. I was enmeshed with my mother. It was a co-dependent relationship. I was disconnected from my feelings, in fact I believe I shut down very early on, because my mother would tell me that I wasn’t feeling whatever it was that I said I felt. I didn’t know the difference between my feelings and hers.

I was well into adulthood before I was confronted by a psychologist with the fact that I didn’t have a range of emotions. Frustration was my constant companion when I was growing up. As I was not allowed to be angry I had no idea what it was that made my body shake and my head feel as if the top would blow off.

Huge lightbulb moments when I was a middle aged woman helped me to appreciate what had gone on in my childhood. My stepfather was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, on being told the news and the prognosis by the surgeon I started to cry, my mother looked at me and said, ‘don’t, you’ll make me cry!’ Two months later when he was in hospital unconscious and ready to pass over, I said I was going to stay with him, my mother who was on her way home said, ‘you know you’re making me feel very guilty’.

I am an only child and I had an ‘interesting’ relationship with my mother. As there was only my father and I to deal with my mother, and Dad was off at work most of the time, there was no-one else to take the ‘brunt’ of things. Consequently I grew up thinking that there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t make my mother happy.

We came to Australia from England when I was 7 years old and 3 months later I was sent off to boarding school. I can hear you thinking ‘that would have been a relief’, but it wasn’t. The nuns were worse than my mother and there were more of them! Authentic was most definitely not what the nuns wanted. Not only could you not answer back, you had to stand there in silence while they admonished you for a crime which you did not commit. I learned early on to stand there mute while they raged on with a dialogue going on in my head. A tool I also used with my mother.

Nobody saw me. Nobody heard me. Nobody wanted me around. These were the messages that I internalised. As I was to understand many years later when I learned ThetaHealing®– these became beliefs and they lay hidden deep in my subconscious.

The point I am making here is to say that I was unable to be authentic because I did not have any idea of who I was. I would change depending on who I was with. A chameleon, who didn’t change colour just behaviour.

I muddled along for many, many years. Raising four children, going to work, running a household, until I came to a place where I started to do some self-development courses and workshops.

Slowly, very slowly, I started to piece myself together. I was aware that I didn’t know what I wanted. Everyone else’s needs must come before mine. How can one find an authentic self in all that.

Slowly I chipped away. Course after course, workshop after workshop. Searching for what I didn’t know but I knew there was something. There had to be something better than this.

In 2000 I studied an holistic counselling course. For me the entire two years were spent understanding the relationship I had with my mother. It was during this course I learnt that it was co-dependent and enmeshed relationship. I was so ‘in’ it that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I’m an only child, my mother is an only child and her mother was an only child. My mother and my grandmother were very similar. My mother used to vow that she didn’t want to end up like her mother ….and she did right down to the dementia.

During the course a light went on – It wasn’t me! I could never make my mother happy, no matter what I did. A few years later I realised that my mother was a narcissist which helped me understand even more. But deep inside (a hidden, unconscious belief) I was still looking for that one thing from my mother, that she would recognise and acknowledge me. A futile search because she always saw the negative never the positive, or so it seemed to me. Any criticism she directed towards my children or my husband I internalised as a criticism of me.

In all of that mess how was I meant to be authentic? I had lost sight of ME years before. I was only happy if my mother was happy and that was always tenuous and fleeting. I can see now something that I could never have seen then – I was anxious. And is it any wonder.

Piece by piece I was putting the puzzle together. I knew what the issues were but nothing I had leant had given me a way of removing the emotion around them…..that is until I found ThetaHealing®. At last! Here was the missing piece! Now I had the tools to uncover the unconscious beliefs and remove them. I had the tools to teach myself different feelings, all those feelings I had never known.

Now when I told a story about my past it was like talking about a movie. The memory was there but there was no emotion attached to it. It was just a story. Alleluia!! At. last!!

Who am I?

Uncovering that has been a life’s work. I have always been different depending on who I am with. All those personas – which one is the real me? How do I work that out? How will I know?

Being authentic is scary. If I put myself ‘out there’ people can criticise me. I have spent my whole life hiding from criticism. How do I stand up there with nothing to hide behind for people to throw metaphoric tomatoes. Hugely scary.

More soul searching. More meditation. More writing. More ‘digging’ (a ThetaHealing® technique). More processing.

Who am I?

I think I know now … but is that the ‘real’ me, the authentic me. When you have always tried to please people it is hard to know when to stop. It is hard to know if you are in fact doing it.

I know I am authentic when I teach. I know I am authentic when I am with clients. I know I am authentic when I am around like-minded people. I know I’m authentic here. I just don’t know if I am authentic all the time.

I have always envied those people who say this is who I am – take it or leave it!

And … I think … I am … almost there!

I would love to hear your feedback on what I wrote.  Are you living your authentic self? Have you always lived your authentic self? Or were you like me? Please share your thoughts in the comment box.