Which is my AUTHENTIC self?

You’ve probably been in a situation where you didn’t quite know how to respond because different voices in your mind advised very different responses.

Let’s say that you’re standing in a queue in a crowded store waiting to pay for your purchases and someone pushes in and stands in front of you. Immediately a battle starts in your head about what you should do about this. There’s the immediate knee-jerk reaction to make a snarky comment or even a desire to push them out of the way. Maybe you would never push someone, but you might notice the impulse to do so.

Another part of you says, “let it go”, ignore it.  But then another voice in your head tells you that if you ignore it, all the people behind you might be upset that you don’t do something about it – so you should be calmly assertive and say something to create more fairness for all.

As these voices in your head are vying for airtime, your body is also having its own tug-of-war about how you should respond: push, stay, turn away.

So which voice is really you? The authentic you?

The inner debate about ‘who is the real you’ is absolutely useless. Because all these voices are part of you. All of them would be authentic and true to some part of you.

I wish we would stop talking about an authentic self. Because there isn’t ONE authentic self. We have a set of responses, which often compete with one another and seem completely different from each other. But all a real part of us.

These different impulses stem from different parts of the brain combined with past experiences, training, role models and habits we’ve developed. There’s the archaic survival brain with multiple needs issuing different instructions and maybe there’s the part of you that’s trained to be a calm mediator and perhaps an old version of you who loved to pick a fight, before you learned those mediation techniques, of course.

It’s a complex set of influences that aren’t easily sorted out in a split second. Or even in an hour, for that matter.

Who do you want to be?

Instead of looking for what is the one authentic you, realise that you can choose to some extent. Decide about how you want to be in the world and how you want to behave. Then practise that. And practise some more. The more you practise, the more authentic this response will feel and the more likely you will be able to conjure up that particular reaction in a moment when it matters.

Rewired to Relate

Rewired to Relate

Rewired to Relate will help you understand your brain’s impulses and will help you learn to be the way you want to be in the world.

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