What does it mean to be authentic? How does it feel to be in your true essence? What stops us from walking in our truth? To know the answers, first you must ask the questions.
We are born perfect. We had no fears, no inhibitions, anxieties or worries when we arrived on our birth day. We were truly in our essence—our authenticity. What happened as we grew older? What happened to our true self? We adapted. We adapted in order to survive. Who we really are split off from our survival self leaving us dependent on how the world outside sees and feels about us.
When we are little our world is our parents. We learn how to behave, how to think, feel or not feel depending on how our parents react to us. If our true essence is unacceptable, then we adapt. We become what and who is acceptable to our family expectations, values and beliefs. As time passes, we adapt to our teachers, friends and religious training. We learn how to behave, how to think and how to feel. Our own thoughts and feelings may not be acceptable to our family of origin, so we adapt our thinking to be accepted, deny our feelings and eventually, we lose contact with our authenticity. When we grow into adulthood with a survival suit, we meet someone who also has a survival suit. When these two survival suits decide to marry, we react to each other never really knowing our essence or theirs. So the games begin. The goal is to connect to our essence in order to meet our partner at their essence.
How do we do this? It is a process; not an event. First we must rid our minds and spirit of stuff we collected over the years that have not been in our best interest. How is this done? There are many roads to authenticity. As a therapist for forty years, I have used many modalities to reach the inner child that has been waiting for us to claim, heal and champion him/her. The road to authenticity must begin with the inner child. This magical child who was once filled with wonder and curiosity has learned how to adapt in order to be accepted and survive. Survival is not intended for inner peace. Authenticity is the road to joy. Our minds have been inadvertently twisted to form a survival suit that got us through childhood, but as we mature it won’t work anymore. What was once salvific has now become a liability to our essence. We must shed the survival suit to find our essence. Once this has occurred, we are liberated from the shame that binds us.
I suggest considering psychotherapy as a road to restore your true self. Inner child work is the best modality I know to accomplish this. Within the structure of healing the inner child are many viable technologies that undo the damage caused by poor parenting and dysfunctional families. Every family is dysfunctional to a greater or lesser extent.
Learn how to release the toxins from your past that are interfering with the present and the quality of your life. Learn how to free yourself from the injunctions imposed by parents and families that were not able to give you unconditional love. Every child needs love, bonding, self-value, structure, stimulation and space. If you were denied these needs, you can be certain that your authentic self was repressed and a survival self has taken its place. The good news is that the soul, your spirit, can never be destroyed. It needs only to be released and free to be the person you were intended to be!
This can be done in couple’s therapy. By learning the art of presencing, understanding the relational space between each other, learning how to cross the bridge to your partner’s neighborhood and have an encounter, your relationship can be restored and grow. Once this is accomplished, the survival suits you have each brought to the relationship will disappear and you will both be in your essence. Once you are in your essence, the relational space becomes sacred and time is eternal.