Best and Highest, On Being Your Authentic Self

Hello, friends! Happy Tribe Tuesday!

On a personal (and semi-academic and professional) quest for authenticity, I've been able to run into all kinds of walls of self-deception and meet some helpful distinctions.

Authenticity is not only a matter of expressing "what is," or "as it is," it is a matter of potentiality. 

Who I am is not only who I have been, how I have been, who others know me to be, or who I would be if... No, the question of authenticity is will I be true to me even as I let go of "me" and invent "me" at the same time. 

There's the "I-me." I'm just being who I am... This is just the way I am... I've always been this way... This kind of thinking perpetuates the problems of the past, justifying them with the mask of "Authenticity." 

There's the "They-me." I am who I am based upon how this group perceives me. I have this role, this identity, this way of being, and I am the sum total of expectations they have of me. I know the boundaries, I know the limitations, I know the mores and the taboos, and who I am is defined by this "box" I inhabit. 

There's the "would-be-me." The imagination of who I would be and could be if ... And this is the tricky part, the if is just never go' happen. Tough luck!

Then there's the "I-am-so-preoccupied-with-being-me-that-I'm-not-me me." We get in our heads about being who we are and living our purpose that we miss the moment, miss the others around us, and create stories of disconnection. 

Now, I know these versions of "me" quite well. I spend a fair amount of time with each of them. Alas, they are not inspiring company. 

A first-century social prophet I like said, "The reign of God is within you." 

While I/we have been looking for others to define "me"

possibility and potentiality

live within. 

Try something with me for a moment. Close your eyes, and imagine yourself sitting in one of your favorite places. 

Now open your eyes... How do you feel? What did that solitude feel like? Where were you? What range of being and feeling did you create within your mind? All that happened without you leaving where you are right now.  The full range of emotions, of memories, of possibilities... were within you. It is the same for our fullest, highest and best authentic self. 

I have access to the grit and determination I desire, access to the love and compassion, access to the patience, the peace, the power. It's here. It's within me. I have the opportunity to commune with the me I am and desire to be, and I have opportunity to practice the embodiment of me. We show up and do our best, being our best to the best of our ability. 

It is so easy for us to think of ourselves and others as static beings, predefined and stuck. The only way we break out of that is to find something deeper and higher, and then to play it out now. 

The game's afoot. Let's be our highest and best selves, and play together. 

  • What "masks" of you have you discovered for yourself? 
  • What does the real you, the highest and best you, look like?
  • Who and how are you committed to being?



With the courage to be,

Ben