The Paper Lion
Opinion

Being Authentic

Most people I imagine are afraid to be who they really are, wearing different masks in different company. I know from my own experience that I act happy, or when someone asks how I’m doing, I reply “good.” End of conversation.

Why we are afraid of expressing our true selves, and our true feelings is a question that might be beyond me. Sure, conflict or discomfort may come of it, but I wonder what life would be like if I was just straight with people, all the time? I’d probably have a lot less regrets, and at the same time my life would probably be more productive instead of wasting my time pondering things in my head. Just letting it out is too hard though.

Maybe the reason this is so hard is because we are trained to be this way from birth. As children we are “disciplined” for following our desires or displeasing our parents. We are shaped and molded by someone else’s will. We become accustomed to seeking other people’s approval, just think back to high school and all the clicks and all the peer pressure everyone goes through. It takes some serious strength and guts to just “be yourself” without caring what others think. I always admired those who could do it with seemingly such ease.

I think unconsciously perhaps this is why our society is so self destructive, we pretend the lies the media tells us, and the lies we tell ourselves is acceptable. We live with so much lies and bullshit it becomes the norm, we become desensitized. I think society is self destructive because deep down we all want this “fakeness” to be torn down. We want the system to change, but we feel powerless to do it, so we tear down what we can in place of it. May it be our health, our self esteem, or relationships, those in lower position than ours that we turn up our noses to.. I believe a lot of that, is a result of that need to change the way things are, and is unfortunately misdirected, and often in hurtful ways.

I think we are waking up though, as a species. I think as the world falls apart from: climate change, colony collapse disorder, GMO foods contaminating everything, cancer and synthetic components in our food, flouride in our water and everything else that we are told is good for us(perhaps it more serves our corporate masters than us), union busting, the degradation of our education system & the moral fiber of the first world, and our constant meddling in other countries with wars, Japans nuclear disaster, etc etc etc…

I think people are getting sick of it, one just needs to look at all the revolutions going on in the east. And actions here at home with protests at the G8 and G20 summits, the Wisconsin protests and so on I think we may be slowly turning around back on the road to some sort of truth, and a more just, environmentally and socially responsible world.

Anyway… back to our self identity. I’ve never really given into peer pressure, I grew up in a small town where most other kids lived on surrounding farms. I had time to grow accustomed to thinking for myself, after moving away I seemed to have lost that a little somewhere, but I believe it’s largely intact.

This is why I strongly agree with the the practice and belief in Zen Buddhism, meditation is used in a sort of way to return to a more “authentic” self. To drop away the ego, the false set of identities that are imposed on us by the outside world. This false construct. You could call a zen mind, the beginners mind, as that what it is in my view. It’s to become more awake to who you naturally are, to declutter your mind and find that core being.

I don’t really like those who are set in their ways and beliefs, I think a large reason for many problems both interpersonal, personal and societal, is because of this rigid and inflexible ways of thinking and being. We need to be open to ideas, to growth, to love, to accepting, and to changing. It’s not that we can’t cling to some ideas that we may feel is part of our identity, but we should from time to time question underlying assumptions. I know as I grow older, it seems I realize more and more how little I really know.

I’m not sure what exactly I was trying to get at, but at least I’m trying my best to be honest :)