Beliefs and Being Our Authentic Self
The problem is that some of our beliefs are not in alignment with our true self. We’ve adopted them from parents, peers, news, advertisements; never challenging their validity. We accept them without question. And then we use these beliefs to govern our lives and filter our perceptions.
We integrate these beliefs into our definition of self. They become deeply embedded in the narrative of who we are. Perhaps the most current and profound example of this is from the testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
If you listen and watch as he testified, you can hear the conviction he has in his beliefs. His narrative of the studious, athletic, devout Christian schoolboy who worked his tail off to get into Yale is not just his story…it’s his identity. It is the belief he holds about being a good Christian student, and an innocent young man that justifies and entitles him to be a Supreme Court judge.
Any challenge to those beliefs is a direct challenge to who he is and all the work he has done. For him, there can be no other version of Brett Kavanaugh. The young man who violated women, binged on alcohol, lost control, and had no accountability is not in alignment with who he NEEDS to be. And it is quite natural for him and for all of us to protect our narrative and beliefs as if our lives depended on it.
What you must understand is when our beliefs are not in alignment with our true self, we suffer. It may show up as stress, anxiety, fear, depression, low self-worth, feeling lost, or as anger. We try to cope by pretending, masking, or ignoring our inner discontent. Or we numb it with alcohol, drugs, or some other self-harming behavior. The masquerade is exhausting.
Living an authentic life requires that we challenge our beliefs. Just as we grow and evolve; our beliefs need to change and evolve with us. Finding peace in our lives first requires us to identify the thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve us.
Discovering your authentic self, doesn’t have to be a scary experience. Don’t think of it as losing yourself. Think of it as creating a new sense of self to fit this phase of your life. Your identity is fluid and was meant to expand and shift as you age. Just like your beliefs.