Possessing a positive look at yourself is of vital importance to be happy, as well as to respect and accept yourself. Feeling good about yourself — what the French call être bien dans sa peau — is essential.
Those who like themselves find it easier to open up to others without keeping their cards down or feeling obliged to hide their true personality. This facility to reveal oneself transparently contributes to creating ties with others with humility and naturalness since communication flows without evasions, lies, or pretensions. There is nothing to hide since everything is transparent.
Being social animals, it is often difficult for us to hold our opinions when they do not conform to those of the group.
Although to be authentic, we must also be consistent and follow the dictates of our mind and heart, carrying out what we believe is right, even if sometimes others are upset or do not approve.
“The great achievement is to be yourself in a world constantly trying to make you something else.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“There is one thing that not even God can do,” — said the Master to a disciple terrified of the mere possibility of offending someone.
“And what is that?”
“To please everyone,” said the Master.
To be upright, we must strengthen our self-confidence and live courageously, despite criticism and external resistance.
Authenticity implies doing what we believe in and engaging in activities harmonious with our being, values, and dreams. In other words, with whatever makes sense to us.
Without that inner strength that sustains us, it is not easy to face life with a certain freedom since we allow the gaze of others to chain us. This entails a real danger since the judgment that can come from outside is never objective. The experiences, failures, and fears of the observer and critic himself bias external criticism.
With a healthy dose of confidence, it will be possible for us to try to climb the mountains of our dreams, bet on new challenges, and have the resistance to continue boldly despite falls. That internal voice that encourages us to move forward is the engine of our whole life.
The account of what we are and what we would like to be is kept in our unconscious: experiences, results lists, a compendium of diagnoses, expectations never met, and evaluations. In that personal diary, every novelty is recorded, every little resentment born, every illusion and interesting stimulus, every personal frustration pronounced and heard, and the secrets never shared.
All wounds are stored in memory — like the famous painting by René Magritte that shows a white and marble head stained in contrast with blood. Sometimes it seems that what we are introducing into the brain contaminates what is inside, pierces the archives, darkens the brilliance of the most luminous events, corrodes with its sulfuric power our ideals, the hopes and motivations that should supply energy, and stimulate us in our joyful aspirations.
Fear our limitations
Sometimes we fear our own insufficiency; we need a greater justification for our existence. This fear drives us to dedicate ourselves to multiple fruitless tasks that divert us from our route and leads us to contemplate everything with the indifferent coldness of those who have lost their illusion.
When the eroded vision that we have of ourselves comes from excessive dependence on external affection, we will always remain thirsty, begging for remains of tenderness like beggars, degrading ourselves in the request to levels of anguishing humiliation, to end up frustrated for not being able to become the models of immeasurable love we receive from our parents.
The dependent becomes a habitual sufferer who seeks approval with repeated obstinacy and insists on persuading with favors, tender delicacies, and subtle attentions that only provoke anger, contempt, and rejection.
Sometimes we realize that we have never even been loved because those who showed us affection betrayed us, making us believe that with effort, we would finally receive the long-awaited gift of love, actually being a sinister ruse as in the purest tragedy of Shakespearean traitors.
To a greater or lesser extent, we have all experienced what it is like to want other people’s approval or appreciation and not receive it. Freedom only comes when you let go of the need for others’ good opinions.
I had that with my brother. He is very opinionated and tells you what he thinks about what you do, even if you do not ask for his view. Early in life, I learned to avoid conflicts with him by not responding to his often harsh comments. That was my coping mechanism. Yet, his remarks reverberated in my mind for a long time.
Until I realized that I did not need his approval, I did not need his agreement, and he would probably never really care about my things. Once I fully embodied this realization, I did not mind anymore. I stopped fearing meeting him at family reunions or having to speak with him. I accepted that we would never be best buddies, which is okay. And right there, I found my freedom.
* Author: Mónica Esgueva
* Article originally published on Be Yourself (Medium)