How do we go about finding the authentic self under the layers of social roles, expectations and busy-ness we experience every day?
According to the philosopher Nikolas Rose, far from springing from an eternal, inner spirit or soul, the self is simply an unfoldment in the face of authority and the exercise of power – humans, according to Rose, are defined externally by their parents, society as a whole, education, peers etc and by political and economic factors.
[pullquote align="left"]In other words, there is no “self”. [/pullquote]
The word “psychology” is from the Greek, meaning the study of the soul or mind. Since the mind is difficult to study directly, psychology attempts to build theoretical models which it then empirically tests by research in order to gain greater understanding of behaviour, the processes behind it and, if appropriate, to develop methods of encouraging and supporting change towards socially acceptable behaviour and attitudes.
Finding the Authentic Self Requires We Look to the Quantum Realm
Like quantum leaps, the mind is only observable in its effects, measurable only by behaviour. Therefore some schools of psychology, in an attempt to gain acceptance as a science, suggest that the mind – or self – does not exist, but is simply a complex set of attitudes and behaviours developed as a reaction to external stimuli.
And yet, studies of children switched at birth or adopted indicate there is more to the development of the human than reaction to external stimuli – it would not matter who brought them up if the self did not exist. They would simply absorb whatever was around them. There would be no niggling feeling of “not belonging” or “not quite right” if Rose’s theory was the whole story in the development of the personality.
Example: Finding the Authentic Self at Christmas
There is no doubt that we are affected by our early training – the “writing on our walls”, if you like. However, there is more to each one of us than external stimuli, although some of us tend to forget that, particularly at this time of year, with the Christmas focus on consumption, perfection, illusion and jollity.
The entire Western world focused on one feast on one day of the year with one outcome in mind. At this time of year we all believe there is only one perfect outcome – please leave a comment indicating what that is for you. You might be surprised at the many different ideas expressed – and find quite a few things to tap on as a result!
Our different beliefs about this one time of year demonstrate that we are all different – on the inside. Christmas is a time we all have in common and yet we all have different beliefs around it – and not just our parents’ beliefs, or even society’s beliefs, but each one of us has our own interpretation of what Christmas should look like and what it means. So, if we observe the effects in behaviour in ourselves and others, in our feelings, and in our inner conflicts about this time, we can begin to touch the edges of our individual authentic self. It is in the tension created by inner conflict that our authentic self is struggling to emerge.
[page_section template='2' position='default' shadow='#ddc399'] Remember this is an example of finding the authentic self in one particular experience that is common to many. You can adjust this EFT tapping script to fit any experience you choose - for example: a family gathering, a dinner party, a child's birthday party. There are endless situations where this EFT tapping script can be useful to you. If you're new to EFT tapping, you can find an explanation and video demonstration on this page. [/page_section]
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Finding the Authentic Self EFT Tapping Script
Tapping on the side of the hand:
Even though what I expect of myself and what I am actually able to do are two different things, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though [insert people or situation] did Christmas wrong this year – that’s not how it’s supposed to be! – I deeply and completely accept myself
Even though the truth is I have some inner conflict around all of this, I’m just going to honour that conflict and how I feel about it
Eyebrow: I just couldn’t get it right
Side of the eye: It’s not the way I remember it
Under the eye: those people were doing it wrong!
Under the nose: if only I could recreate those Christmases I remember
Chin: those fun ones when I was a kid
Collarbone: that whole atmosphere of joy
Under the arm: maybe it wasn’t that much fun for my parents then …
Top of the head: or maybe it was – maybe they just did it better
Eyebrow: or maybe I expect too much of myself …
Side of the eye: or maybe I expect too much of other people
Under the eye: or maybe I’m doing my best
Under the nose: maybe one day these will be the nostalgic Christmases that people are trying to live up to
Chin: wouldn’t that be funny
Collarbone: maybe I’ll just honour that
Under the arm: maybe I’ll just accept that in the future we’ll look back on this time as an ideal
Top of the head: maybe I’ll just accept that this will be an ideal for someone and honour the humour in that
This post was originally published in December 2009. Updated by Fiona on 12th February 2017