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Your Authentic Self

by Terence Watts

There’s been a trend for a while now that we should all seek to be our ‘authentic self’ and although it’s a good soundbite, it’s really not a good idea!

The problem is that you absolutely cannot control or choose your thoughts or feelings, only what you do with them. You might be wondering about that. But you didn’t actually choose what car to think of just then, did you? A car appeared in your thoughts anyway though!

It is a fact that everything you think and feel starts before you know it in an ancient part of the brain, the cerebellum, that has no conscious thought. And although it’s only 10% of the brain in size, it contains a whopping 80% of the total brain neurones!

For years, it was thought that it just controlled movement and coordination, but new research shows that it does far more than that, and in fact it’s odds-on that it’s the first responder to incoming stimuli from the world around us. That response happens about a half-second before we know what it is, and once we become aware of it, it’s a ‘done deal’!

So, you cannot, for instance, simply stop that surge of sexual interest in somebody who is out of bounds for one reason or another. You can only choose not to act upon it. You cannot stop the surge of irritation – or stronger – that you feel when you see an inflammatory post on social media.

Nobody, but nobody, has constantly ‘pure’ thoughts and feelings that they would be totally happy to be broadcast to the world.

In fact, one of the greatest sources of anxiety is the conflict between what we really want to do and be, and what we feel we are able or allowed to do and be.

Sometimes, that conflict is the result of pointless inhibitions that have been thrust upon us during our formative years… but sometimes it’s from the darker side of the ‘authentic’ human nature that really does needs to be kept securely reined in in the world in which we live.

So, you cannot be truly authentic, but you can be pleased you’re not the only one with distinctly ‘naughty’ thoughts, because everybody else has them… but I’ll write about that another time!

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