In search of the authentic self

the pathway to eradicating shame and embracing life

Inspiration comes to all of us in different fashions and at different times. Inspiration can come to us like a hammer on the thumb or a fragrance carried on a gentle summer breeze. Once it touches you it touches deeply and resonates into the tenderest places in the heart. I have recently been the beneficiary of this gift.

A last month I went to watch My Morning Jacket play an outdoor concert. They were nothing less than amazing. A band from Louisville Kentucky they are one of my favorites. Their genre is hard to describe. All I can suggest if to give them a listen.

Equally interesting was the audience. It was a mix of hippies, GenXer's and all people in between. The crowd was a tapestry of color and sensation moving in waves to the music. There were some in the audience that could not contain their exuberance and shamelessly broke into dance. It was beautiful and moving to see. They were engaged in an uninhibited expression of joyous rapture. A range of emotions and thought ran over me. I was envious at their ability to allow themselves to indulge without being self-conscious. The rabbit hole opened. Self-conscious, a consciousness of self; what does that all mean? How does consciousness of self prevent us from being our true authentic self? This led me in search of my true and authentic self.

The root of preventing us from expressing who we really are is shame. Shame is nothing we were born with but something that was gifted to us by others being critical of our behavior. Overcoming shame can take years. But, as with a garden, the weeds of shame must be pulled in order for the fruits of our garden to flourish. Here are a few tips in overcoming shame:

• Shame is perfectly normal. Everybody experiences it at some time. Shame is nothing to be ashamed of. Accept this and move through it.

• Love and accept yourself exactly the way you. Self-acceptance is the first step in overcoming shame.

• Develop trust. Trust yourself and trust others. Visualize yourself living is a world that is safe.

• Journal your experiences and talk to a professional.

Before long if you continue to practice you find yourself being true to your real self without shame. Perhaps one of the best ways of finding our true selves is to bear witness to others being their true selves without shame and mirror their behavior. In turn, allowing ourselves to shamelessly sing, dance and express who we are with true authenticity will always inspire others making the circle complete.

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