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Being your “Authentic” Self – According to Dolly Parton

There’s a concept that is one I dislike greatly. It’s the idea of “the authentic self” or the “true self”. I dislike the notion because it is a lie. I’m not sure why the lie exists. Perhaps it’s a means by which people can excuse the behavior in themselves they don’t like. “I don’t know why I did that, that’s really not me.” Well – yes it is. Each moment of each day you are you. The real you, the authentic you, the true you. What people really mean isn’t that they aren’t their authentic self but rather that they aren’t the person they want to be.

Find out who you are and do it on purpose

To say they aren’t their authentic self is just a convenient way of ignoring their faults by placing them outside of themselves. It’s as if someday they will wake up, crawl out of their inauthentic cocoon suddenly becoming the butterfly of their true self. It doesn’t work that way of course. The rest of the article does go on to explain the process that people go through during their entire lives to improve and be more like the person they want to be.

You are authentic right now. You are who you are right now. You are the true you right now. If the true you isn’t something you like my personal opinion is that it’s better to face it rather than say it’s not you. It is you. That might hurt your feelings to face but in the long run that’s a better way to improve than simply saying it’s not you.

Dolly Parton says, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” 

Ignoring who you are and trying to be someone else is only going to give you heart and head aches. Self improvement and authenticity aren’t the same things. Seeing you have faults and flaws and working to fix them isn’t working to become your authentic self. Rather, it is working to become your better self. Ignoring those faults because they aren’t you is actually a rather harmful idea because it allows you to ignore those flaws because they aren’t you. By disconnecting the flaw from the self you no longer have to focus on it, feel pain from it, it’s out there, you are in here.

I’m really not sure why I ended up focusing on Dolly Parton for this line of thinking except perhaps because she said it so well. She says, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” That’s the key to the better you as far as I can see it and as far as I’ve been able to make differences in my own life. I’m not just preaching here without practicing. I have worked very hard over the years (and do it still every day).

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