“If I hadn’t made me, I would’ve been made somehow
If I hadn’t assembled myself, I’d have fallen apart by now
If I hadn’t made me, I’d be more inclined to bow
Powers that be, would have swallowed me up
But that’s more than I can allow
But if you really want to live
Why not try, and make yourself”
I am a big Incubus fan and this is one of my anthems. I saved you all from the vulgarities, but I LOVE the message of this song and the premise is infused in the purpose of my practice.
My goal as a therapist is to help people to be themselves and to be happy with themselves. That’s why I went with the whole “authentic self” thing.
The wonderful thing is, or annoying (depends on how you look at it), is that we are always “making” ourselves. Often times in therapy sessions a client might say to me “but I already worked on that!!!” I say, “Sure, and you did a great job! However, you’re not the same person you were then! So lets revisit it and see what works for you now.”
Some wise person said something about not being able to step in the same river twice (after a quick Google search I find it is Heraclitus)
We are constantly changing and therefore constantly coming into our own.
How does one develop their authentic self???
Good question. There is no cut and dry answer, but I have some tips!
1. Exploration and Adventure!
I’m always encouraging clients to find out what they are interested in. Problem is, a main symptom of depression is loss of interest in activities or pleasures that one used to find pleasurable. The fancy word for that is anhedonia. So if you have some of that weird anhedonia going on, no worries, we can work through that in therapy.
Well, this one is a doozy! Part of finding your authentic self is actually working on liking yourself. And I don’t mean liking yourself when you have “finished” the job. Remember… there isn’t an end.. it keeps going. It is essential to like yourself during the process. This is particularly hard for you critical, perfectionist, logically minded people. I know, because I am one of them. During this process in therapy we learn that we are lovable, desirable, good enough, deserving, powerful, intelligent, strong and so on. I will likely write more on this topic another time!
3. Work through Cognitive Dissonance
When we have conflicting beliefs and behaviors we experience cognitive dissonance. It is hard to be true to one’s self when we are overwhelmed and things pile up to the point that we don’t even know who we are anymore, what we believe in, or what direction we are going in! It can get pretty messy when pushed to the side. Working through this helps you to define and understand your true values. When people address this in therapy it really helps them to find themselves and that’s when they really start to SHINE!
I feel like that is a lot for now, but I think this is something I will continue to build off in future blog posts. Bottom line is, being yourself and building your authentic self will help you to be the strong person you are and not controlled or formed by others. Because honestly, who likes to be controlled by others?!