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True Self, and Authenticity

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,558
A lot of psychological advice in many spheres of life have to do with the true self and authenticity. An article I recently read says that some people find the notion of a True Self to be radically subjective. It also has trouble with indeterminacy of the self, which I don't really see as a problem. The article also puts the conception of the true self in a thin and a thick conception.

I want to get a sense of what people in general believe.
  1. What is the true self?
  2. What does it mean for a person to be authentic?
  3. What is meant by someone not being authentic?
  4. What is your conception of what is authentic, and what is not?
 

Tennessee Jed

Active member
Joined
Jul 24, 2014
Messages
577
MBTI Type
INFP
A lot of psychological advice in many spheres of life have to do with the true self and authenticity. An article I recently read says that some people find the notion of a True Self to be radically subjective. It also has trouble with indeterminacy of the self, which I don't really see as a problem. The article also puts the conception of the true self in a thin and a thick conception.

I want to get a sense of what people in general believe.
  1. What is the true self?
  2. What does it mean for a person to be authentic?
  3. What is meant by someone not being authentic?
  4. What is your conception of what is authentic, and what is not?
I just have some general observations, rather than answers to your questions.

Jung and Maslow wrote extensively on the subject of true self and authenticity. Jung called it "individuation," and later Abraham Maslow called it "Self-actualization" and put it at the peak of his triangular "Hierarchy of Basic Needs." In Chapter 11 of "Motivation and Personality," Maslow did a study of "self-actualized" people and tried to come up with a list of basic traits that they all demonstrated in their lives. It's interesting reading.

But I have to go with a later psychologist named Nathaniel Branden, who wrote a classic book on the subject of self-esteem called "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem." Branden noted that Maslow put Esteem as a "stage" in his "Hierarchy of Basic Needs": The stage between Love/belonging and Self-actualization. But Branden disagreed. He said that self-esteem is something you spend your entire life working on. He said that it's not a stage to be achieved, but rather an ongoing life process.

For my own part I would add that, when you think about it, self-esteem kind of becomes an outward manifestation of inward self-actualization. The two kind of go hand-in-hand. And to the extent that self-actualization is kind of ephemeral and hard to define, self-esteem may be the more "tangible" manifestation of those things.

Of course, as soon as you mention self-esteem, people will ask "But what about the fake kinds of self-esteem?" But Branden goes into all that, talking about the different types of self-esteem. Also Maslow, in his writings on the Esteem phase, came up with some interesting observations on the types of self-esteem and how they manifest themselves.

Anyway, to sum up: When I think of things like authentic self, true self, individuation, self-actualization, etc., my mind tends to go to self-esteem and the process by which you build that. It's kind of a life-long process: You can have a measure of self-esteem as a kid, given the limited world of children. And then as an adult your world broadens out and your self-esteem is deepened by working on many of the same things that are required for an "Authentic self," that is by incorporating your weak cognitive functions, becoming more balanced, facing your fears, etc.

So I tend to see self-esteem as a proxy for (or manifestation of) authentic self, perhaps to the point that they become pretty much the same thing.
 
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SurrealisticSlumbers

🍓 girl in an 🍎 world
Joined
Dec 31, 2016
Messages
661
MBTI Type
INFP
Enneagram
5w4
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
  1. What is the true self?
  2. What does it mean for a person to be authentic?
  3. What is meant by someone not being authentic?
  4. What is your conception of what is authentic, and what is not?

  1. This is a really deep question that isn't easily answered; we could easily discuss this for hours... Personally, for me, ketamine infusions brought about a sense of depersonalization, wherein I felt in that moment (or for several minutes) like I ceased to exist as a unique entity - something akin to what I've heard termed "ego death" in the psychedelic community - basically, I felt I was just a mass of atoms and electrical activity connected to a vast ocean of other atoms and energy stretching out / being output since the beginning of time - and indeed, that time ceased to exist as a given reality; I felt years go by in the space of like a half-hour. It was very humbling, and I came away with the sense that my "true self" is actually more like a patchwork quilt, so to speak, of my ancestors' old energy coming through (I inherited their genes and possibly genetic memories), plus bits and pieces of others' personalities that I have unwittingly picked up during my human lifetime, and that manifest subconsciously in my own personality. It is hard for me to determine just how much of my personality is really MINE vs. others influencing my brain processes, and therefore my personality.
  2. Authenticity is achieved when someone recognizes that they must confront and accept themselves for who they truly are, as well as others, and not try to camouflage themselves or pretend that these traits just don't exist in either themselves or others. It is based on radical self-acceptance and self-awareness as well as being hyper-aware and accepting of others' realities.
  3. People who aren't authentic and who have not done the work necessary to accept themselves (and others) for exactly who and what they are, are going to go through life with some major issues. They are continually going to be disappointed, let down, or otherwise not have their deepest hopes and expectations met, all because they failed to embrace their true selves and act accordingly. They instead will just blindly adopt the mindsets and opinions of others around them, and maybe they will experience some uncomfortable cognitive dissonance from time to time, which they try to numb with something - be it TV shows, food, booze, whatever - but that person can never really escape the nagging feeling that they aren't living their truth or a life that would really be authentic for them. Always thinking they will be satisfied with living by the expectations of others but never finding that true satisfaction and peace. These poor souls can and do often die early deaths from heart disease, high blood pressure or other stress-related ailments. In more extreme cases, they might commit suicide because their inauthenticity has gone on for so long that they feel it's too late in the game to ever live out the kind of life they really do desire, and which would actually be in alignment with who they actually are as a person.
  4. My own conception of an authentic person is the kind of person who readily recognizes social norms and laws, and who chooses to respect the rights of others around them, but who is also unafraid to live a fulfilling life in accordance with their own internal principles, and who seeks to just do their thing without harming others. An inauthentic person would be like some of the sad characters mentioned in #3, but I've noticed that there are also some out there - i.e. social media influencers - who CLAIM to be "authentic," usually touting some kind of new agey philosophy, all while putting on an act that can eventually eat away at them and cause inner discomfort and turmoil... a marked departure from the kind of message and image they put out to the rest of the world. People need to be leery of "fake" authenticity or of those trying to play some trick or money-making scam in the guise of "being authentic" or helping others to be authentic... just my two cents.
 

Tomb1

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
892
A lot of psychological advice in many spheres of life have to do with the true self and authenticity. An article I recently read says that some people find the notion of a True Self to be radically subjective. It also has trouble with indeterminacy of the self, which I don't really see as a problem. The article also puts the conception of the true self in a thin and a thick conception.

I want to get a sense of what people in general believe.
  1. What is the true self?
  2. What does it mean for a person to be authentic?
  3. What is meant by someone not being authentic?
  4. What is your conception of what is authentic, and what is not?
1. What you do when your back is up against the wall.
2. They do not mirror others.
3. They mirror others.
4. I spot it at a kinesthetic level. When somebody is not being authentic, they give it away physiologically.
 
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Lazinc

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
36
MBTI Type
😎
  1. What does it mean for a person to be authentic?
  2. What is meant by someone not being authentic?
When I think of authenticity, I think of Truth. For me, authenticity is defending the Truth.

I remember the story "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Andersen. People preferred to believe that the emperor was dressed. A child was the only one who had the courage to say that he was naked. Many people are afraid to tell the truth in order not to be excluded from the group or to be considered stupid. When we speak a different opinion from the group we are ridiculed. And nobody wants to be ridiculed.

We all know, each of us knows what is right and what is good, but we don't want to pay the price.
 
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