A Coaching Power Tool created by Catarina Brandao
(Career Development Coaching, CHINA)
Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself ~ Richard Bach
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are ~ C.G. Jung
Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free ~ Eckhart Tolle
How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people. What is true is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one can see clearly. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Being your true self is the most effective formula to success there is ~ Danielle LaPorte
Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears. ~ Rudyard Kipling
No man was ever so much deceived by another as by himself. ~ Fulke Greville
Genuineness is one of my core values and one of the adjectives I would like to have describe me, especially as a coach. However, it is equally important for me to be able to understand the perspective of the flip side of ‘genuineness’, for which I use the term ‘self-deception’, and what makes one behave in this manner.
The fact that it is something I struggle with, makes me want to understand it more, as it is probably something that I am rejecting in myself (the person I would rather not be).
We are born with our own unique personality and as children we fully embrace it, without thinking about what is right or wrong. As we grow older, we get external influences (parents, siblings, teachers, friends, society) receiving all kinds of different messages and we start to question what is acceptable or not. As a result we unconsciously ‘put away’ certain traits of our personalities and end up forgetting we even had them to begin with. We create distance and get disconnected from our ‘inner voice’. We start listening to our ‘head’ and stop listening to our ‘heart’.
Nevertheless, this ‘true inner voice’ of who each one of us is, still exists. By learning to listen to it, we can appreciate and embrace our uniqueness, and experience a fulfilled life.
Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you ought to be?
My definition of ‘genuineness’ is simply ‘being true to one’s self’. When we are being genuine, we are our authentic selves: we are connected to our true essence and we act in alignment with it.
- Being comfortable with who you are
- Not pretending to be someone else
- “Walking the talk” (doing what you say you will do) Self-deception
Self-deception is the act of deceiving oneself or the state of being deceived by oneself.
When we are not being genuine, we are only fooling ourselves, hence the term living in ‘self-deceit’. This is done at an unconscious level, but we become so accustomed to it and don’t stop to question ourselves.
Being unauthentic means we are not acting in accordance with one or more of our values, we are going against them, so we will therefore feel some kind of discomfort and internal struggle. At times when you lack self-confidence, you ‘put on a mask’ to stop your true-self from being seen, as a protection and out of an unconscious fear that if people really knew you they would not like you. However, pretending to be someone you are not is a great emotional burden, a very tiring and draining experience.
3. The shift
To shift from a state of self-deception to one of genuineness, means going from denial into reality. This is not an easy path to choose, as it requires being brave and having support. Knowing that you have to make the choices that are right for you or live forever dissatisfied is usually a powerful drive to provide the courage to affect positive change.
In order to be aware of your true-self, you first need to be aware of your values, beliefs, desires, needs, talents, strengths and drivers.
Once you have gained this consciousness, you can behave consistently in accordance to them, which will, in consequence, make you feel whole, better about life, more passionate, have a higher self-esteem and more energised. You feel real and your ‘true-self.’
There are many benefits to making this shift: you will no longer feel constantly trapped, uneasy, stuck, uncomfortable, ‘out of synch’ and troubled. It is a journey of personal growth, as you uncover the protective layers you have built up over the years and reveal your true-self.
But first you have to ask yourself:
- “do I want to change?”
- “do I want to ‘tell it like it is’ or just live with the ‘same old tired excuses’:
- It is just too hard.
- He doesn’t really understand me.
- That’s all for other people.
- I couldn’t … because of…
- My problems are different.
Instead of asking whether the way you are living, behaving and thinking is “right,” ask whether the way you are living, behaving and thinking is working or not working for you.
4. Living genuinely
Living genuinely takes a lot of self-awareness. It’s like holding a mirror up to yourself and looking into it.
Being true and real with yourself is hard and takes courage. It requires:
- being honest (to yourself)
- knowing your patterns
- recognising when you are giving your typical excuses, rationalisations and justifications for failure (or not doing something)
Genuineness is a muscle that helps you question beliefs and gives you the strength to do things others may say you can’t do. You follow your own intuition instead of following other people’s advice and suggestions.
Being genuine or authentic can sometimes be inconvenient and painful, but it is the way to go if you want to truly live a fulfilled life. You will feel it in your body, as if everything inside you has clicked into the right place. It is as if ‘you light up’. A clue to knowing is: if it doesn’t light you up, it isn’t right for you. This will help you know what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to.