Your "Authentic Self"

by pirata 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • pirata

    As I was reading a book "Living the 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More". this section really jumped out at me:

    we're not blank slates. Our genes determine our appearance and have a big say in other matters. As we grow up, our parents and family influence how we behave, think, and think of ourselves. Our teachers, friends, priests, bosses, and mentors mold us. The ideas and norms of our society, and the groups with whom we hang out, strongly sway us.

    Yet subtract all these influences and there's still something left: the precious and strange thing called our self, our unique identity and autonomy. However pronounced the pressures on us, we have our own personality. Nobody else on the planet is the same. In a big or small way, we are bound to influence the world, maknig it different than it would be without us.

    We become individuals through subtraction. Less is more.

    We have the wonderful opportunity to let go of the bits of ourselves that are not authentic, not "really us" - the parts imposed by background, parents, and environment. The authentic self is a small part of our total self, yet it's the vital self. We all have special gifts, unique imaginations, our little bit of genius: the spark of life that's wholly ours.

    ...Developing one's authentic self, the vital and best part of oneself, is not difficult or unnatural. In being true to your self, you give up the parts of you that are not genuine or natural. You stop acting. You stop pretending to be interested or excited in things that bore you. You stop worrying about what other people think of you. What could be easier? More rewarding? What could electrify your life more?

    - Living the 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More. Richard Koch. 2004. 48-49

    Of course, this is in direct contrast with the JWs discouragement of independent thinking and "selfish pursuits" of one's interests. Many put on the 'new personality' to the extreme when they become JWs. Cutting off friends, cutting off hobbies that are a "waste of time", not questioning things that bother the "authentic selves", basically burying everything that defined them as a person and fitting into the new JW mold.

    I think this also ties in quite nicely with Steve Hassen's "Releasing the Bonds", which I've just started reading, which describes a process to reach a cult member's "authentic identity" in order for them to realize for themselves that they are in a cult.


    I would be interested in hearing the difference that being your "authentic self" has made in your life since exiting the JWs. Do those who fade find that they still have to hide some of their selves? How about those who have DA'd or where DF'd?

  • OnTheWayOut

    I haven't read the book, but I have read both of Steve Hassan's books and other books about influences on the mind and personality.
    Steve Hassan talks about the "pre-cult" personality which differs from the cult personality. I hated the term as many were born into cults or were young when they got into the cult. While the facts are still valid, I changed the term to "non-cult" personality. I believe our authentic self continues to develop despite the influences around us (or because of them).

    I don't think we can fully find an authentic self without outside influences. Environment plays a huge role in who we are. But there are many core beliefs/traits that many people retain and often, they go against the influences around them. I'd have to read the book you speak of to say more.

    I discovered that the best JW training really didn't turn me into a judgemental bastard. Oh, it almost did. But my authentic self was not really about judging others and I found "authentic self" continually breaking through as I was a JW.

  • frigginconfused

    I almost lost myself with all the crap life dumped on me. But now Im really searching to see who I really am. The more I am untrue to myself, the worse my mental problems get in the way. The more I am truely me, the clearer and happier I am. As messed up as I am, I love to be me.

  • frigginconfused

    80/20 makes a good hamburger!

  • pirata


  • LostGeneration

    What sucks is if you are born in and leave after decades you really dont give a crap about going out and celebrating birthdays or celebrating holidays. What sort of meaning can these things have if they have been stolen away from you in your childhood by the cult.

    Its even difficult to find meaning in "things that interest you" when you leave. Like you say, anything I was interested in growing up was shoved into the back of the closet, forfeited in the name of meetings, FS, study, you know anything the cult can use to keep you busy.

    It sucks...

  • VoidEater

    I am less strategic in expressing my likes and dislikes, not worying so much about what I am "supposed" to like, who I am "supposed" to dislike. I am more honest about my feelings.

  • miseryloveselders

    I believe it boils down to be institutionalized. Anybody remember the Suicidal Tendencies song from way back when? Had the spoken word lyrics at the end..........

    I'm sitting in my room, when my mom and my dad came in. they pulled up a chair and they sat down. They go “mike, we need to talk to you.” And I go “ok, what's the matter?” They go “me and your mom, we've noticed that lately you've been having a lot of problems, and you've been going off for no reason, and we're afraid you're going to hurt somebody, and we're afraid you're going to hurt yourself. So we decided that it would be in your best interest if we put you somewhere where you could get the help that you need.” And I go “wait, what are you talking about, WE decided? MY best interests? How do you know what MY best interest is? How can you say what MY best interest is? What are you trying to say? I'M crazy? When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities? So how can you say I'M crazy?”

  • Quentin

    "Authentic Self"....Hmmmm, I think most of us keep the "Authentic Self" hidden away. Once when we were returning from a visit with my side of the family Kathy asked me " why, when you visit your dad, aunts, uncles, do you talk like a hick'. We keep the "Authentic Self" locked away, hidden, known only to ourselves, maybe.

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    My authentic self was always in there. I just beat him down all the time. He was called the 'fleshly man'.

    the last 12 years have seen me shuck of the JW 'new personality' and bin it.

    And man o man! I am happy as teenager in a whore house!


    ps... i subsribe to the method of living: work LESS and play MORE. Exactly how i have structured it. Not too hard if you have no debt!

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