Becoming authentic is an individual mission, since each person has their own way of being human, and consequently what is authentic will be different for each individual. Furthermore, personal authenticity is highly contextual, and depends on various social, political, religious and cultural characteristics. But the unique nature of each individual is best seen not in who he is, but in who he becomes, and becoming authentic is a continuous process, not an event. It involves not just knowing oneself, but also recognizing others and the mutual influence between individuals. If the quest for personal authenticity is just for self-fulfillment, then it is individualistic and ego-based; but if it is accompanied with the awareness of others and the wider world, then it can be a worthwhile goal. From Philosophy Now
Have you ever pondered, “who am I/i really?” “Who is M/my authentic self?”
Well, i have many times over the years. It seems as we grow and change, our relationships evolve or end, we move, and find new careers and new lovers, our authentic self changes too. Authenticity seems to be a hard and never ending quest because people are continually evolving, growing and changing.
Finding Y/your authentic self is about being honest with Y/yourself, being self aware, being humble, and listening to feedback from others without getting hurt or defensive, and then internalizing the feedback that resonates with Y/you. Those of Y/you who do seek a more authentic self will likely become a happier, and more creative person. Also, some psychologists say authenticity can lead to improved coping strategies, a stronger sense of self worth, more self confidence, and a higher likelihood of following through on goals.
Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his book The Four Agreements that “our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive and express what we really are.”
As soon as i read that statement i immediately thought about those of U/us living or attempting to live O/our authentic selves, what W/we really are – or are into (KINK or BDSM). W/we in the Leather BDSM community reportedly have healthier relationships because of the degree to which we have open, honest communication between the people involved prior to establishing a formal relationship or agreeing to a play session. For there to be open and honest communication Y/you hopefully have done some sort of personal inventory of Y/your life identifying Y/your wants, needs, desires, likes, preferences, and goals, as well as those things Y/you want to avoid, not experience or exclude from Y/your life.
In order for Y/you to begin identifying and understanding Y/your most significant personal values, i have included the list and exercises below:
Step 1: What I/i Value Most…
From this list of values (both work and personal), select the ten that are most important to Y/you – as guides for how to behave or as components of a valued way of life. Feel free to add any values of Y/your own to the list.
Achievement Friendships Physical challenge
Advancement and promotion Growth Pleasure
Adventure Having a family Power and authority
Affection (love and caring) Helping other people Privacy
Arts Helping society Public service
Challenging problems Honesty Purity
Change and variety Independence Quality of what I take part in
Close relationships Influencing others Quality relationships
Community Inner harmony Recognition (respect from others, status)
Competence Integrity Religion
Competition Intellectual status Reputation
Cooperation Involvement Responsibility and accountability
Country Job tranquility Security
Creativity Knowledge Self-Respect
Decisiveness Leadership Serenity
Democracy Location Sophistication
Ecological awareness Loyalty Stability
Economic security Market position Status
Effectiveness Meaningful work Supervising others
Efficiency Merit Time freedom
Ethical practice Money Truth
Excellence Nature Wealth
Excitement being around people who
are open and honest Wisdom
Fame Order (tranquility,
stability, conformity) Work under pressure
Fast living Personal development Work with others
Step 2: Elimination
Now that Y/you have identified ten, imagine that Y/you are only permitted to have five values. Which five would Y/you give up? Cross them off.
Now imagine that Y/you are only permitted four. Which would Y/you give up? Cross it off.
Now cross off another, to bring Y/your list down to three.
And another, to bring Y/your list down to two.
Finally cross off one of Y/your two values. Which is the one item on the lst that Y/you care most about?
Another way of identifying Y/your authentic self, is to ask Y/yourself the following five questions:
- When Y/you were little, what did Y/you want to be when Y/you grew up? W/we all had dreams when W/we were little, but people get sidetracked from T/their dreams by status, money, responsibility and life. Picture Y/yourself in Y/your childhood dream. Do Y/you see that smile and positive energy? That could be Y/your life.
- What makes Y/you laugh? Laugh at what Y/you find funny. Who cares if the person next to Y/you is laughing. Laughing feels good, makes U/us happier people and sets U/us free to enjoy the life W/we are living. Laughter is a powerful tool that can change Y/your mood and perception of what is happening in the moment. Enjoy the smile and the feeling of happiness rising inside of Y/you.
- What clothes do Y/you feel comfortable in? This is a serious question. It doesn’t matter if Y/you like dressing in suits every day or prefer cotton shirts and no shoes, wear what makes Y/you feel comfortable. i am not suggesting Y/you run naked through the streets or Y/your office, but clothes are a way of expressing Y/yourself and what Y/you wear should be comfortable and should reflect the true Y/you.
- What activities do Y/you enjoy? Discovering these activities will help guide Y/you towards a place where Y/you want to spend time. By finding and immersing Y/yourself in this place, Y/you will feel happier and more energized. Ultimately Y/you may find that Y/you want to work in that place, or at least create the possibility to spend more time there.
- Who can Y/you be Y/yourself around? W/we are social creatures by nature, so it is important to spend time with people who make U/us feel good and accept U/us for who W/we really are. When W/we are with people who do not judge U/us but accept U/us, then W/we are able to express O/our authentic self.
Once Y/you discover Y/your authentic self, Y/you can start to make changes in Y/your life that allow Y/you to be this person. It is time to face those fears and start Y/your journey toward being Y/your authentic self. Y/you will be astounded by how Y/your life can become fuller, richer, and happier. (Edited from http://www.mindbodygreen.com)
i have changed over the years but one thing has remained a constant even though for years it was a closeted self, so i can’t claim to have been living my authentic self. That is my love and affinity and passion for the Leather BDSM/KINK community. In my closet Days my fantasy men were leather clad masculine Doms. i enjoyed it when a partner was more aggressive, rough, or Dominant. i was really turned on by the slaps to the ass some men would deliver. i knew who my authentic self was i was just not able to let him out at the time for various reasons.
my responses to the questions above:
i like men in leather and uniforms; i feel comfortable in Levi’s, boots, leather; i enjoy and feel more comfortable in masculine atmospheres like Leather bars and Leather BDSM gatherings and events; i like BDSM & Kink & Fetish activities; and i can most be myself – my real, authentic self around other Leather BDSM Men/boys.