Book of the Month: Authenticity: How to Be Yourself by Stephen Joseph

Public opinion and our own complexes often prevent us from being ourselves. We get so used to wearing masks that we cease to understand where our real life is, and where is the role imposed by circumstances. When we lose our authenticity, we lose the ability to hear ourselves and do what brings us joy. How to change your life for the better, return to yourself and your authenticity? Why is knowing yourself and accepting your feelings so important to feeling happy? How to build a dream relationship and find meaning in every day? These and other eternal questions in his book “Authenticity: How to be yourself” are answered by the world expert in the field of positive psychology, Stephen Joseph. No extra water and simple exercises that motivate change. Such books do not change overnight, but they help you not to stop on the path to self-development. The most interesting and close to us quotes from the book – in our section “Book of the month”.

Material prepared by: Nadezhda Nazaryan

Authentic person

“In short, authentic people have three important characteristics: they know themselves, they are responsible for themselves and they know how to be themselves.”

Know yourself

“Authentic people know what they love and what they don’t; what they do well and what is bad; what they are ready for and what they are not. They are well aware of what is happening, understand what is happening inside them and what is happening around, and know how to look at what is happening objectively. “

A responsibility

“To be responsible for your actions means not to reprimand yourself for stupidity or clumsiness, but to draw conclusions from what happened, set yourself new, clearer goals and listen to your intuition more attentively in the future.”

“When we meet a person with a problem, we immediately try to solve it for him. We propose concrete actions, we try to awaken activity in him, push him to change. But in this case, only we want change, and we unwittingly take responsibility for other people’s actions. It’s better to just listen to the person, give him a chance to show responsibility and support him in all available ways. “

Ability to be yourself

“Authenticity is an ideal to be pursued with the knowledge that from time to time we will be wrong; but one should not give up trying. This is not an ideal state in which we know exactly what we want out of life; it is not a position in which we can calmly communicate our thoughts to other people; they are not attempts to constantly emphasize their uniqueness. First of all, this is the lack of desire to impress someone or attract someone’s attention. If we are authentic, we are happy with who we are and glad that those around us accept us. It is not necessary to know exactly where we are going at the moment, the main thing is to try to go our own way, and not the one that others tell us. “

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Hear the truth about yourself

“Authentic people are open to new things and, as a result, they constantly learn something about themselves. They know how to look at themselves honestly, see both their own advantages and disadvantages, mistakes and mistakes. They can condemn their own actions, but not trying to humiliate themselves, but wanting to draw the right conclusions and change for the better. They know how to criticize individual traits in themselves without generalization. They understand that mistakes are inevitable: this is a human trait. They know that there is no point in comparing themselves with others, they understand that everyone has their own strengths, talents and capabilities, but at the same time, everyone is equal, since we are all human. Authentic individuals perceive the world without generalizations. They have a flexible way of thinking, they know how to weigh and objectively assess the situation at each specific moment and take appropriate measures. “

Personal growth vs. Consumption

“People are being sold an image of supposedly authentic life. Advertising campaigns impose on us the idea that you need to consume a lot to live well. As Kasser notes, modern life is significantly distorted by the misconception that happiness is the achievement of a certain level of prosperity, the receipt of certain goods and services. The culture of consumption imposes false goods that prevent us from satisfying our basic psychological needs. This culture preaches hedonism, which comes at the cost of authenticity.

Internal goals and values, on the contrary, imply a desire for personal growth, inclusion in a certain common cause and close connection with others. Achievement of such goals pleases us much more because it satisfies deeper psychological needs. “

Use your superpower

“According to Seligman’s theory, the signs that we are using our strengths are:

  • we feel “real” doing what we do;
  • we feel like we are learning new things;
  • we use existing skills in new ways;
  • it seems to us that we are doing the right thing;
  • we feel a surge of strength;
  • we are filled with excitement and enthusiasm.

We all have our strengths, but we do not always use them to the fullest. We need to find opportunities to use them to the maximum, while gradually eliminating our weaknesses. The more actively we strive to know ourselves, begin to take responsibility for ourselves and be ourselves, the more natural and easier it will be for us to do this. “

Accept reality

“Lack of authenticity can protect us from the horrors of reality. Some scholars, for example, talk about how the material values ​​of Western society distract our attention from the terrible, disturbing truth of our life. However, authentic people don’t hide from the truth. They openly admit that which is difficult to admit, but necessary.

  • Each of us will die. Perhaps even today or tomorrow.
  • We are unable to control the world around us and are absolutely powerless in the face of an inevitable and unpredictable future.
  • We have a responsibility to make decisions; we are responsible for our choices, and we must accept the consequences.
  • Only we define and choose the meaning and purpose of our life.
  • Ultimately we are all alone. “
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The secret to a long and happy relationship

“For a long and happy relationship, authenticity is vital. Frederick Lopez of the University of Houston and Kenneth Rice of the University of Florida identified two key components of such a relationship: aversion to deception and a willingness to take risks.

Rejection of deception is a quality that suggests that it is extremely important for a person to be himself in a relationship, even if the partner has to see him from his best side. Such people need the partner to know who they really are, to have an idea of ​​all their strengths and weaknesses, and they want to know the same about the partner. They prefer open and honest dialogue. They strive for sincerity and truthfulness, even though the truth can sometimes be disappointing. “

“Willingness to take risks is a quality that implies that a person seeks to share his secret thoughts and feelings with a partner. Such a person will not tolerate, even at the cost of quarrels, any secrets in a relationship. His goal is to be one hundred percent himself. “

Two in a boat

“Do’s and Don’ts if we want to build a romantic relationship:

  • Don’t avoid talking about issues that worry you. Take some time for this.
  • Discuss the rules of your relationship and clearly define your boundaries.
  • Don’t feel like it doesn’t take any effort to build a strong relationship.
  • There is no static in a healthy, authentic relationship. Get ready for change.
  • Don’t assume that you know ahead of time what your partner is thinking.
  • Asking your partner often about their thoughts and feelings and listening to their responses with genuine curiosity will help you understand them better.
  • Don’t feel like you know ahead of time what your partner means.
  • Be an active listener – make sure you understand what your partner is telling you.
  • Don’t get hung up on your point of view.
  • Ask yourself how else you can look at the situation.
  • Don’t interrupt your partner when they speak.
  • Pause before answering the other person. It is needed to make sure that the interlocutor has expressed everything he wanted and will not add anything.
  • You don’t need to constantly tell your interlocutor what to do.
  • Instead of talking to yourself all the time, ask questions.
  • Do not demand more from a person than he can give. “

Learn to say no

“Authentic people are honest and sincere in their dealings with others. In difficult situations, instead of activating defense mechanisms, they express what they really think, while treating others with respect. One of the common problems is not knowing how to say no. We have already said that in our youth we are driven by the desire to be accepted by society. It is so strong that it sometimes suppresses the desire for autonomy and independence in us. We want to please our parents. I would like to fit into the team at school or at the institute. I want the authorities to appreciate us. That is why we learn to say “yes” even in cases when our heart tells us to refuse. Thus, we lose touch with ourselves.

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The next time you are asked for something, think about whether what is asked of you is important to you and whether it is at odds with your personal values. And if it diverges, then you can answer, for example: “Thank you for calling. I really appreciate your invitation, but I need to think. I’ll contact you tomorrow “or” I’ve thought about your request, but I’ll have to refuse. I don’t want to do this ”- you will figure out what to say. And of course your life will change. Perhaps you will lose some of your friends. But do you need friends who want you to act against your own will? “

Authentic parenting

“An authentic parenting approach means that you do everything in your power to make your child himself, and do not try to make a copy of him or adjust him to your ideal. To do this, it is necessary to satisfy the child’s need for freedom and participation. In other words, one should not control him without measure, but accept him as he is.
This does not mean that children should not be limited. Rather, parents need to learn to set boundaries that will not prevent them from showing love to their child and accepting him with all his characteristics. Parents should take responsibility for their child’s personal growth, mentor and care for him, but not demand anything in return.

If you have not accepted yourself and understood how your own defense mechanisms work, it will be difficult for you to accept your child. In order to appreciate and accept another, you need to value and accept yourself. “

Authentic life manifesto

With myself

  1. Know your boundaries and let others know what is acceptable to you and what is not.
  2. Begin to see in all life’s difficulties an opportunity to know yourself better.
  3. Become aware of your feelings at any given moment and ask yourself what is the reason for them.
  4. Listen carefully to your internal reactions and to everything that you say to yourself. Try to hear the voice of your intuition.
  5. Learn to accept yourself with all your strengths and weaknesses.

With others

  1. Do not dwell on the shortcomings of your neighbor – better help him develop the talents and strengths that he has.
  2. Do not belittle the talents of others, instead, draw their attention to their own inner potential – this will help them reach new heights.
  3. No need to remake people so that they are more like you. Help them become more like themselves.
  4. You should not strictly control others. It’s better to always think about how to help them open up.
  5. Try to understand how others view life. Listen to them carefully. Understand that everyone has a right to their opinion, even if it does not coincide with yours.

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