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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Inauthentic Lives

Karoo National Park, Beaufort West, South Africa
Many well-known and respected speakers refer to people who live inauthentic lives. The sense I get from them, is not that they are criticizing these people, but that they are suggesting that living an inauthentic life may lie at the root of much unhappiness and desperation that is often covered up with sex, eating, drinking, drugs, shopping, non-stop deadening of the senses with television and mass media, an incessant social life, and so on.

Inauthentic is defined as "false, not genuine", and what is false and not genuine about an inauthentic life, is the fact that the person living it is not in connection with his or her true self.

That is to say, this individual is generally living a life that he or she feels should be lived, a life perhaps that the parents expected, or a life that the partner or spouse expects, or simply that this individual feels should be the life to be lived in order to live up to someone else’s expectations. It’s often also a life in which much greater importance and value are given to the outer search for material abundance and social and professional prestige (all of which are very worthwhile aims), than to the inner search for purpose and meaning and for connection to the self and others. (See also my April and May 2006 Newsletters: Losing the Connection and Tending Your Inner Garden).

In an authentic life both the inner and the outer quest are given importance, a balance is sought, and the person soon recognizes that what most motivates him or her, and what most gives satisfying meaning and significance to the lifetime, is something that literally comes from within; something that emanates from the deepest inner self, and which creates a true connection to the self.

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