Be your true self
We talk about being authentic. We talk about walking your talk. What does this mean in daily life?
If one were to wear one’s self on one’s sleeve, what would happen? We would be judged, subconsciously or consciously by others. Ayurveda advises us to maintain a happy exterior, no matter what. This then, one would think, create a false image of oneself in public. However, I now experientially understand the benefits of this; one is protected from negative judgement in the main. One does not create suffering for others.
Now, in the world of digital media, one can maintain a happy self image and get the adoration we all seek. We see how many likes we have, the positive comments we get and gain albeit a temporary happiness from this. There are beauty filters and editing of images to help you look like a movie star and this is the reason many peoplecome off social media. These images of people having a great time have caused a feeling of insecurity and inferiority amongst many.
When Ayurveda says maintain a happy and positive image, it is for the purpose of maintaining face in society. Do you know how many people are happy knowing that you are unhappy, even though its not conscious. It gives others a oneupmanship over others, something to gossip about and ruin your social image.
So then how does one deal with feelings of sadness and negativity. Is one still supposed to fake it till you make it. It seems so. This is a type of affirmation. Here in India, when one is asked ‘how are you’ the common answers are ‘first class, very good, all good with the blessings of god’.
This may seem like one is suppressing ones feelings. Suppression of negativity is considered a good thing as t leads to one not dwelling on such things. If one puts ones energy on negativity by talking about it repeatedly, it grows. However, on the other hand, one must he self analytical with oneself to understand the root cause of the negativity and if one cannot do it alone, seek the help of a close one or a counselor, where one is not going to be judged. If one fails to address the root cause of ones negativity or sadness, one could end up in huge psycho emotional turmoil which could lead to a mind or body disease. One has to have a few trusted people who are not in the least bit judge-mental if one cannot self navigate out of negativity and sadness. However, the problem must not increase by fixating on it nor should ones image of oneself deflate by taking on a victim mentality. We each are responsible for our own actions and if one believes in the karma theory we can also go one step further and say we are fully responsible for all the things happening in our life. All the circumstances including the responses of others.
So the initial question raised about how to be authentic means, I would say, maintain positivity in front of others whilst you are sorting out your negative issues in the background. Be genuine, don’t be over the top about positivity but speak the truth at all times without disturbing the peace of others and creating a negative self image. A negative self image in society is difficult to erase but a positive one is inspirational. In the philosophy of John Stuart Mill, it is said work for the greater good of the whole so this is in line with Ayurveda.
What about the common trend we are veering to today, which is to air ones dirty laundry in public on chat shows and such like where you are told that you are held in a safe environment. I personally don’t think it is a good idea to do this for the reasons I have already mentioned. Pick up the pieces in the privacy of your own home is what i would say and that too with discernment.