Bonnie, over at Original Art Studio (link at right or right here) got me thinking about authenticity as a blogger. I left a comment there that developed into this post below. Thanks, Bonnie!!
What (who?) is my real, authentic self?
I ask myself that question as a husband, a father, a friend, a kindergarten teacher and as a blogger, too.
The answer is the same for all my “selves.”
I'm most authentic when I don't wish to take back my words, or to undo what I’ve done.
Many times I have heard someone say something mean or hurtful, followed, eventually, by a recantation like, "I’m sorry. I didn't really mean the hurtful words I said."
I've done this myself.
How authentic were my mean words? How authentic was my apology? Just wondering.
From a Buddhist point of view there is no "self." Seen from this very helpful perspective, the issue of authenticity shifts, lightens up, and even disappears, sort of.
Sort of, because I've learned—the hard way—to force myself to become familiar, even friendly with, my "shadow side,” the dark, negative, angry, sad, and scary realms within. Darkness doesn’t like being lit up with mindfulness. Fear, anger, sadness—they don't like being lived with, looked at, tolerated, accepted. They lose their power when I'm able to sit with them. Poor babies. Poor monsters under my bed.
So the question remains. Given my multifaceted "self," what facets do I want to display to my family, to my friends in real life, to my readers in blogland and to my students in kindergarten?
Maybe karmically that is the key question for me: What sort of person do I wish to be as I stand up in kindergarten as a teacher of very young and very impressionable children?
That's easy. I wish to share the positive, uplifting, optimistic facets. These facets are solidly genuine, really authentic, and surely worthy of sharing. And they’re the facets of me I wish to cultivate.
I’ll look under my bed in private.