Connecting with your authentic self

In our article ´healthy relationships are essential for a healthy mind´ we discussed the importance of our connection with others. In this article we will explore the importance of your connection with yourself. More specifically, your connection with your authentic self – the you behind the various defence mechanisms that may have developed over the years. Connecting with your authentic self is great for your overall sense of well-being. It can help you to become more aware of your genuine needs and allow you to live more in line with your beliefs and values.

¨Be that self which one truly is.¨

Soren Kierkegaard

Let´s start by taking a moment to consider why we develop defence mechanisms in the first place (caution: the next sentence may sting a little!). Pain is an inevitable part of life. We all know what it is like to feel rejection, loss, fear or failure. It is only natural that we try to protect ourselves from feeling pain. We can think of the behaviours that develop to protect us from pain as defence mechanisms. For example, if you have experienced the pain of rejection then perhaps you learnt to protect yourself by keeping others at a distance. If you have felt like a failure perhaps you went out of your way to do everything perfectly – or maybe you learnt not to try in the first place so as not to open yourself up to the potential pain of failure. If you have experienced the pain of bullying, perhaps you learnt to put others needs before your own as a way of trying to prevent them from hurting you again.

Whilst defensive behaviours arise as ways of trying to protect us from pain, unfortunately they often cause problems of their own. Consider the likely consequences of the protective behaviours described above – what would life be like it you always kept others at a distance, tried to do everything perfectly or always put others needs before your own?

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

Carl Jung

An important part of connecting with your authentic self is understanding the defence mechanisms that you may have developed to try to protect yourself from pain. But how do you know what your defence mechanisms are? Try answering the following questions…

Take a moment to think of something about yourself that you do not like other people to see. Perhaps it´s that you sometimes feel vulnerable, weak, not good enough, arrogant, angry or scared?

Next, think of some of the things that you do to prevent other people from seeing this – for instance, if you do not like other people seeing you as vulnerable perhaps you compensate by projecting a very confident image of yourself? You can think of these behaviours as defence mechanisms.

Once you feel a little clearer on your defence mechanisms, it is time to ask yourself what are the consequences of these behaviours? Are these behaviours actually working for you anymore? If not it might be time to experiment with gently letting them go and connecting more with the you behind the defence mechanisms.

In the world of addiction and recovery, one of the most common defence mechanisms is denial. It can be very painful to confront the consequences of behaviour in active addiction and so naturally denial develops as a way of trying to protect oneself from this pain. As part of our therapeutic programme we will help you to identify the impact of denial on your recovery as well as other defence mechanisms that may be limiting you. To find out more please get in touch with us at Bali Beginnings at[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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