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          Self Matters

          Defining Your Authentic Self

          July 13, 2005

          Are you living a life that is more in tune with your “authentic” self (who you were created to be) or your “fictional” self (who the world has told you to be)?

          You probably weren’t even aware that these versions of your “self” existed! Dr. Phil explains the difference between the authentic and fictional self:

          Authentic Self

          When you’re asked, “Who are you?” what is your answer? “I’m a mom.” “I’m a doctor.” “I live in Ohio.” Often the answer is not who you are, but what you do, what your social station is, or how you see your function in life. You can’t answer who you are, because you don’t know.

          There is another level of existence that is the real, true, genuine substance of who you are. It’s what Dr. Phil defines as the authentic self.

          The authentic self is the you that can be found at your absolute core. It is the part of you not defined by your job, function or role. It is the composite of all your skills, talents and wisdom. It is all of the things that are uniquely yours and need expression, rather than what you believe you are supposed to be and do.

          Fictional Self

          When you’re not living faithfully to your authentic self, you find yourself feeling incomplete, as if there is a hole in your soul. You may have found that it’s easier to fill the roles your family and friends expect of you, rather than becoming who you really want to be. Living this way drains you of the critical life energy you need to pursue the things you truly value.

          When you live a life that has you ignoring your true gifts and talents while performing assigned or inherited roles instead, you are living as your fictional self.

          The fictional self sends you false information about who you are and what you should be doing with your life. It blocks the information you need in order to maintain the connection with your authentic identity. Relying on information from the fictional self means you’re putting your trust in a broken compass.

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