Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An authentic life includes the disowned pieces

In the cover story, "Dare to be Yourself: Eight Rules for Authentic Living" in the May-June 2008 issue of Psychology Today , Karen Wright quotes Thomas Moore about an authentic life:
"Jung says the first thing you should do is take a look at those things that are dark in you, the things that are problematical, that you don't like," says psychotherapist and former monk Thomas Moore, author of A Life at Work. "You have to be willing to look at things that don't fit snugly into the image you have of what you would like to be."

Becoming authentic, then, means accepting not only contradiction and discomfort but personal faults and failures as well. Problematic aspects of our lives, emotions, and behaviors — the times we've yelled at the kids, lusted after the babysitter, or fallen back on our promises to friends — are not breaches of your true self, Moore insists. They're clues to the broader and more comprehensive mystery of selfhood. "In fact," he notes, "we are all very subtle and very complex, and there are forces and resources within us that we have no control over. We will never find the limits of who we are.

"People carry around a heavy burden of not feeling authentic," he says, "because they have failed marriages and their work life hasn't gone the way it should, and they've disappointed everybody, including themselves. When people think of these as just failures, as opposed to learning experiences, they don't have to feel the weight of their lives or the choices they've made. That disowning creates a division that becomes the sense of inauthenticity."
Moore's 2000 book, Original Self, carries the sub-title Living with Paradox and Authenticity on its title page. Vist Barque: Thomas Moore Forum for the Opus Day 21 passage about accepting our shadow elements while discovering our life work.

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