2011 A Year of Yes
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Being authentic–a matter of courage
By Joe DiMaggio, MD
When we compromise, even in the tiniest of matters, it’s easier for those compromises to become more and more commonplace. Over time, bit by bit, this erodes our sense of self. It’s like stirring one drop of red paint into a can of white. The paint may turn only the palest shade of pink, and while that might seem barely noticeable—no matter what we say about it—the paint is no longer what it was. Similarly, when the wholeness and completeness of who we are is jeopardized in some way, albeit imperceptible at first, our sense of ourselves gets obscured, making it harder to return to who we are. When that begins, there’s really no starting point to become ourselves—it’s all flailing around.
The possibility of fully being ourselves occurs in proportion to our being authentic. Living with a pretense, or being afraid that some aspect of ourselves might be found out, precludes any real freedom. Being authentic requires courage. There is no template to follow, no zeitgeist to read, no known path to success. It’s a matter of courage—a matter of creating possibility. It gets made up as we go along, and it is this shift that makes available to us the full possibility of being human.
Landmark Forum leader
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