We often talk about the power of authenticity, but what does that word really mean? And how are we to know when we’re being authentic, and when we’re not?
Well, we’re going to get back to that. But first, let’s talk about Harry Potter.
It’s common to hear people speak about horses “reflecting” ourselves back at us like a mirror. And recently, a close friend of mine compared this experience with horses to the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter.
Look closely, because “Erised” is just “desire” backwards. In the book, The Mirror of Erised shows someone the deepest, most desperate desire of their hearts. Dumbledore tells us that the happiest man on earth would look into this mirror and see himself exactly as he is. This is because the happiest man on earth would desire nothing other than what he already is and has.
This, my friends, is our authentic self. Still following?
Horses are especially powerful mirrors for us to find our authenticity in. They have a way of bringing us to this place very quickly, because they only live in their authentic self. For them, the Mirror of Erised is no different than a regular mirror.
I believe true authenticity is the key to our deepest desires and our happiness in life. Have you ever noticed that on the days you’re feeling good and confident, life just seems easier in general? Things kind of fall into place. But on the days you’re feeling insecure or bummed, there seems to be a ripple effect. Bad things just keep happening. It’s easy to believe that we have no control over this, and often times we find ourselves feeling like a victim in a series of unfair events that never ends.
Wouldn’t we all love to believe that we could look into the Mirror of Erised and just see ourself and our life, exactly as it is– our deepest desire being fulfilled by our authenticity and nothing more? I think we can.
Understanding and feeling authenticity is a journey and takes time– but one simple rule is that authenticity feels good in a deep way. The more we live in this place of authenticity, the more we will feel content–because everything we want or need we already have.
Our self doubt, criticisms, and the chatter in our heads is not our authentic self. This is what we can call the “false self”. But when we connect to our inner-knowing and realize that who we really are lies deep beyond our thoughts– stress and insecurities will drift away and we will feel at peace. This is the authentic self.
Remember those feelin’ good days we just discussed? The ones where everything just goes your way? Well this is key, because that good feeling means you’re experiencing your authenticity, and things are going to continue falling into place. We get off-course as soon as the false self starts creeping in, and we start seeing new things in the Mirror of Erised… desires that take us away from our path, and swirl around in our heads instead of our hearts.
So how do we do this in real life? The biggest first step we can take is to just start recognizing the difference. Below are some easy tips to recognize which state you’re in.
Responsive not reactive
Present to sensory experience & environment
Feeling safe and grounded
Being in the flow
So try it! Just notice when your thoughts take you into your head, into that place of questioning and critiquing. And notice when you feel naturally happy and confident– instead of the thoughts, there is peace and grounding. I promise you, the more you begin to notice the difference, the easier it will become to find happiness in every moment.