Defining Your Authentic Self

08/29/2014 03:28 am ET | Updated Feb 14, 2016
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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?" is the best answer you can muster up something along the lines of: "I'm a mom" or "I'm a doctor"? 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. Maybe you can't answer who you are because you don't even know.

There is another level of identity that is the real, true, genuine substance of who you are — your authentic self. That is who you are 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 live a life in which you are not faithful to your authentic self, you may find yourself feeling incomplete, as if there is a hole in your soul. That’s because you’re living as your fictional self. 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, honoring your true gifts and talents. Living this way drains you of the critical life energy you need to pursue the things you truly value.

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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