Monday, February 18, 2013

Authenticity - The scarcest, most coveted resource

“The scarcest, most coveted resources aren’t high-tech machines or highly developed cities, but unspoilt places, people, objects, animals and experiences” – Martha Beck.

I’ve recently picked up Martha Beck’s book – Finding your way in a wild new world – for the second time and came across this statement that resonated with me strongly. I often feel so bombarded with information, gadgets, technology and things so where do I go when I want to take a break? I go to find the most natural, unspoilt natural place or experience to regroup and re-energise.

While reflecting on this, it also occurred to me that when we talk about being authentic, we are essentially talking about the exact same thing. In this world, we often need to be a certain way at work – call it professional; a slightly different way at home – call that supportive and caring; and  perhaps even another way with our friends or community – call it giving and sociable. Do we leave any room to ask ourselves, what do I want to do right now? Do I sometimes need a bit of space to be me – even if it's not particularly professional or especially caring? What if being supportive towards my own needs means that something will get left undone?

A friend shared with me her experience of buying a new cell phone. She researched it heavily as there were differing opinions between 2 main brands – who shall remain nameless for the purpose of the story – and be called brand A and brand B for now. Through googling various articles and comparisons relating to the phones’ features, speaking to people who owned one or the other brand and going into the shops and looking at each, she finally came to a decision that brand B would be the ‘right’ choice. An abundance of information, so readily accessible helped her to reach the ‘right’ conclusion. However, not once did she pause to think about – what do I want? What does my gut tell me is the right phone for me? She landed up disappointed with her choice because she gave little or no recognition to her authentic desire – regardless of features, research etc.

Because a huge amount of information is so readily available and accessible, we give more credence to what’s out there than what is inside ourselves.

Where is our unspoilt place, experience, self? This is a scarce and highly coveted resource and even if we haven’t connected to that idea yet, it is something to begin accessing a little more often.

For myself, I know that through an awareness of authenticity, I can get to be professional, care for others and give support but at the same time I also get to do and have some of that for myself. I get to ask – what do I want right now? I may not get it all the time but at least I get to ask.