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Being the Real You

Updated on July 11, 2017

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Being real, authentic, or having integrity

Being real, authentic, or having integrity

Being real, genuine or authentic as a person generally means being true to one's character. A person who is said to be real or genuine therefore possesses all the character or qualities attributed to them, and is free of any hypocrisy in their portrayal of the claimed/attributed qualities or characters. As such, a real, genuine or authentic person can be trusted, and are less likely to change their position.

Definition of terms

Institutional locus - this is where the self is based on adhering to the societal norms

Impulsive - impulsive locus is largely defined by a spontaneous action or reaction to an event/situation

According to Turner, the real self is recognized differently between different people. For some, the real self is located in the social institutions and the role they play in these institutions. A good example of this is where one identifies him or herself as a son, a daughter, a student, or a friend etc. In this case, the real self is recognized as being located in a given social institution. Given that we all tend to play a given role in the society, some will associate their real self with the role they play in their surroundings. On the other hand, the real self may be located in the impulsive reaction to their respective situations or to events. Based on institutions or impulse, Turner begins by noting that people will define their individual actions/feelings as the representation of their true self (Ralph, 1968).

With regards to the institutional locus of the self, behaviors may portray the true self of an individual through conformity to various ideals, values or norms among others. This may include what they achieve; their personal qualities of how the demonstrate competence. Here, efforts have to be directed against impulse, where one has to overcome impulse in order to align actions, behavior or even attitudes with given societal standards. This shows that the society or environment of the individual plays the central role with regards to the real- self of an individual. On the other hand, when an individual abandons the standards of the society, and thus the institutions set up by the society in question, their real self is based on impulse. In the case of impulsive orientation, one tends to pursue their interest, doing what they feel like. Here, the individual abandons whatever is viewed as the norm of propriety and courtesy in order to freely pursue what they feel like.

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According to Turner, societal shifts have resulted in changes to the definition of the self. With these rapid changes, sense of real self has also shifted from the self founded on institutions to the sense of self based on impulse (Howard, 1991). This has largely been attributed to the repudiation of the institutional identities, which has been found to be as a result of the every growing sense of unreality, which derives from the efforts of institutional people to be all their roles, an impossibility during times of heightened social upheaval. Throughout history, various ideals have been disapproved while different other ideologies in societies have proved to be limiting of human progression. For this reason, various standards set by society's religions and politics among others have also been found to negatively affect some groups of people, and thus the need to abandon societal standards in order to pursue what they feel like.

Although my definition of the real self appears to include both the institutional and impulsive perspectives, it is largely concerned with impulse given that is emphasizes in a person being true to their character. This has to a large extent been shaped by my cultural background as well as historical life circumstances. In the course of my childhood, a majority of the people in my community adhered to certain aspects and ideologies that were popular and common to all. This included going to Church every Sunday, meeting and agreeing in certain matters concerning politics and rejecting given minorities in to the community. However, as time passed, some of the members of the society began to question these ideologies, and even rejecting them. With time, there was significant change in the society, where a good number of the youth went on to make decisions and engage in activities that generally went against the expectations and standards of the society that had existed for a long time. Rather than pretending to accept and adhere to the standards set by society, these individuals have accepted their true self, and abandoned these standards and societal institutions to question their religious leaders and political leaders, engage in activism to challenge the status quo and thus be able to live life as they see fit. This has differentiated the real self in to the two main categories identified by Turner as those based on institutions and those based on impulse.

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    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 

      17 months ago from Placentia California

      Patrick: You are welcome.

    • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick 

      17 months ago from Nairobi

      Thank you Peoplepower. I was also able to get a pdf copy on the internet, it is truly a very good and informative book. Thank you

    • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick 

      17 months ago from Nairobi

      Hi fpherj48. It is sad that some people, if not most people, lose themselves (there real selves) along this path we call life for a variety of reasons (fame, to be popular, to fit in etc) I personally feel that this is what keeps most people from being the best they can be, or reaching their goals. I am sure you've seen or heard a good number of people reach adulthood only to realize that they no longer know who they really are.. With statements like "I need to go find myself" or such... Could this be the reason?

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 

      17 months ago from Placentia California

      Patrick: I think you still might be able to get the book on Amazon. It literally changed my life in so many ways, including how to achieve goals and stop comparing myself to others

    • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick 

      17 months ago from Nairobi

      Hi, Thank you for this. It;s the type of stuff I love reading and learning about. I will definitely read more on this.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 

      17 months ago from Placentia California

      Patrick: I like your article. It starts out very scholarly and then transitions to your own life experience to support the assertions.

      Paula: In the 1960's there was a plastic surgeon whose name was Dr. Maxwell Maltz. He wrote a book called Psycho Cybernetics. He observed that when a persons physical looks were changed their behavior and the way they saw themselves did not change.

      He found the reason for this is that even though you can change your physical looks, you will act and behave consistent to your self image. In other words how you see your internal self governs how you feel about yourself and determines your values and beliefs.

      You only act consistent with your self image, that is in your minds eye. If you want to change your self image, you have to incorporate change into your life and sometimes it takes time and perseverance to do that.

      Experiences that you embody will cause that to happen as well. For example, a person changes religious or political beliefs because they embody the change and embraced that their self image has changed. From that point on, they act consistent with their new self image.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Patrick.....Wonderful article & a pleasure to read. I can only express how very strongly and wholly I believe that despite a vast array of changes to society, the "rules', current political atmosphere, etc etc (the list is endless) "WE" perpetually carry within us that real-authentic-genuine person we are....

      I truly get the gist of your article. I doubt that my firm beliefs in this regard are unique or extraordinary to me, but I have found that so many people do not hold as adamantly as I do.

      Yes, I wonder....am I confused or wrong...or are "they?" LOL

      As simple a quote from a fictional character as he is, I can't help but hear Popeye, loudly & clearly as he proclaims, "I is who I is and that's all that I is!"

      I have experienced beating on myself with all my might, my intelligence, common sense, wisdom, research & personal morality.....yet, I simply cannot erase, delete, change or alter my basic, at-my-core.....self. Even when it does not make me the most popular person in the room. Somehow, I always keep in mind that I must live with myself and I refuse to live with a phony, fraud, liar or manipulator!

      So, tell me please....share with me what you think of what I have just divulged to you...? I can handle it! Thanks. Have a productive day, Patrick! Peace, Paula

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