As an abused person you will have often been tricked and taken advantage of by people in your immediate circle, and even by strangers. You may even believe that abusers can sense your obvious victimhood like an animal sniffs out its prey. Do you believe that you have a look or an aura, like a smell that attracts unwanted attention and leads others to take advantage of you? Have so called friends turned against you in the past? Have they stolen from you? Have they been unfaithful to you? Have you been physically harmed or had your property vandalized? Did people lie to you or even expect you to lie to them about yourself to gain their approval? Anyone can be guilty of this kind of abuse; family members, colleagues or just people on the street. An extreme example of such abuse is rape. The victim may live the rest of her or his life believing that others sense their victimhood; that their “dirtiness” gives off a smell that attracts condemnation and abuse. Intellectually we know not to blame the victim, but we still do it, even blaming ourselves.

For such a person it can be very hard to choose friends. How do you trust someone? If you try too hard to make friends you may give your trust too easily and get hurt again. It is very hard to know who will abuse your trust and who will not. For most of my life I was terrified of making friends. I could not imagine that another person would not want to hurt me. Of course some good people ignored my reluctance and made me their friend anyway, which benefited me greatly and provided a lifetime’s good memories.

If your friend likes you enough to integrate you into their life, you will gain the added benefit of grounding in a community. This community may be a very small one at first, but it is very important for you, who has become expert at living alone and who has very few support systems. As you slowly collect a small group of friends or even trusted colleagues you will become more integrated into a community. This demands of you authenticity. Authenticity is the key to psychic health.

You won’t even know how to be authentic in the beginning. Remember that you have barely discovered feelings. Other people are great at provoking feelings that you don’t know what to do with. Each feeling that arises demands to be managed. You don’t have to suppress it like you have always done. Nobody wants you to start acting out again. Now that you have trusted supporters you can carefully begin to let your feelings out. Slowly and quietly at first, with care for your friend’s own feelings. You’ll start to feel easier, the raging storm of internal emotions that you have hidden until now will gradually quieten. You may become more relaxed around people. Others may perceive you as a happier individual. The chance to release the pressure of your inner feelings is what you want.

Having friends who can reflect your feelings back to you (like “mirroring”), or who can empathise with you, or even simply listen to you, can help you identify the feeling. Once you can identify a feeling you may be able to interpret its message from your inner self. It is this message that will guide you in what you need to do to manage the feeling. If you can act on the message, even if it takes a long time for you to get ready, you will be less likely to act out and you will be working your way out of depression.

The messages from your inner self are like finding small nuggets of gold along a rough and winding pathway on your journey. Do not fail to pick them up or you will find yourself back on the same path again until you have learned the lesson conveyed in the message.

A really good friend may notice that you have missed one of these little gold nuggets and will point it out to you. They do not mean to be critical of you but are trying to help you and make your life easier, and their life with you happier. Follow their advice, be humble and reflective and thank them for their kindness. Act on the message and try to fulfill its purpose. Your friend will love you for this.

Authenticity has nothing to do with selfishness or egoism. It is not a contest of wills between yourself and others. It is a kind of psychic Glasnost (transparency) and demands of you a personal Perestroika, (restructuring or rebuilding). Be clear with others about your motives. If the motive is dishonourable then perhaps it’s not a good thing to do. The need for authenticity is a need for equilibrium within your inner self. It implies a willingness to change. You will need to reexamine your bad habits and reject destructive behaviour. Change is usually painful and obviously you will have to pace yourself, so that you have enough energy and strength to continue on the path you have chosen.

Authenticity is also about free choice. You are not necessarily being authentic if you are forced to conform or obey others’ rules. So what are you to do? You will need to assemble your own value system from your own experience and knowledge and from that of those you respect. Rather than try to do this as a whole, you will most likely find progress in identifying your core values one at a time. Time is important here. Try to give yourself time in your life to appreciate your state of being. Be honest with yourself. At any one time, dedicate yourself to one of your chosen values and be prepared to change as a result. This kind of change is not easy. Authenticity is really a series of challenges. You will not achieve change without overcoming these challenges. The process is quite long, for some people it may never end; others may hardly get started.

I was effectively asleep for most of my life, just like Sleeping Beauty. I have now decided that I want to awaken one day, reborn, free of pain, depression, anxiety, fear, shame, loneliness, doubt, isolation, selfishness, confusion and exhaustion. I want to know the real me. I need to become an authentic person. I need to love that person and for others to love me.

To achieve this seems like an enormous amount of hard work. It is. So we will need a plan; an understanding of where we are now and some guidance. Fortunately your guides can be found within yourself. Everything you need to know, and what you need to do, can be summoned from your own resources. Nature, the universe, God or your Higher Power will provide the signposts along the path. You will use these natural forces to restore yourself and to regain your strength. You are not only a person, you are a highly evolved animal that exists within the natural world. You must recognise this and spend time reflecting on your place within nature to begin to find your way on the path to progress.

You will need to be open to the inspiration that can come from beyond the physical world too. You may attribute this to God or spirituality. What you call it isn’t important, however it should represent a direct, personal perception of what is right for you. It should be an open channel of inspiration, not communication. Meanings will take form in your consciousness by simply falling into place, because they are meant to be there. You won’t need to work it out. You won’t need to pass judgement. You will just know, and what you know will guide your progress toward overcoming each challenge in your life.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Gillespie is the creator and author of the Aurora's Dreams website and blog, as well as the soon to be released title "Aurora's Dreams: Seven Steps to a New Life".
An adopted Australian by birth and a global traveller, Mark has lived and worked in various countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, The Middle East & North America. He has committed to his own personal growth through meditation, diet and over ten years of psychotherapy.