1 March 2021

RECOGNIZE YOUR AUTOPILOT

We are born with potential: as children we are spontaneous and authentic.
Just as our courgette seed grows into a beautiful courgette plant when placed in the soil with sun and water, we human beings naturally tend towards becoming fully who we are, towards self-realization.

But it is not always so, and all around us we have many examples to look at, including those seedlings that break, that do not grow, that take the storm.
It is also true that sometimes wonderful things happen: do you know when you are walking in the city and you see green sprouting from the cracks in the asphalt? It’s crazy to observe the power of nature, of life.

Why do we find it so hard to be ourselves?

Today we are opening a huge chapter, at the basis not only of authenticity, but of our way of being in the world. We are talking about character structure.

Our character structure is formed in the first 7 years of life.
It is formed in response to the environment in which we live and grow.
Some of the characteristics that distinguish us are innate, such as our temperament, while others we create ourselves to adapt to the environment.

Day after day we sew on a little dress, made to measure for us.
A dress that we need to ‘function’, to interact with our environment.
We need it to survive.

After so many years, that little dress is too tight, it no longer fits. We are no longer comfortable in our clothes, but we don’t know any other way of being… you know that feeling of not knowing what to wear? Here, imagine not knowing that you have other clothes in your wardrobe.

When we realize we’re not functioning well and we have the strength to ask for help, we give ourselves the chance to speed up this wardrobe change, to start functioning again.

In the podcast “Ritrova la tua autenticità” episodio “Riconosci il tuo pilota automatico”, I tell you Amedeo’s story. His suit worked well for many years, helping him to play down situations and lighten up. Today his laughter, his deflections, are inadequate and create problems for him at work.
It is not Amedeo as a person that is not good, it is that the response he learned as a child worked then. Now it doesn’t always work, we need more.

1. How do we lose our authenticity?
All of us have developed a character, a way of being in the world. We developed it in response to our environment. So we are born pure and authentic, and day after day we put on this little dress of… good girl, naughty, nice, good, perfect… and so on. When we were little, that dress allowed us to grow up. It worked well then, it was our own little dress.
We lose our authenticity because we have a character.

2. How do we realize that?
At a certain point that little dress starts to get a little tight. Our relationships don’t always go the way we want them to, sometimes we are not understood at all. It’s as if we always wear the same little dress because we don’t see the other clothes in our wardrobe. We’ve never tried them on, they’re hidden. We automatically wear that little dress without thinking about it. We realize that because other people don’t see us for what we really are, they just see the little dress, OK?
Having a character is inevitable, we wouldn’t be alive without it.
Being completely identified with that character trait is limiting.
Start by observing it.

3. How can we find our authenticity?
First we start by observing our autopilot, we start by recognizing that we go on by inertia, without awareness. That’s the way it is, that’s the way I’ve always done it, and I don’t think there’s any alternative… Accept that that’s your little dress, that has brought you this far.
And then get to know yourself well, discover the alternatives to that little dress.
It’s not a question of throwing it away, but of making it more suitable for you, now.

Rediscovering authenticity means seeing our own mask, accepting that we are often on autopilot and then discovering what alternatives we have.

I’ve made it simple, but I hope you’ve understood that we’re not looking for some kind of serious disorder. In personal research we try to bring awareness, to see those autopilot behaviors. They are the ones that fool us. At one time they helped us, today they fool us. Let us see them!

We all adapted to the environment we grew up in: parents, caregivers, teachers, relatives and so on. We grew up developing the necessary resources to be in that environment there. It’s neither right nor wrong, but that’s how it is.

So… what keeps us from being fully what we already are?

What keeps us from being authentic? Our character!

Isn’t it worth getting to know this character? To understand how we function? To be aware of how we move in the world?
You can find some food for thought in my articles on the Enneagram character map.

Whether this is enough for you or not, I don’t know!
For years I have attended psychotherapy and meditation groups which have allowed me to see this character better, to begin to recognize it.

Well done work on childhood requires the presence of good psychotherapists.
During my three-year training in counseling I participated in a powerful course on deconditioning from childhood and I can tell you that it is really worth it.
Contact me if you want to know more.

Only when we know ourselves well can we be free to be ourselves.

I look forward to seeing you next week… with an extra bit of authenticity!