Posts Tagged ‘authentic self’

American Positivism, French Authenticity

One of the hallmarks of the American culture is its unflinching belief in the value of positivism at all costs. Everything is fabulous, mothers congratulate their kids for blowing their nose, and God forbid, any hint of negativism is frowned upon. Coming from France, a country where we are taught to practice the art of the litote, from a very young age, this has always felt like fake and forced communication to me. The French are more into subtleties, and minimizing their appreciation. If they think something is really good, they will say, ‘Not bad’. French are also more free about voicing their opinions, whether good or bad.

Is positivism good for green?

I am noticing a lot of positivism in the green American media. Another blogger told me once that I would do well to be less negative. Couldn’t I talk about all the good things I am doing, rather than focusing on what is not going so well? Of course, I could. My question is, how relevant is it to the current problem that is facing us all? This admission of ‘sins’ is the first step in all life changing programs. Major religions have it in one form or another. Twelve steps program have made it their foundation. And good old logic says, identify the problem first, the solution will come next.

Authenticity and Green

Denial and lies will not get us anywhere. In psychotherapy, one way to facilitate authenticity, is to give the patient the permission to be completely him or herself. To that end, the therapist will sometimes engage in self-disclosure, revealing uncomfortable part of him or herself, and indirectly modeling a more authentic behavior for the patient. Being positive is good. Being authentic is even better.

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I have started noticing an interesting phenomenon. Many of my friends who read my blog, are telling me they think of me now, and of the things I write before they act. And they report making small changes in their daily life, as a result. They remember to take their green bags to Whole Foods. They think twice before declaring something dirty laundry. They stop, before clicking on the Order button. They think of me, and my ramblings, and they start thinking, and acting differently. They are even becoming greener than I am.

My main interest in writing the blog was to understand how personal psychology can affect an average person like me, in relationship to making, or rather not making, the lifestyle changes that are necessary to solve the climate crisis. Hence, the goal was not to change myself necessarily, at least in the short term, or anybody else for that matter. That so much positive action has resulted, speaks to the power of confession, and of being real.

Yesterday was especially busy, and the green bags were last in my mind. The bags stayed on the door knob, and I had an interesting chat about that with the lady bagger at Whole Foods. Apparently, I am not alone. Thousands of people every day, also forget.

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