Several famous psychologists have written about the existence of an ‘authentic self’. Notably, Carl Rogers used this term as marker for when one has achieved psychological health. Donald Winnicott also spoke of the ‘true self/false self’ dilemma. He believed that ‘true self’ actually produces a feeling for people– a sense of rightness, or ‘this is me’. Something about this notion has always attracted me, both as a person and as a psychologist. Many of my overachieving clients seem to be struggling with being themselves, in a world replete with social norms and customs that can feel impossible to meet. In Denmark, the pressure for a couple (straight, gay or otherwise) to have a baby in their thirties, complete with a monster-pram, is something that I have noticed taking a toll on many people in my practice. I’m sure you can think of many unspoken rules and norms in society that also pressure people to be someone other than their authentic self.
I ran across the following article that looks at modern day pressures young people face. Enjoy.
False Self Syndrome