Feelings of awe may motivate us to become our “authentic” selves

Feelings of awe may motivate us to become our “authentic” selves

When was the last time you felt awesome?

How about the last time you saw or experienced awesomeness?

Do you even know where those words come from? What “awe” really means?

Because you should! You should feel this way and understand this experience!

Awe is super important; and it can contribute to thriving and flourishing in ways too many don’t fully appreciate.

But if you’d like to learn more, check out this great article by Emma Young via the BPS …

Awe has to be one of the hottest emotions in psychological research. Here at the Digest, we’ve covered all kinds of recent work on everything from the benefits of awe walks to the mixed emotion of threat-awe. Now a new paper argues that awe “awakens self-transcendence”, helping people to get closer to their true, “authentic” self.

Awe is often defined as the feeling you get when you’re in the presence of something vast that challenges your view of the world, and your place in it. The “authentic self” is who you truly are — taking into account your goals, aspirations and values.

Tonglin Jiang at Peking University and Constantine Sedikides report no fewer than 14 studies on a total of more than 4,400 people in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes. In early studies, they found that a person’s level of predisposition to feeling awe (to “feeling wonder” almost every day, for example) was linked to how much they wanted to get closer to their authentic self. This was assessed using a scale that measured “authentic-self pursuit”.

In another study, the pair tried encouraging feelings of awe in some of their participants, by using images of the Northern Lights, for example, as well as by getting them to remember times in their lives when they perceived vastness and adjusted their worldview as a result. They found that people in this group had higher scores on the authentic-self pursuit scale than a control group who had seen scenes of daily life. They interpret this as suggesting that the experience of awe encourages a desire to get closer to the authentic self.

Jiang and Sedikides then explored potential links with self-transcendence — feeling an expansion or dissolution of the hard boundary of the self, and a sense of unity with the wider world; this can have spiritual connotations, though it does not have to. In studies on Chinese and also American participants, the pair found that people with higher dispositional awe also had greater self-transcendence scores — and this helped to explain why these people showed a stronger pursuit of the authentic self. (This was especially true for the Chinese participants, they note.)

… keep reading the full & original article HERE