How Carl Jung Knew If Someone Was Living Authentically?

4 min read

Education & Career Trends: May 4, 2023
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
-Carl Jung

  • Article by Andy Murphy, published on

Carl Jung had a keen eye for the truth, especially when it came to understanding people’s psyches. One of his biggest passions in life was to see where each person’s source of inspiration came from. And there were only ever two options: inside or outside.

He reasoned that those who seek it within could awaken to their truest potential. Those who seek it without, on the other hand, would often turn to the outside world for validation.

Here is how he described it in his own words:

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

Carl Jung

The author of ‘Conversations With God’, Neale Donald Walsch, put it another way:

“If you don’t go within, you go without”

How to Live an Authentic Life

Living authentically means and looks different to every person.

There are no comparisons, nothing is looking to be anything other than itself or asking permission to do so, and everything is fully in the present moment.

A bonsai tree, for example, doesn’t look at an oak tree and wishes to be as big or as strong. It is simply bonsai’s to the best of its ability.

This, in its simplest form, is living an authentic life.

“You don’t need to be better than any one else. You just need to be better than you used to be”

Wayne Dyer

For Carl Jung, he saw this journey toward becoming starting with an inward dive. One that explores the subconscious mind and looks at all the things that might hold us back. That’s why he said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

In other words, we can only be true selves once we discover all the things that hold us back.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”


This can come from childhood trauma, personality traits, or social pressure. But whatever it is, until we acknowledge their existence, they can work away under the surface and block our authentic selves from shining in the world.

What to choose?

There is no right or wrong way.

If you live in the beauty of the outside world, there will be a million and one adventures to go on. On the other hand, there will be a whole cosmos to explore if you go within.

My own personal preference is to dance somewhere in the middle. To sit in meditation and go on wild road trips. To keep my eyes gently closed while I breathe a kaleidoscopic universe to life and keep my eyes wide open so I can witness the beauty all around me.

An excellent exercise I use to help me here is the practice of 50/50. It works on the principle that both our internal experience and our external environment are of equal importance because both combine to make up our perception of reality.

My external environment might be a conversation I’m having with a friend or a task I’m completing at work. My internal experience might be observing an emotion, sensation, or thought that’s arising in my body. Whatever it might be, the goal is to keep 50% of my awareness of both worlds simultaneously.

If 50/50 feels too much, try 70/30 instead or 80/20. Even 90/10 works wonderfully. As long as some of your awareness remains on both worlds, the percentage split doesn’t really matter.

So, as with all things in life, find your way, connect to your truth, and honour your needs.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you truly are”

Carl Jung

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

Should You Act to Achieve Your Goals or Manifest Them?

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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