The True Self
We hear a lot nowadays about our "true self." It's a concept that writers and talk show hosts are showering a lot of attention on and they seem to be finding a big audience with it as well. It gets you thinking about the idea when Oprah is extolling its virtues and everyone you know is chit-chatting about it amongst themselves. And it made me wonder what is the true self and is it attainable for everyone? Or is it just another self help fad that will go the way of the dinosaur as soon as someone comes up with a better sounding slogan?
I am not the kind of person to believe anything just because someone else tells me about it. I have to do my own research, come to my own conclusions, and then make a decision based on the facts I've studied. So it is with the True Self. I gave the matter a lot of thought and read as much as about it as I could. I started comparing the tenents of this concept with my own life and my own journey toward becoming the person I want to be, and I discovered a lot of similarities. I also discovered some big differences too.
We all reach a point in our lives when we become unsure of what the next step should be. Where are we going? Why are we here? Did we get to this phase in our life entirely because of the choices we've made in the past, or did the actions of others add to the result that we are now living? What can we do to undo some of the past mistakes we've made?
Deep questions? Well, yes and no. Common sense should play a big part in the choices we make as we move forward in our future. Unfortunately, some folks aren't blessed with a satisfactory amount of common sense. They let their emotions run the show too much of the time. They've never learned to stand back from a situation and take a moment to fully absorb what's going on, why things are as they've become, and what should the next immediate step be to get to a higher level of understanding. You see, if you can understand why a circumstance is the way it is, you can make informed decisions on how to cope with it. Understanding plays a huge part in our ability to function in life.
Ego is another facet of our personality that often interferes with the effective decision making skills that life requires. I see too many people motivated by their egos who don't stop to think about what their choices are going to mean to anyone else. They also don't give pause to the situation at hand and look ahead to what the results of an egotistical decision might be for themselves. They are far too concerned with "the moment" and how they're going to look to others if they don't do or say the most personally useful thing as soon as possible.
Why is this the case? It is because so many people don't fully understand what their ego is and what it should be. Your ego is not there to serve you in your quest to get ahead, to look "better," or to feel superior. No, it's not. Your ego is the vision you have of the "you" you'd like to be. Ego is not the reality of who or what you are. People with inflated egos usually wind up looking like fools to those in their immediate circles because they put themselves above their peers, above their circumstances, and they choose to ignore parts of whatever is going on that don't serve them well at the time. People who are in control of their egos are the ones who can remain calm, remain focused, and make choices based on common sense, understanding, and what the most immediate choice should be for them. These are the people who have learned to step back from their egos and realize what is really there and what they wish was there. That is the key to developing a healthy ego.
Getting down to your True Self is a process that involves your ability to strip away the influences of your life. You have to learn how to lay pride aside, to get a handle on your emotions, and to put your ego in its proper place if you want to understand yourself. We all have desires and dreams, goals and plans, fantasies and realities. It's easy to know one from the other. Personal contentment is incumbent upon knowing what to do with our feelings. Our emotions are far too complex to be understood in a short space of time. Mostly, we have to come to the realization of what drives our emotions in order to control them. It's a matter of proacting over reacting. You simply have to know yourself before you can live peacefully with the person that is you.
Peace is a big fraction of our True Self. We inherently want to be at peace with our lives and those we include in it. I know so many people who aren't at peace with themselves and who don't know how to deal with emotions that arise from things that happened sometimes years in the past. They hold their psychological injuries close to the surface and they let almost anything that happens exacerbate wounds that should have healed a long time ago. They just don't have the personal insight it takes to coexist with a world that really doesn't care all that much about its inhabitants. So they go through life angry, hurt, and doing whatever they can to bring attention to themselves because it is the attention they crave more than the hurt that they feel. They act out to get that attention. They think they have to stand up and beat on their chests and shout loudly in order to be heard, to be seen, to be taken seriously. Sadly, these actions usually have the opposite effect.
So how do you get peace? I'll share something with you that I think Oprah Winfrey put better than anybody else I've heard lately who spoke on this subject.
You find peace by making it.
This usually entails forgiving people who've hurt us. And what is the secret to forgiveness? It lies in accepting that nothing you can do will change what happened in the past, and when you can come to this realization you'll stop wishing and hoping that things - whatever they were - could have turned out differently than they did. You will let the past be the past because it doesn't exist anymore. And how can you successfully cope with a reality that is no longer there?
The True Self is your own inner voice. It's that whisper you get in your mind when you aren't sure about something. It's who you are, not who you want to be. It's the place where peace, understanding, and ego reside, in their purest manifestations, controlled and at our disposal rather than vice versa. It's who you see when you look in the mirror. It's who you are when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. It's the person you were when you were born and it's that same person you'll be, no matter what you accomplish in your life, when you take your last breath.
Think about that and then begin your own journey toward finding your True Self. You'll find that once you get down to the core of "you," you can achieve anything.