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Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Tell the Difference Between Your True Self and Your Everyday Self

It's important to be yourself. We're all told that, and it's true—we know the damage done by being false to ourselves and to others. But I'd like to suggest that to "be yourself" goes much deeper. Most people don't know how much wisdom and power resides in the self, which is not the everyday self that gets mixed up with all the business of life, but a deeper self, which I call, for simplicity's sake, the true self.

The true self isn't a familiar term to most people, although it is close to what religion calls your soul, the purest part of yourself. But religion depends upon faith, and that's not the issue here. You can actually test if you have such a true self. How? You know that sugar is sweet because you can taste it. Likewise, the true self has certain qualities that belong to it the way sweetness belongs to sugar. If you can experience these qualities, repeat them, learn to cultivate them and finally make them a natural part of yourself, the true self has come to life.

The trick is distinguishing what is your true self and what is not. If we had a switch that could turn off the everyday self and turn on the true self, matters would be much simpler. But human nature is divided. There are moments when you feel secure, accepted, peaceful and certain. At those moments, you are experiencing the true self. At other moments, you experience the opposite, and then you are in the grip of the everyday self, or the ego-self. The trouble is that both sides are convincing. When you feel overwhelmed by stress, crisis, doubts and insecurity, the true self might as well not exist. You are experiencing a different reality colored by the state of your mind.

At those dark, tough moments, try to get some outside perspective about what is happening. The qualities of the everyday self and the true self are actually very different:

1. The true self is certain and clear about things. The everyday self gets influenced by countless outside influences, leading to confusion.

2. The true self is stable. The everyday self shifts constantly.

3. The true self is driven by a deep sense of truth. The everyday self is driven by the ego, the unending demands of "I, me, mine."

4. The true self is at peace. The everyday self is easily agitated and disturbed.

5. The true self is love. The everyday self, lacking love, seeks it from outside sources.

7 Steps to Forgiving Yourself (or Anyone Else)

1. Responsibility

Tell yourself you will no longer assign blame for the action.

2. Feeling

Recall what the incident felt like at the time. Feel it in your body.

3. Labeling

Put an emotion to that feeling. Was it anger? Fear? Sadness?

4. Expressing

Write down what happened in the incident in the first person, then write it down as the other person. Finally, write it down as an objective 3rd person.

5. Sharing

Look at the person next to you and share your story, or share it with someone you trust.

6. Releasing

Tear (or burn) up that paper.

7. Celebrating

Stand up and celebrate the release. Maybe do a little dance.

Follow Your Spiritual Path.

There are natural stages of life and activities that suit each one:

Infancy: a dependent time, the basic needs being love, protection and nurturing

Childhood: a growing time, the basic needs being to playing, learning and physical growth

Adolescence: a transitional time, the basic needs being self-development, adapting to society and relationships outside the family

Early adulthood: a time for independence, the basic needs being deeper learning, acquiring an identity and deciding on a career

Middle adulthood: a time for increasing responsibility, the basic needs being for solid achievement, a secure family and social duty

Maturity: a time for wholeness, the basic need being to merge inner and outer life

Fulfillment: a time for wisdom, the basic need being to reconcile the deepest questions about life and death.

Get Over Your Negative Mind-set.

Any negativity in the mind must be worked through. The following stages are involved:
You face the negativity without shrinking or cringing.
You listen to what the negativity wants to tell you. You assess what you hear.
You get to the stage where you understand and at the same time feel what is inside you.
You send the negativity away and resolve it.
You atone with others as needed.
You celebrate and accept a self that no longer needs this particular bit of negativity.

Make Better Relationship Choices.

Certain obstacles are hindering you, and the list is fairly long:

Wanting to fulfill a fantasy.

Denying what is before your eyes.

Trying to reinforce a cherished self-image.

Buying into beliefs that don't fit reality.

Stubbornly insisting that your way is the right way.

Depending on others too much, or the opposite, trying to control others too much.

Acting immaturely.

Imitating your parents' relationship or the opposite, trying to have the opposite of their relationship.

Repeating the past because you distrust the future.

Projecting on to others what you cannot face inside yourself.

These are the big 10 ideas to keep in mind when it comes to relationships that repeatedly fail by falling into the same repetitive problems.