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Being True To Yourself
Being True To Yourself

“In social moments we see how estranged we are from each other.”

—Paul Tillich

Most of us are strangers to ourselves, are hiding from our real selves. Not aware that we have rejected ourselves, we live with the constant fear of rejection by others. This fear is particularly vivid in relationships where there is tremendous pressure to look good, and fulfill the endless demands of others.

Unknowingly We Create And Live From A False Self

In order to hold onto our relationships and prompted by the fear of loss, we create and live from a false self. Unknowingly, we have accepted the guidance of fear. Of course, sooner or later this backfires. The resentment and despair of living as a false self finally becomes too much to bear. Everyone needs the basic strength and resourcefulness that comes from living from and accepting the truth of who they are.

Your Real Self Has The Ability To Handle Whatever Is Going On

Living from the false self ultimately causes panic attacks, rebellious behavior, illness, anger, and other forms of protest. No matter what hardships come into your life, no matter what turn events take, if you have yourself, you also have the natural ability to handle whatever comes along. There are tremendous gifts and inner resources available when you have the courage to be who you are.

A certain Sufi was asked, “Why does that teacher over there make so many mistakes?”

The Sufi answered, “If he made no mistakes, he would be either worshipped or ignored. He makes mistakes so that people shall ask why he does what he does.”

“But what is the advantage of that?”

“The advantage is that people may see that which is behind him and not the man himself as they imagine him to be.”

—Indries Shah

Looking for a True Man or Woman

Why do we feel so compelled to wear masks, play games, and delude ourselves and others?

There is a story about Diogenes, a philosopher in Greece, who went around town with a lit candle, looking for a true human being. Most likely he had a hard time finding one. Even in times of old, the longing to find a true person, and the difficulty of doing so, was clear.

This is a fundamental example of the power fear holds in our lives, the web of lies it weaves. The pressure to conform is very great. Many people believe there is something wrong with them because they are different. They establish their value by comparing themselves with everyone else. But as you look at yourself through the eyes of others, you inevitably become a stranger to yourself.

Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of Others

Maria never felt satisfied. Whatever her husband bought her was not up to par. It didn’t compare to the gifts her friends received from their husbands. Her gifts weren’t wrapped as well, were less expensive, and seemed to be last-minute choices. Her friends’ husbands spent considerable time, money, and attention choosing their gifts, and the women received gifts more often. Little by little, this took a toll. It caused friction not only between Maria and her husband, but also between Maria and her friends. Instead of representing love to her, her husband’s gifts began to diminish her sense of self-worth. She saw them as evidence that he didn’t really care, and that she wasn’t worth much in his eyes.

Maria was entirely in the grip of her false self, perched on an identity that had to fall apart. She knew her value only by comparing herself with others. She needed gifts and other outward signs to affirm her identity. Her entire identity was externally based, dependent upon the behavior of others. The facts that her husband loved her dearly, and that she was a worthwhile and beautiful woman, were completely lost to her. What had started as a fulfilling marriage began to fall apart.

The Exercise of Self Trust

When you live from a false self, you give more credence to the responses of others than to what you feel and can learn by yourself. You accept the thoughts of others as true and doubt your own feelings and responses. In this manner, you lose contact with what is authentic and meaningful and become an easy prey for fear.

When you decide to place your trust upon what is most deep and meaningful within, self trust arises and new strength and meaning in life appears.


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