I recently joined a group that meets once a month to practice mindfulness. This intersection between psychology and spirituality has always been interesting to me. The more I use it in my own life, the easier it becomes to explain and teach to my clients, as well.
Saturday afternoon we gathered for another group and watched a segment from a video that accompanies Tony D’Souza’s book, “Discovering Awareness”. The segment we watched talked about the difference between the “false self” and “true self”. The false self, as I understood it, is rooted in conditional statements of self-worth such as, “I am worthwhile because I am well liked” or “I am worthwhile if I get all As”. The problem with such beliefs is that they are rooted in fear and lead to rigid thinking. They make our self-worth conditional on the belief always being true. If we discover, for instance, that someone doesn’t like us or that we got a B on a test, then our self-worth is thrown into question. The point of mindfulness, then, is to look beyond the false self to the TRUE SELF underneath. The true self knows that “I am worthwhile because I am.” Or, you may say, “I am worthwhile because I am a child of God.”
I had the opportunity to practice tuning into my true self on Sunday. I had been asked to speak to my church congregation during the usual sermon time. I had planned for weeks, prayed about what to say, and practiced it often. But my false beliefs kept popping up — “I am worthwhile if I’m well-liked…articulate… understood…accepted…respected…etc.” Those beliefs made it difficult to not be fearful of my presentation — “If my words aren’t well-received, understood, accepted, or articulate, I am not worthwhile.” Thankfully, my true self was there underneath: “I am worthwhile because I am. I do not have to do, say, or be anything to be worthwhile.” It didn’t make my anxiety go away completely, but it certainly helped.
What are your “false self” beliefs? Take notice of them this week and begin to practice letting go of them one moment at a time.
Peace, joy, and health,