Over the years, the true self has been used to describe ones true nature and who they really are. On the other hand, the false self represents all that is not true and is made up of illusions.
And while deep down one may want to embrace their true self; it is often far from easy and the world generally discourages one from doing so. So this means that very few people take the time or make the effort to know their true self and therefore reveal it to others.
For if this was easy or if we lived in a world that encouraged one to do so, then there would be no need to hide ones true self. It would be revealed from the very beginning and allowed to blossom over time.
One of the greatest needs that one can have is the need to be accepted. And while this is often classed as an ego need and one that doesn’t reflect a true need; it can nevertheless have a big impact on ones behaviour.
It is a need that can highjack ones real needs and cause one to become consumed and controlled by the need to please others. And this can lead to one wearing what are often described as masks.
These are elements of the false self and enable one to gain the acceptance of other people. There are all types of masks that one can wear and this will usually depend on what the context is.
Who one believes they need to be to gain acceptance, will also play a big impact here. For some people it will be important to come across as being a certain way and for others it may well be another way.
One may have worn one type of mask for their whole life and this means that they may not even realise that they are wearing a mask. It has become so much a part of their life, that it has gone unnoticed.
There are many masks that one can wear and some of these can be:
· To always appear happy
· To pretend that one is perfect
· To try to always look good
· To come across as having everything together
· To always appear as a success
· To always please others
A Deeper Look
Although the above examples are clearly not practical or even possible; they are there for a reason. Here one can believe that they won’t be accepted unless they have them. And if the people in their life only accept them for wearing these masks, then it may well be the case.
However, if another person only likes who one is due to the mask that they wear, then they are probably not worth having in one’s life. But what is deeper than what is going on externally, is what is going on within. It is based on what is going on within that will define how one interprets the outside world.
So if ones interpretation of life is that they need to wear a mask to be approved of, then they will attract situations and people that validate this truth. This will then be how reality is perceived.
On the inside is likely to be a sense that it’s not safe for one to be who they really are. This may be something one is conscious or it may just be out of one’s conscious awareness. And by gaining the approval and acceptance of certain people, one will be able to regulate these inner fears.
Through doing this it will lead to one feeling safe, the challenge is that although one my feel safe, if they are wearing a mask it is unlikely to lead to much else. To the ego mind it is being interpreted as familiar and therefore safe. And as far as the ego goes, that is all that matters.
But what is being classed as familiar and therefore safe may have no real relevance to ones happiness or fulfilment. The associations may have also been created many years ago and when one was very young.
Here one may have primarily been approved of when they pleased other people and did what they wanted. Their needs, wants, desires, preferences, feelings and thoughts would have been dismissed or ignored.
Although this can happen as an adult, it is often the younger years that have the biggest influence. As a child one is vulnerable and dependent on their caregivers. So at this age one would not have much control and would desperately seek the approval and appetence of the people around them.
If this meant denying who they were, then so be it. The thought of whether one was being true to themselves would have been irrelevant. As long as one was accepted, that’s all that mattered.
During this time it was a matter of survival and as an adult one generally has more control over their life. And yet the ego mind will likely can cause one to view life in the same way. At first it may have been ones parents who one had to please and as an adult it could then be ones friends or colleagues for example.
Although this was in the past and happened many years ago, to the mind it is what is classed as familiar and safe. So consciously it will create pain and suffering, but at a deeper level it feels comfortable.
If the mind has associated pleasing others as being familiar, then fear will be triggered should one go against pleasing them. To listen to oneself and go against others will be interpreted as death by the mind.
How strong these fears are, will define what one needs to do to let go of the past meanings. This could be a therapist, healer or a coach. Or becoming aware of certain patterns and then changing them may be enough.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.