Many words and phrases have been used to describe the true self, and while these differences do exist, they are simply labels. Underneath these labels is the same thing, and this relates to someone’s true needs and wants.
The true self has been portrayed as something that is fixed, and based on this, one simply needs to let go of what doesn’t serve them. Through doing this, one will gradually begin to realise their true self.
And in some ways this outlook would be accurate: letting go of what is not true is the only way for one to embrace what is true. However, to see the true self as something that is fixed would not be accurate.
This is because change is part of life and what is true for someone at one point in their life is not necessarily going to be true at another point. A more accurate way of seeing the true self then, would be to say that not only does someone have to find it, they also have to stay in contact with its ever evolving nature.
It is then not something that one must find and that’s the end of it; it is something that one must connect with and listen to for the rest of their life. It’s an active process, and just because one has formed a connection to their true self at one stage in their life, it doesn’t mean that their true self will be the same in a few years time.
There could be minor differences, with one staying more or less the same or this could relate to someone who’s needs and wants have changed dramatically. And this could be due to: a change in career, the birth of a child, through moving to a new country or through completing a certain goal or project for instance.
Stages Of Life
As a child, one is going to have certain needs and wants. And as they grow up, some of these needs and wants are going to change. This will be the case when they become teenagers and then when they enter their twenties and thirties and so on.
This is a natural part of human development. If one had the same needs and wants as an adult, as they did as a child, there is the chance that they will be unable to fulfil their adult needs and wants. They might not even be aware of what they are, let alone be able to fulfil them.
Just because someone looks like an adult, it doesn’t mean they feel like one. There is the chance that ones emotional development has been curtailed and this could make it difficult for them to know what they want and need.
The only needs and wants they are aware of, or the ones that have the strongest impact on their life, could be their childhood needs and wants. And these could be needs and wants that other adults cannot meet, and therefore need to be grieved for example.
This shows that one can be out of touch with their true needs and wants as a result of a less than nurturing or abusive childhood. What this kind of upbringing can also do is cause one to only feel safe when they are fulfilling other people’s needs and wants.
And if pleasing others is what feels safe, even though it will mean that one will have to deny their own needs and wants, there will be very little that they can do about it. Through this, one will gradually have to form a mask or a pseudo self and all because this is what will allow them to survive.
The love they get will not be for who they really are, it will be for the person their caregivers want them to be. So one has two options, they can either wear a mask in order to be accepted and approved of or they can be themselves and end up being harmed, abandoned and rejected.
This is not to say that one won’t be harmed, abandoned or rejected through wearing a mask, it is just that it increases their chances of survival. At this age, it is clear that they only have one option - and that is to wear a mask.
Through being brought up to meet the needs and wants of others, one can learn that this is the only way for them to survive. And should they follow their own needs and wants, they could feel that their survival is under threat.
So all the time that one has these associations in place, it is going to be a challenge for them to embrace their true wants and needs. To embrace them, could cause one to feel that they will be: rejected, abandoned and that they will die.
These associations can be made up of beliefs and trapped emotions. So through changing these beliefs and releasing the trapped emotions in one’s body, one will gradually begin to feel safe.
One can be assisted here by a therapist or a healer. We are all different, and so what works for one person, might not work for another.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, 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.