My False Self and True Self

I used to struggle with social anxiety, immense shame, depression, perfectionism, people pleasing and staying focused, just to name a few.
 
Everyday was a struggle and felt like a chore, a grind and an obligation–life felt like something I “had to” do.
 
I had to get up because I had a mortgage to pay, a son I didn’t want to see my weaknesses only to follow in my footsteps and a wife I didn’t want to see my fears and have her lose respect for me as “the man of the household.”
 
Just waking up felt like it took almost all my resources and for the rest of the day I would reluctantly put on a happy face.
 
The first 1/2 hour of my day would be spent projecting the worst case scenario (anxiety), endlessly reprocessing past hurts (resentment) and thinking about other people who had it better than me (envy).
 
I was literally everywhere but the present moment, full of fear, feeling isolated and like an outcast.
 
Richard Rohr defines transformation as a series of necessary humiliations and boy was I humiliated…especially since I was coaching people through similar issues; I was inherently plagued with imposter syndrome.
 
When your natural resources run high and dry, you don’t have many options: You either 1. choose to throw in the towel or 2. become resourceful to find a different way forward.
 
Thankfully I chose the latter…I chose faith, I chose courage and I chose love even though I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
 
I discovered a paradigm referred to as the True/False Self, explored extensively by Donald Winnicott from a psychoanalytical perspective and Carl Jung from what I would consider a more spiritual perspective and taught by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who brilliantly integrates these perspectives and it was a game changer.
 
All of a sudden, I was able to see the “part” of me that was struggling and it was entirely my False Self. I was finally able to make better sense of it all. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel broken, worthless and full of shame.
 
Once I was able to align myself with my True Self, I found all of the resources (creativity, decisiveness, planning) I needed to get where I am today because my worth was no longer on the line.
 
As a result, I’ve transitioned my personal training/soft tissue therapy practice into MindBodySpirit laboratory that aims to teach people how to connect with their inherent worthiness, to say YES to themselves and to live on purpose and it’s the best risk I’ve ever taken and decision I’ve ever made.
 
I share this all because I often write about worthiness, accepting reality and living out your values and I want everyone to know I never had it all together, the journey was never smooth sailing and today, I’m still incredibly far from perfect and I’m able to celebrate my human nature.
 
The only thing I can ask is if this post has resonated with you in any way, please share it as there are A LOT of hurting people in this world and particularly right inside of your news feed, who need to hear stories of hope, of courage and of joy.
 
Make it a great day and a worthy weekend! Be well.

The courage to be imperfect

I’ve been writing a lot on worthiness because when you connect to the totally unearned, grace gift of worthiness, it divinely solves so many of the problems we face…one of which is perfectionism.

Brene Brown perfectly defined perfectionism as a 20-ton shield we use to protect ourselves from being judged, particularly in areas we feel vulnerable to shame and feeling “not enough.”

Once you connect the dots that “you were born worthy” and nothing can or ever will change that truth, it equips you with the courage to be imperfect, which is the bravery to be human.

Once you’re human, you’re relatable, available and dare I say, lovable. Then, and only then are you participating in and connected to the perfectly imperfect nature of reality.

 

“You are imperfect and you are wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging.” Brene Brown

The link between effort, outcome and AA

When Bill Wilson developed what would later become the 12-Step Program or Alcoholics Anonymous, even though his program was working for himself, keeping him free from his addiction to alcohol, it was not so well received by others.

He would work extensively with his “friends” to help them break the bonds of alcoholism, only to have them fall back into familiar patterns, time and again.

Though many would have seen this initiative as a failure, Bill decided to measure success by his desire and willingness to share it, not by whether it was well received or not.

This highlights such a crucial consideration in the change process that effort is so much more important than the outcome. Effort, in fact, was within his control, while the outcome was not and he kept focused on action instead of reaction—brilliant!

Bill’s growth mentality led to one of the greatest spiritual contributions our society has ever known all because he believed he was worthy of the effort it took to create a different way forward.

“To the world you may be one person but to one person, you may be the world.” Bill Wilson

The downside to prioritizing other’s happiness

Prioritizing other peoples’ happiness ahead of your own is a cascade of frustration, disappointment and resentment waiting to happen.
Why?
Because there’s an underlying expectation that they’ll do the same for you.
The Unworthy Self has a dualistic mind, it’s plagued by all-or-none thinking and operates with a tit-for-tat mentality and since it lacks inner abundance, expectations towards self and others always runs high.
The “others-happiness” mechanism creates codependent relationships (makes you feel needed) and simultaneously reduces the other parties ability to create their own happiness. A lose-lose situation.
The only way to heal from this disease is to contemplate your own inherent worthiness and surrender to your egoic needs for control.
No one has ill intentions here, this is simply the manifestation of a lack of worthiness…it’s a big deal.

How to feel worthy without the struggle, seriously

We’re all born worthy of love and belonging as we’re an expression of and connected to the Source of peace, love and joy. In other words, we never had to earn our worth as babies/children, we were just worthy because we were alive. Then, somewhere along the way, we’ve all had experiences that told us otherwise: that we’re not cool enough, smart enough, attractive enough, etc.
 
At a young age, we lack the emotional maturity and abstraction to see the events of our lives as separate from our divine identity and as a result, we move ourselves into an inferior position and place an unworthy label upon ourselves.
 
Insert hustle and grind…
 
From this position, the question we continuously and constantly ask ourselves is: What do I have to do in order to become/feel: worthy, important, significant, appreciated and lovable? The answer inevitably becomes: people pleasing, perfectionism, six-pack abs, material possessions, achievements, intelligence, the perfect diet, social media likes, our bank account and the list goes on and on.
 
Unfortunately, each time we invest in something outside of ourselves (extrinsically) to prove our worth (intrinsically), ironically, it reduces our worth even more because happiness is an inside job. Furthermore, once we “get there/achieve it,” we realize we still don’t like ourselves and get to thinking: Why would anyone else like me if I don’t like me? People live their whole lives this way and it’s a perpetuating, vicious and depressing cycle.
 
The good news is you don’t have to do anything to become worthy BECAUSE YOU ALREADY ARE WORTHY! All you’ve got to do is observe it, recognize it as pure gift and accept it. That’s it—are you willing to accept that there’s nothing you can do today or ever that will make you any more worthy than you are in this very moment?
 
From a worthiness consciousness, we can finally rest inside of our being, extend forgiveness to those who have betrayed us, exchange compassion for criticism, lower the unrealistic expectations we place upon ourselves and others and wake up saying YES to each day.
 
I hope this is the best news of your life as it was for me. Please, don’t do anything to become worthy, instead, do things to express your worthiness. Make it a worthy weekend!
 
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Understanding feedback loops to reduce anger/anxiety

If you’ve experienced anxiety, then experientially, you understand what a feedback loop is. Knowing how they work can help you reduce pain and emotional suffering.

Event–>Thought–>Emotion

Your boss lays into you at work–>What an a$#@ole–>anger, shame, spite

The activating event is out of your control—it’s life. Your thoughts are mostly automatic though you can choose to reframe the experience you just had. Your emotions are a response relative to how you interpret the event.

There are two sides to emotions: feelings and sensations. The feelings of anger, shame and spite trigger the stress response; leading to a rapid heart rate, shallow breathing and increased tension. The physiological response to stress then triggers additional protective thoughts, thus intensifying the stress response and before you know it, you’re inside of a full-blow anxiety attack and/or all out rage.

The key here is not to address the anxiety or even the anger, those just the symptoms. The key here is to inject your self into the feedback loop. The first and most important step is to realize you’re in the middle of this cognitive-emotional whirlwind. Then, pause, step back and rather than trying to interpret the event, become an observer of your mind and you may notice: I’m offended and angry because my boss is having a bad day. This level of perspective is what starts to break the cycle and lessen its intensity.

Last, ask: Which part of me is upset…my True Self or my false self? At this point, the answer is clear that the insecure part of you is hurt and your True nature, which is largely unoffendable is unscathed and still living inside of peace. Believe it or not, your True Self has the courage and substance to practice empathy and extend passion to its “boss.”

Albert Einstein said: “No problem can be solved from the consciousness that created it.” In other words, your false self cannot solve its own problems…only a True change of consciousness is equipped to do that.