How do I know the difference between the real me and the false me? That is a question asked by many, many people. I’ve been raised to be a certain me. That me knows what to do—for it’s always done it. But I have this sense of another me in there, who feels differently about what I do, how I think and even some of my emotions. I can learn to get in touch with the real me and begin to live from that. But it usually takes a crisis.
And right now, in America, we are having several crises all at once, which offer us the opportunity to begin to live from something far more real. We are having a health crisis in the pandemic, an economic crisis, a crisis of race relations in which it has become apparent how biased we are and how much people of color and black people have had to tolerate, a political crisis, and a climate crisis. Each of these individually and all of these collectively are offering us an opportunity to look at the collective shadow of American consciousness and become more real in response to that observation.
For example, because we are forced now to respond to our health as a national crisis, we could use this time to look at how we have always responded to the health needs of the people of this nation. As with all shadow work, we would have to ask some difficult questions. How many people can be treated at once in our hospitals? Who gets treated the best? Why? Why are some people unable to get their health needs met while others can afford the best care? What beliefs set up our system of health care as it currently operates? Are these beliefs really true? Is this the best we can do to care for our citizens?
If we sit with our own emotional responses to these questions, we might realize that there is a whole other reality within us that could be manifested externally. We could change the way this nation responds to the health needs of its citizens by starting with our own hearts—and thereby responding with a more psychologically and spiritually accurate behavior.
And that’s how it works on an individual basis as well. We’ve all been raised in certain environments that are structured around a set of beliefs that the significant people within those environments operated under. Those beliefs run the lives of our significant others, and if we wish to belong in that group of significant others called family, we generally feel pressured to conform to the belief system required to fit in to that family. Further, each individual within that system generally has some unfinished psychological business which is then easily projected onto the children in that family. And the children, because they need desperately to belong in this family, cannot avoid introjecting these projections and identifying with them. Thus, the children become the people these projections command.
We give up our authenticity to become these projections. You’re a bad kid. You’re a good kid. You are the golden child. You are the scapegoat, the runaway, the victim, the bully, etc., etc., etc. Each of these identities has a specific way of acting and interacting with life. And we tend to believe that we actually ARE these identities.
But what if these identities are just masks and costumes we’ve put on in order to get to belong to this family? A crisis can come along that reveals that fact to us. Perhaps an illness, a car accident, a failure, a divorce, a loss of some kind—these and more are all crises that are also opportunities to become aware of that mask and costume and the authentic self hiding beneath it.
When we have a crisis we tend to more easily get in touch with authentic emotions. Those emotions, if we sit with them and listen to their messages, can often tell us who we really are, under all the action, reaction and interaction that makes up the false me.
Are you in a crisis right now? This is the perfect time to start getting in touch with your own authenticity. Who are you really? Who have you acted like? Do you really even believe your own beliefs? Do you really appreciate your own actions, reactions and interactions? We are not measuring these according to what’s seen as good or bad, but by what really resonates as truth within you. What rings true within you? What do you really want to be doing with your life? These questions and honest answers can restart your life in a way that is much more meaningful to you on a daily basis.
You may also find this article on Psychology Today at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/traversing-the-inner-terrain/202010/real-mefalse-me