Part 11 How You Create a Self
How You Create a Self?
There are two aspects to the self, the universal and the personal. They both must be respected if you are to be happy and free. During childhood, the self can be created in healthy or unhealthy ways. The development happens so naturally that we soon began to realize we are different and separate from our parents.
All this is normal as we grow and develop and are influenced by our immediate environment. Nevertheless, as we grow and mature, we begin to see ourselves in relationship to others in healthy or unhealthy ways through two processes.
The first self-view takes experiences as I, me, or mine. As a child, I created a self-based on feelings of unworthiness and being unlovable. After that, all my experiences mirrored this back to me. The second self-view is a compared view, which evaluates the sense of self as better than, worse than, or equal to others. This identification repeatedly happens whenever we hold our feelings, thoughts, and perceptions as me or mine during roles we play. I lived in the darkness and shadow of a true self.
Mindfulness allowed me to see what was invisible in the experience and investigate my feelings without judgement. I’ll introduce this step later. I saw how identification with the tentative and impermanent nature of the experience created suffering. I had to learn how to release my mind from this hurt.
While I was experiencing the pain of not feeling loved or valued, I looked to the clouds, and imagined I was floating on the lining with lightness and calm. This helped me release myself from the limiting beliefs that I was unlovable. These thoughts were created in very young mind too inexperienced to evaluate adult behavior. The less we cling to our beliefs, the happier we will be.
What I would want for you is to develop a self that is independent of the thoughts you have and the story you tell yourself. Learn to observe your thoughts without getting lost in them. Let go of the idea that you must believe every thought you have.
Walk into a situation with openness and abundance and the entire world opens. You will be able to see clearly which direction to take. On the other hand, if you have a pre-conceived notion of how things should go and if they do not you cling then suffering will ensue. Let go of the image you have of the self and you will experience fear, but a greater person will emerge, your true self. When we marry, we let go of being single. When our children leave home, we let go of managing their lives.
Another way we identify is by seeing ourselves as members of an ethnic group, religion, tribe, caste, and class. While searching for an understanding of self, do not ask about class, race, or birth. Instead, ask about heart and conduct. We can examine our self -image, our tribe, and our roles and acknowledge they are tentative. We can learn to honor them without becoming lost in the role.