There are times when self-worth is not an issue for me. I don’t think about it. I confidently do whatever I need to do. I feel self-assured. These times I am not thinking about myself. I am doing, serving, being, enjoying the moment. Other times I feel filled with insecurity and feelings of unworthiness. At these times, I become self-focused and see all of the things I don’t like about myself. I can feel depressed and hopeless — the opposite of inspired.
I used to believe the insecure me was the real me, and the other one was fake. What I now know is they are both fake, in that they are transitory. Neither the confident me, nor the insecure me, are real because they will both come and go depending on my mood and what my thoughts are. It is amazing how quickly I try to define myself and pin myself down, when the “me” of the personality does not exist. The real me is both and more. The real me is the wholeness of my divinity of which the human experience is but a part.
As humans it is natural for us to make interpretations and create meaning. We try to simplify by categorizing ourselves and others. We create boxes to fit into, but all of the categories we create describe a personality that does not exist. I am not against the use of models or generalizations. They have value in navigating the complexity of life, but it is important to remember these constructs are made up. They are not real.
When we recognize our personality is a figment of our imagination, it shows us how powerful our imagination is, and points to the infinite potential of how change is possible in an instant. There is a profound difference between believing: I am an insecure person, and believing: I feel insecure from time to time. The first defines us and will be a self-generated limitation we will live into. The second recognizes we are not our thoughts or our feelings even though we experience them. It gives us the freedom to experience whatever we feel in the moment without it defining us. This frees up tremendous energy because we no longer have to manage our emotional experience, and leaves us more space to feel and express our formless, loving essence.
When we get scared by our emotional experience, it is because we believe our feelings mean something. For example, I feel insecure so that means I am not good enough. If I still have some fight in me, I will do everything I can to eliminate these feelings by improving my “self” and overcoming insecurity. The trouble with this is I would be working on improving perceived frailties that are based on a misunderstanding, and working on improving them only makes them feel more real.
I asked one of the therapists I supervise, “If you have a client who is feeling anxious because they believe there is an angry dragon sitting in the corner of the room, do you want to help your client manage their anxiety about the dragon or help them see the dragon is not real?” To my surprise the therapist chose the option of helping the client to reduce their anxiety about the imaginary dragon. This made me realize how powerless many people feel when confronted with their beliefs. The therapist did not see how to help someone free themselves from the distortion of their thinking. He thought the hypothetical client would be stuck with their delusion so at least he could help the client use techniques to make living with the imaginary dragon less stressful. However, what I was pointing to is that freedom from suffering comes from waking up from the hallucination and knowing we are safe.
This is also true when it comes to our perceived frailties and weaknesses. Our personality is a hallucination. It is as real as we make it. We can spend a lot of time analyzing why we have certain personality traits. We can spend even more time learning techniques on how to manage those personality traits, but the freedom lies in seeing that the personality is not real. It is not who we truly are. If something is not real, we no longer identify with it, and we certainly don’t need to worry about it.
If I am stressed out by a perceived angry dragon in the corner, and then learn that my feelings of stress are coming from my thoughts about the angry dragon, and the dragon itself is not real, my stress goes away. If I feel insecure, because I perceive myself as shy and judge myself as not good enough, and then find out that my insecurity is the result of my thoughts that mistakenly believe my worth is dependent on my behavior, I no longer identify with those thoughts. My insecurity goes away when I see the thoughts aren’t true, and I recognize that unworthiness can only ever be an illusion. The truth is there is no such thing as unworthiness. We are all whole, complete, and perfect exactly as we are.
When I see that no matter how insecure I feel, there is nothing to stress about because it is always based on a misperception, my anxiety goes away. This helps me to become more accepting of the downs of my human experience and better able to relax in the lows. That way I can be open to receive new, fresh, thoughts that help me to see beyond the limiting beliefs of my ego’s creation, and better able to experience the unconditioned thinking that is more closely aligned to the wisdom of my formless, true nature. Thoughts that more accurately reflect the divinity behind my human experience.
Any thought that creates a negative feeling is delusional. The easier it is for us to see this, the less stressful life is. It doesn’t mean we won’t have hallucinations of unworthiness and feel insecure when we believe them, but when we know they are temporary and that we will wake up from eventually, it allows us to more easily get on with enjoying our lives as we participate in the process of awakening to our true nature.