Updated: Jun 16
To find our true self would be to know the false parts as well. The true self minus the false self equals the real you. Real life does not typically work out like a simple equation. So how do we encounter our truest self and learn to extract from it the components of our false self? Lieser Counseling Services provides many approaches for self understanding and deeper awareness of the true self.
Most theories of counseling work on detecting faulty thinking rooted in past abusive or traumatic events that can distort your self understanding. In turn it can become difficult to relate in healthy integrated ways with your environment and those around you. The beauty and the challenge is that everyone is unique in this journey and no one methodology will suit the unique composition of your personality.
The idea is to learn how to have true encounters with your world and the people in it. By learning to engage with your full self (body, mind / soul, and emotions) real connections occur that lead to an increase in self esteem, confidence, and overall happiness.
Enlightenment (self understanding, living the true self) seems to be a lifelong journey of soul searching and one in which we never truly arrive during our conscious time on earth. However the good news is that by simply searching for truth we have already arrived at enlightenment. The search admits we are incomplete, that we lack "knowing" and that we have space in our minds and a willingness in our actions to learn and grow.
Self preservation at the cost of self examination prevents finding the authentic or true self. The cost of self preservation is to build walls and/or seek comfort (sometimes numbing from negative feelings with substances). It protects from discomfort of the unknown by saying I'm right and you are wrong, he is in and she is out, and if you do not agree then you must leave. The alternative is seeking true encounters that challenge our thinking and way of being. By learning alternate ideas and paths we uncover that which is more truly our own way of being and interacting in this world.
Self preservation is typically rooted in fear and fear triggers our survival instinct of fight or flight. In this posture there is no room for encounter with another nor learning deeper truths about oneself based on another's way. As Socrates is credited with saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I believe he is correct in postulating that when we do not possess the self awareness that comes from self examination than we are constantly on the run or on the defense.
The next beautiful challenge then becomes one of opening your heart and mind to true encounter. The first encounter is with yourself in therapy so that you can uncover any distorted understanding that may diminish your sense of self worth or goodness. When you can see your truth of being worthy by just being, then you can go out and have a true encounter with another. This true encounter is where peace, meaning, and deep joy are born!