I am finding that the best way to identify the false-self is to “reverse-question” yourself.
I know that sounds confusing, but let me use a personal example.
Anna and I were talking about fashion, and likely about how I have none and how Anna has trouble helping me out (probably because I find it hard work, yet hers is brilliant and free). I had mentioned how I didn’t want to be “hipster” in my style. Of course only a guy who wears jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps most of the day explains it this way (its called ignorance). Anyway, I said that I didn’t want to end up wearing skinny jeans, skinny shoes and deep V-necks. My body and my self-esteem couldn’t handle the tightness factor, not too mention that I would look ridiculous, in my opinion.
As we dove deeper into my fight against this “style,” and Anna opened me up to this style and its connectedness to your personal body type and personal style and I realized that I actually had a prejudice of sorts to this hipster crowd and certain people I know to be hipsters. I was shocked that truly it wasn’t the clothes but the image and all the stereotypes I had collected about this “group” of people that lead to my fashion dilemma.
So then instead of making the statement, “I am not a hipster” I decided to ask a question of myself, “Do I feel the need to be a hipster?” “Is it true that I will become a hipster (and all its baggage that I have added on to it) if I wear certain clothes?” All of a sudden all this “stuff” came up. Everything from my prejudices, my insecurities, ignorance and expectations on myself.
My false-self believed it was a fashion issue, my real-self revealed to me my prejudices.
Because heaven forbid that I would ever have any problems with anyone (especially us religious types, who usually tend to make it always a God issue and nothing personal).
So what have I concluded on the issue?
My false-self has held me back (in this case the surface topic “style”) in order to uphold a belief that my true-self identified as a preconceived idea about hipsters.
And believe me, there is more where this came from…
…but there will also always be more questions to ask that can move me closer to freedom.