In the quest for meaning and self-fulfillment, the interior of one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires and interpretations is surely where it all begins.
As my colleague, David Heard, says, you have to be as true to yourself as you can possibly be. If you are doing something for other people’s approval, how can it make you happy?!
You may have heard people talk about wishing to be true to themselves, or you may say or think such things yourself. So can we define this rather fluffy notion of being true to oneself into something clear enough that we can get an effective, useful, powerful handle on it? Yes, we can!
Being true to oneself simply means interpreting one’s own interior truthfully, which means being honest with oneself about one’s own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires and other interior elements. This is an ongoing variable; sometimes we are, sometimes we aren’t. It is also something we can manage.
What determines this, is how much of what is known as ‘Shadow’ elements we have stored in our subconscious. You may know this more conventionally as ‘baggage’… If you know a person who rarely smiles, they might have quite a lot.
We each experience varying amounts of criticism and judgement as we grow up – simply for being us! This might be experiences from our family environment, from our peers, from the culture we live in, and so on, which may have caused us to suppress or deny our true self. However, on the plus side, we may also remove our Shadow elements by working on them, by working to heal and weed out our negative and false self thoughts, by noticing when we are unfulfilled with what we are doing or at odds with ourself.
“Success without fulfillment is nothing.”
Our Shadow gives us a false or confused sense of self in terms of what we truly desire, think and feel.
So we now have the first of the part of our Model of Personal Development and Global Change. Uncovering and bringing light to any Shadow elements brings benefits.
Minimising the baggage we create – creating a loving society
Shadow elements, or ‘Baggage’, can be created at virtually every stage of life. This means that they both exist, and can be added to – both of which, of course, we want to minimise.
So not only might we wish to remove our Shadow elements, it is also relevant that we may care to do two other things;
We may care to avoid allowing other things to cause us to suppress our truths, which would create more Shadow baggage for ourselves, and we may care to avoid causing hurt that may create supression and baggage for others, encouraging a culture that maximises its love, self-acceptance and acceptance of others, and grows in awareness of such things.
False self does indeed create an unfathomable amount of human pain and suffering – depression, unhappiness and lack of fulfillment being only the most obvious.
This means that it is highly influencial if we are kind to, and supportive of, ourselves and others. Of course, it is equally influential if we are not.
Did you ever get frustrated that your vote didn’t count? Well, if you think that we each have 65,000 thoughts every day, that is 65,000 opportunities to influence ourselves and others with thoughts, acts and decisions of love, kindness and honouring. And that really is something you can watch visibly changing the world. The results are always immediately observeable.
Note also that all suppressed Shadow elements are stored in the nervous system and do indeed impact our health in massive and vital ways.
So the main message of this section: Seeking to be whole, congruent and true to self. Success without fulfillment is nothing.
The Model of Personal Development and Global Change is inspired and informed by Integral Institute’s AQAL model of Consciousness, as explained in ‘The Integral Vision’, by Integral’s founder, Ken Wilber.
Will reading this book help you to understand why we are presenting what we are? You bettcha’ it will!