It’s Not Your Personality We Love by Elese Coit

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We are all wearing masks. I’m not talking about the professional mask you put on to go to work, I’m talking about the mask you call YOU.
It’s the shell you’ve wrapped round your authentic, natural self.  Let’s call it your “personality.” I’ve had one for years and I don’t know how I couldn’t have one.  What gets tricky is when I think that me and my personality are the same thing.
It is a bit like putting on a mask and then forgetting about it.  There’s this weird uncomfortable feeling, but you can’t put your finger on why…
If you have an uber-competent personality it may look like that serves you well. I thought mine did. And yet I had to face some inevitable facts:

  1. The personality is not you.
  2. The personality is actually the biggest barrier to knowing you.
  3. The personality is not what people really appreciate about you.

All the time spent evaluating ourselves, measuring and comparing, has never been put on pause long enough to consider the deeper question that lies behind it.  Unless we do, we may look in the mirror many times a day and the greatest mystery on the planet remains the face staring back.
I rarely reflected on the question, “Who am I underneath who I think I am?”  I could tell you who I thought I should be. I could tell you who I was trying to become or how I was doing in relation to so-and-so. But me? On a deeper level?  Very blurry.
I just assumed that I was my personality. I tried to make this personality of mine better and “special.” I tried to make “me” into someone I would like. ( Remember “love yourself”? … I did not succeed).  We construct a version of a person that our own constricted minds are thinking of and within those parameters, of course it’s going to be an imitation version. Roll on the self-improvement …


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“Mi, a name I call myself…
As I began to ponder “what is me?” I began to notice that the personality I had became used to referring to as “me” was entirely composed of — just things I think about myself. There was a the tableau of traits and characteristics that I called myself, but these were no more than a bunch of thoughts I’d had. They just happened to be about something I call me.
I had made myself up out of nothing. Out of thought.
Other people did not necessarily share the view of who I thought I was and so I also incorporated their opinions into my own thinking about me.
I remember first getting a glimpse of the depth of this as I came to know Robert Holden (listen to my radio show with him) who called the ego “the sum total of all the smallest ideas you’ve ever had about yourself.”
It hit me that I really had constructed me. And I was terribly small.  It began to dawn that, since the personality was a construct in itself, it could never find the answer to Me. The answer was beyond the content of my own thinking.
I look out through two eyes from something I call my body.  I think the limits of my body are “me.” I pass or fail a test, I think the results tell “me” something “I” am suited for or not suited for.  I get divorced and I think this means something about “me.”   Thoughts. All just thoughts.
We minimize our capacities — based on opinions that just float past — and yet talk about them as facts and live the limitations as truth.
I was reminded of this recently when I had a client here in San Diego for a 3-day retreat and I related how people walk up to me when I am on my skates and just blurt out, “I could never do that!” The truth is, they can’t possibly know that. They don’t have the slightest idea. But this does not stop people from deciding precisely what they will or will not believe about themselves.
When you realize that what you think you are made of is nothing more than a jumble of ideas, maybe it’s time to start asking “What is beneath what I think I am?”

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“Everyone in this world shares the same innate source of wisdom, but it is hidden by the tangle of our own misguided personal thoughts”
- Sydney Banks The Missing Link

 

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About Marian

When I was barely three years old I was given to a step-mother by my father along with my five brothers and sisters. She brought into this new family her own two small children; the eight of us were all very young. My new mother along with my father decided how best to raise all of us; this included violent and abusive punishments and inappropriate ideas of right and wrong, including alcoholism and infidelity on my father’s part. My mother was particularly angry with me, I have no idea why but I made up that it’s because my father favored me over all the others, most importantly her own children. Whether this is the truth doesn’t really matter anymore as it was a long time ago. I left home the day after my eighteenth birthday which coincides with the last time she laid an abusive hand on me. Unfortunately, I took all the negative feelings I’d developed about myself based on my upbringing with me and proceeded to find and cultivate one bad and abusive relationship after another until, and without a another thought about it, I stopped the madness when I was about 35 years old. I’m now in my late 50’s with two grown daughters and four grandchildren. I have a degree in Social Work, I’m a certified teacher of The Three Principals, a counselor for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and I worked more than seven years with homeless men and women diagnosed as severely mentally ill, addicts, and victims of every type of heinous crime against human beings. I’m married just over 21 years to a loving man who supports me emotionally and, now, financially. He believes I have a wonderful calming insight to share with others who are survivors of their lives just like me. That’s how I see myself now, a survivor of my own life. I will discuss empowering insights that were shared with me regarding how we innocently see the world and how we can easily choose to see and feel differently about everything. Not just everything around us but more importantly about who we are. We are all unknowingly living our lives as if there are no other choices. Yet daily deep within each of us we hope there’s something better and we spend countless hours looking for just that. I have a few ideas as to how you can let all the sadness, frustration and anger go allowing the essence of who you are take hold. My perspective is positive, my hope is boundless and my belief is secure. I listen without condemnation. I will always direct you back to where all emotional issues rest in a positive and compassionate way. There is no anger in me, I do not seek to avenge the past and I live now in this moment rejoicing that I exist today to enjoy the gifts I’ve been given. We are all powerful, unlimited and are creations of pure Love! Thank you for visiting with me, I truly hope you will find what you’re looking for and if not, let’s talk! Marian