When we are hurt we are left with emotional scars, and as long as these scars remain unresolved we behave in certain ways to compensate. We do this without thinking so we can cope with particular situations.
These scars can be so powerful that they ‘lock in’ a person to playing the same role within their tribe over and over again. Some people live almost their entire lives in this state, in ‘character’ if you like, and are unable to live their ‘true self’.
We see this all the time with people whose day to day lives are dominated by the unwritten rules of their tribe. Two posts ago I wrote how some old friends of mine live like this.
How do we find this ‘true self’ when every time we communicate with others we revert to this automatic character? The key word here is ‘automatic’, because that’s what it is: a total unconscious response that happens instantly and without thought.
So to initially find our true self response to a particular situation, until we can master the process, we need to take extra time between the external stimulus and our response to it. We need to not react automatically. We need to take the time to consciously make the choice to not go into character by reacting to our beliefs.
Every time we consciously choose not to react, but instead seek out the truth of the situation, it gets easier and easier. Eventually this process becomes the more automatic response, and we are on our way to wisdom.
As Lao-Tzu says: “One who understands others has knowledge. One who understands himself has wisdom”.
Until then I say: “Fake it until you can make it”.