What is your “True Self”?
In Buddhist teachings, your True Self is the innate light within every single one of us. This light is naturally filled with kindness and compassion for both ourselves and those who surround us. This is what the term Namaste refers to.
Our Ego is the part of our mind that gets in the way of our ability to connect with our True Selves. It constantly chatters at us as we compare ourselves to others, succumb to envy, grow in anger, and many other negative thoughts and emotions that we experience in our daily lives.
It is extremely hard to quiet the Ego…
“Your thighs jiggle too much.”
“She’s so much better at standing splits than you are.”
“You don’t deserve to do a yoga practice today.”
All these thoughts and more flood our mind, frantically jumping from one to another. If we are not careful these thoughts are what dictate our reality. When listen and believe in our Ego we lose connection with the glorious beings that we really are.
Why it’s so hard to ignore our Ego?
In our current consumer and technology driven society, it becomes even harder to sift through all the status updates and advertisements to reach our inner gurus. Our lives are driven by status updates,
I learned this the hard way when I was a freshman in high school. The summer before starting at my brand new school I made a Facebook account. This was the first time I had ever invested myself into the world of social media.
Those first few weeks of school were extra exciting because I was meeting hundreds of new people in real life and subsequently had hundreds of friend requests in my virtual life. Every day, after school, I would immediately run up to my room and log on to my account to scroll through my timeline. For hours I would become consumed with pictures of food, group selfies, and status updates.
The excitement I felt during this time soon died away and was replaced with self-consciousness. I began to constantly compare myself to others. The online versions I saw of others as popular and social compared to my own as shy and invisible began to replace the perceptions I had for real life. I was starved for validation and couldn’t understand why the positive feedback I was receiving on my profile wasn’t enough to fill this need.
At this point, I had enough sense as a 15-year-old to realize that something was not right. It was unsustainable for me to determine my self-worth based on how others saw me online. This person that I had created on Facebook did not really exist and did not define who I was as a person.
Thus, I decided to create “The Photo Wall”. I went to Walgreens and printed every picture I had that reminded me that I was loved and took them home. Next, I used Scotch tape to individually position each one until I had created a huge collage of photographs. Sitting on my bed staring in rapture at this real-life Facebook album, I removed myself from the virtual world and returned to the real world.
This Photo Wall is still in my room at my parent’s house today. Being able to touch and see the pictures in my room instills a sense of ‘realness’ to them, more so than the pictures I see through my computer screen.
It works as a guide for me when I become a bit lost in my internal journey. It reminds me of all the people and places that I love in my life, guiding me to turn that love inward toward myself.
Why this matters?
It seems ridiculous to think that someone could determine their self-worth based on who they are online, but this exact experience is happening to people all the time.
The virtual self, or the representation that we create online of ourselves, can be more ‘real’ than our physical self. In this case I am defining ‘real’ as the version that we decide is the most valuable to us. The problem with this is that the profiles we see and create online consist of only highlight reels of our lives. They lack the substance and imperfections that make up the human existence. When we compare ourselves to these online creatures we create our own suffering as we continuously strive for an impossible perfection.
Just for you!
Create your own version of a Photo Wall
You are so much more than the number of likes you get on your profile pictures. You are a whole person, not just flashes of images on a screen.