False Self

The Creation of the False Self

The Reality of Our Two Selves

By Shelley Klammer | Posted 1/4/11 | Updated 11/16/23

"When we are thinking — as opposed to listening to ourselves with less attachment and staying with each moment — we never go beyond ourselves and the familiar." —Ruth Zapora

Our Two Selves

These days I am becoming profoundly aware of when I am in my "false self" and when I am in my "true self."

When I am in my true self — which is my spiritual self — my mind is quiet and I am following the "truth of the moment." I am not fearing for my own safety, survival, security or love. I am in a giving state and I am listening deeply to life. I am being guided as to where to participate in the larger life pattern. I am living in my truth.

Living in one's truth is rarely easy. We actually do not want to live in our truth as it requires that we go beyond our stories. It requires that we go beyond our comfortable ways of doing things.

There is a certain comfort in sitting in our problems and judgments about life. There is a certain familiarity in choosing not to grow. We have a strong self in our problems. Listening inside for truth brings up the fear of emptiness — the fear of not having a self. Most people feel that if they do not have thoughts — they do not exist. It takes a while to make friends with the emptiness of silence.

Our Problems are the Architecture of our Personality

Our problems and discontents form our sense of self. The whole process of inner growth is learning how to let go of thoughts. All thoughts are concepts of limitation.

For example, one of my core values these days is unconditional love. As I delve more deeply into this state I realize that I need to let go of my ongoing habit of judging life. This leaves me quiet inside. I realize that continually evaluating things as good and bad gives my mind something to do — and it perpetuates my familiar sense of self. Without my familiar judgments I feel empty at first— like a non-self. It feels odd.

My higher self/my larger mind is ultimately silent. In that silence I am continually listening for inner guidance as to where to put my love, attention and energy in each moment. Sometimes I feel full and complete in the silence. Sometimes I feel hollow and in emotional pain. Sometimes I go for long stretches of time with no profound inner guidance coming through. At these times it feels like I am just meant to accept and experience life as it is.

Most often my inner guidance comes when I am in between sleep and wakefulness. Higher words, phrases or imagery come to me right after sleeping — before my habitual mind kicks into high gear. It is during these times of openness that I receive phrases and images that show me where I need to grow. Recently the word "impeccability" has been shining through my consciousness.

The Maturity of the True Self

I dream of houses that need cleaning — piled up basements — dishes that need to be done. Often in my creative fervor, I do not take care of the essentials. I let things slide. I leave the menial tasks for another day. I want every part of my life to feel inspiring and I ignore the mundane as not deep enough — not interesting enough. I am having dreams that are showing me that I need to make more of an effort to take even the little things in my life "all the way to completion." This makes me feel uncomfortable.

I often feel restless and bored with the mediocrity of life. I feel frustration with my lack of presence to the little things. It requires more of an effort to delve deeper and make the ordinary parts of life equal and just as important as the inspiring parts. It requires more maturity. It calls for a mature, attentive presence to every little thing — nothing excluded.

The Creation of the False Self

When I am in my false self — I am always in some form of separation, fear or judgment. I am not in a loving state. I am in my "me mind" — in my survival psychology. I am trying to protect myself. I am trying to get "ahead." I am trying to defend my position. I am trying to win. The false self is forever frightened and contracted — it is endlessly trying to get its needs met.

Psychologist Stephen Wolinsky has — in my mind — by far described the biological formation of the false self — in the most coherent way of anyone I have studied. To put it in a nutshell when we are born we are one with God. The "biological shock" of separation occurs before we can have words or stories for it at the age of 5-12 months of age.

The shock of separation happens when we find out that human beings are fallible. The moment that the mother turns her attention away and cannot meet the need of the infant — it is then that the child instead turns towards the mother and begins to perform and act and mirror the mother to get love — out of a fear of survival.

We are Forever Children in our False Selves

If the caretaker has not learned to meet their own psychological needs the child will reach out of her core authentic center even more to try to get her needs met. This is how the degrees of the false self is born. The child will try to meet the parent's unmet needs in order to get love. We can often have the gnawing feeling as we walk through our life that we are false — that we are acting or performing our way through our lives to get love and approval.

As we grow older, we find the words and the elaborate stories for why we feel deficient and in pain — we create reasons for why we feel lacking and thus deserve to be separated from God/Mom/Love/Oneness. This mistaken false core belief drives our entire personality/false self throughout our lives until we can see it and dismantle it.

Every single human being on earth — saint, sinner, guru or street person — has a false core belief about themselves and an entire personality/false self system that is built on top of this feeling of lack, emptiness and fear. This is our paradoxical human journey. We are separated from God/The Greater Life/our Spiritual Selves and then we must go through our fear of emptiness into the silence to find our way back to the Truth of Life.

Even if you are beautifully creative you must ask yourself if you create to compensate for a feeling of lack, emptiness or fear inside when you create. We can have the most beautifully honed spiritual and creative personalities and still be falsely compensating in our creativity out of our core fears. We can live our lives trying to prove ourselves in avoidance of that original feeling of lack and separation.

The strangest passage in moving towards the True Self is a learning to withstand the original feeling of emptiness and separation that it brings up. This is why many people do not ever travel the passage back to their True Selves. The fear of the silence brings up incessant reactions and defenses.

In my True Self — I have as spiritual writer Guy Finley so aptly puts it, "a spiritual intolerance of fear." It is not that I do not feel fear — I just do not act on it or indulge in it as much. I am learning to tremble and to trust.

In our judgment and separation we cultivate a nearly continuous sense of self with our fearful thoughts. We have to keep recreating our false self with constant thought processes but it is the often the only thing that makes us feel "real." It is in this continuous thought process of the false self that we try with all of our might to avoid and distract ourselves from the fiercer fears and the deeper enigmas of what life is calling us to.

The personality is the false self and it is in compensation for our deepest fears about ourselves. We are not who we think we are but we can go though our whole lives living solely in our false self — we can try forever to heal our core fears in a myriad of ways — through our creativity — though our roles in life — or through our obsessive perfectionism — to name a few.

See if you can find false self in one or more of the fear based false self motivators below. Some examples common personality/false self systems (according to Stephen Wolinsky) are as follows:

Personality / False Self Systems

from Stephen Wolinsky

False Core Driver False Self Compensator
I am imperfect. There must be something wrong with me. I need to prove there is not something wrong with me by being perfect.
I am worthless — I have no value. I must prove I am not worthless by proving I am worthy and by making a lot of money.
I am not able to do — I am incompetent. I need to prove I can do anything by achieving and over-doing.
I am inadequate. I need to prove I am not inadequate by proving adequacy.
I am non-existent. I do not exist. I need to prove my existence.
I am incomplete. I must be complete or be whole through experiences.
I am powerless. I must prove how powerful I am.
I am loveless. I need to prove I am not loveless by being extra lovable and loving.
I am alone. I need to try to connect at all times.

Next: Creation is Slow

Copyright ©2011 Shelley Klammer. All rights reserved.