As we are developing on a path to self-knowledge and personal, spiritual growth, it can be easy to be misled. Some common ways of losing our way include:
Feeling Superior To Others
This is probably the most wide spread deception people fall prey to. The original aim of the person is to become more loving, caring, good and true but what can happen if one is not careful to watch themselves is that they can unknowingly and unintentionally begin to think that they are better than other people, either by how they live or also by what they believe or how they practice spirituality or feel connected with God.
Just think about how opposite an outcome that is compared to the original intent! Pride and egoism, left unchecked lead to monumental delusions of superiority.
It is no sin to love yourself and celebrate your progress. Where this goes awry is when you place yourself above others and judge an area of their life that is personal and hidden from your perception. In other words, something that you know nothing at all about. Remember that you cannot see inside that person’s heart and soul and their personal, spiritual walk. Even if you could, you are likely still on a similar ‘level’ as them because after all, we are all human. (Sorry to disappoint your pride.)
A true spiritual seeker and follower of Christ (Love) will always remain ultimately humble, loving, caring, and kind and is on watch for the separative thoughts superior judgements bring.
Feeling Ashamed Of Your Past Self. Not Being Able To Live Down Past Mistakes
This one is also sneaky because we want to be better than we have been and we want to leave some things in the past. If we could take a giant pair of scissors to the timeline of our life, some of us may be very tempted to cut out whole time periods of themselves and their lives. They would rather never have to have that in their pasts as a part of who they are or were. But the thing is that whatever we have gone through in our past, whether now perceived in a more negative or regretful way or not, was a part of what made us who we are.
“There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.”
Those parts of ourselves or our pasts that we are quite embarrassed or ashamed of can also be (and most likely are) the parts that we were most human and made what we perceive as ‘mistakes’, more positively viewed as lessons learned. These may actually be the parts of ourselves or our lives that can connect us most to others. Our overcoming of them or our perseverance through them are the page-turning chapters of our lives when read by others. To try, or wish, to cut this out would be cutting off or killing a part of ourselves. We can’t disown it. It wouldn’t be in our best interest or the best interest of others to pretend as though we have always been perfect. Nothing to relate to or look up to there!
In embracing and accepting those more painful or regretful areas of our pasts, the stuff we wish we never had to face or endure, the decisions we wish we had had the higher awareness NOT to make, we set ourselves free from identifying with. We stop living there when we stop resisting total acceptance.
Ironically, in turning ourselves toward what we wish only to flee from and discard, the hold of guilt, shame and regret diminishes. When we face ourselves in our entirety we learn self-acceptance, forgiveness towards ourselves and/or others that we have kept responsible for what went wrong according to us, and in the end, freedom.
Presenting An Inauthentic Version Of Yourself To The World To Be Approved Of
What more energy-sapping thing can you really do other than try and stop yourself from existing in your entirety? It’s like signing up for a life long marathon of self-hatred and denial. But you will always know when you are wearing a mask. You will always long to love yourself. The spirit knows and sees when you deny it. When you deny yourself existence and you put on different masks it is as if you are saying, how I was created is not good enough, not lovable, absolutely not worthy of acceptance. I must hide! You spend a lot of time, if not most or all of it, trying to only keep up a facade. How exhausting! And oh, how deceptive!
An underlying reason why someone may be tempted to live this way, although exhausting, is to avoid pain. It can be painful to present a true and authentic self to the world, to friends and family because we fear gravely disapproval from others and long only for acceptance. God forbid they reject us! But what is the acceptance of the whole world if the inner man remains suffocated and unable to live freely, expressing itself as an extension of Love?
Living an inauthentic life at the expense of losing others means losing yourself and not only yourself, but all of those connections that could be so healthy and invigorating with those who would absolutely love you for you, even if there are those who do reject you. Even if a life is lived long and full of others love and adoration, what would it ultimately all mean if it means losing yourself and suppressing your gifts?
A second reason it can be difficult to present an authentic version of ourselves to the world is that we learned to wear the mask(s) so long ago and for so long, taking them off would shock the people who thought that they knew us. Rather than having to admit to ourselves that we have been living a lie, being exposed as a phoney and having our loved ones realize that we aren’t what they thought (who ever is?), suffering guilt and shame over it (see point number 2 above), we would rather avoid having to accept that we have been playing silly games, sinning to our God-given nature, we run from the reality.
If played long enough this game of putting on masks can cause us to lose sight of our true selves and our true beauty. We ourselves can even get confused about who we are after a while.
Do yourself a favor and remember yourself now. How about letting yourself be yourself and taking off your mask for even 5 minutes today, if not the whole day? If you’re too scared to let others see you yet, or to explain to them what and who you truly are, allow yourself to be your own company. Get to know yourself through writing, dancing, singing, painting, yoga, meditation, some task that you can just be yourself in and see yourself through. Look at yourself in the eyes in the mirror and just accept your seeing of yourself.
If you feel like you have fallen prey to any of these deceptions along your path to self-development, rest assured that you are not alone! These are common pitfalls of those who are earnestly seeking. If it helps to hear a confession, I’m guilty of all three! The key is to be honest with ourselves, admit the error of our ways and not remain stuck in these lower vibration ways of perceiving ourselves as better than, and others as less than, or of wearing a mask to be approved of, sinning against our uniquely created, limited-time incarnation of who we are in the skin that we are in.
Yes, you are here for a purpose, you are magnificently created, you are the only you, but you are not better than anyone of your brothers or sisters, even if your path has seemed to pan out more smoothly, remember that you could have been anyone else and has their struggle.
Yes, you may have regrets, but everything that has ever happened has happened for a reason and there are treasures in our trials.
Yes, it may seem easier to wear a mask and fit in to be accepted but it comes at a cost and sooner or later we will have to face what we have been running from, or risk losing authenticity altogether.
Stay humble. Stay grateful. Stay the course.