Untangling the False Self

The False Self also known as the persona (mask), personal-lity is our adapted self that attempts to get unconscious ego needs met (sometimes at any cost). The False Self – shaped by wounds sets an unconscious emotional and social program used to willfully pursue its solution: security, esteem, affection, fortune, power/control etc. It’s not bad, dumb or stubborn; it is all about survival. 

“The false self accompanies us, implacably, into whatever lifestyle we choose (family, corporate or monastic)…when we do not recognize and confront the hidden emotional programs the false self adjusts to any new situation in a really short period of time and nothing changes…” 

– Thomas Keating 

In his book, Invitation to Love, Keating shares how he used to take pride in out drinking men at taverns, and then turned to taking pride in out fasting monks in the monastery; though the outer reality changed his ego’s approach to life (false self) was still intact. 

As the famous 12 Step saying goes, “If nothing changes, nothing changes”, no matter what new situation we are in unless we examine our inner life…there we are again.

The sweet nectar of despair when the false self waves a white flag and allows a greater treasure.

Reflection on False Self motivations: 

  1. What do you typically want more of? 
  2. What hooks you? Esteem/Affection, Security/Stability, Power/Control, Fortune/Value 
  3. How do these hooks show up including in altruistic work? 

The True Self whispers as we are untangled by a loving force…yet again. 

Kind Regards,