• Dr. Jill Bakke

Our True Self

There is a force within

that gives you life.

Seek that.

– Rumi

Not long ago a friend asked me “What do you mean by ‘True Self’”? I didn’t have the time to go over the ways our self-images influence us, but I needed to touch base on them for my friend to understand.

“Well, you know, the Ideal Self is the one where we are perfect in every way we wish to be. But the Ideal Self is really a mask worn to hide what we consider imperfections. In private or with people who are like we are under the mask, we may act totally different. The Real Self is who we actually are, and it is not situational based. The term ‘True Self’ refers to the religious reference that we are made in the image of God,” I explained.

Now for centuries this idea that we are “made in the image of God,” has led us to create a god that looks and even acts like us. He sits on a throne someplace, judges us, and metes out our punishment and reward. I accepted that common explanation of God’s duties for years, but eventually sought the truth: God is the energy of love that lives within us, and we are totally capable of punishing ourselves. In fact, many religions, including the Christian Bible, state unequivocally that we are gods, endowed with the aspects of our creator to heal, love, and be happy and productive.

The Christian Bible has many references to what this person is like and the common translation of the words in Proverbs 23:7 explains “as a man thinketh in his heart, so will he become.” This infers our thoughts and words carry frequency and power, and we create our own world through them.

Many excellent books are available regarding our spiritual nature. Mystics have always propounded the idea that the world is an illusion. Now quantum physics is putting forward a theory referred to as the “Observer Effect” that reinforces this belief. It states there is no phenomenon until it is observed, and hence the physical Universe is the direct result of consciousness. What is our consciousness? What kind of world are we creating with our thoughts and subsequent actions?

Books that share others’ experiences and gifts prove helpful for individuals who want to learn more about spirituality. However, Paramhansa Yogananda in The Essence of Self-Realization said it best: “The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul’s power of knowing God. To know what religion really is all about, one must know God.”

But, I am not asking you to become more spiritual, only to become more aware of who you are. If you are uncomfortable with the term “spirit” or the aspects of religious dogma, consider the fact that the qualities of a spiritual person and the psychologically healthy individual are very similar. The father of humanistic psychology Abraham Maslow called the psychologically healthy individual self-actualizing. Carl Rogers defined him as fully functioning. Another term we hear associated with those individuals is “True Self.”

Our thoughts and feelings come from the beliefs we accept. My question to you is, “Do you accept as truth something because you read it somewhere or heard it on TV? Do you ever look at the beliefs your parents and society instilled in you? Are you a shepherd or are you one of the sheep, programed by others desires and their definitions of right and wrong?”

The following self-test is from http://www.selfcounseling.com/help/personalsuccess/selfactualization.html

Characteristics of a Self-Actualizing Person

By Dr. Richard Boyum

Listed below are a series of 16 characteristics of a self-actualizing individual as described by Abraham Maslow. Self-actualizing here is defined as a person who is in the process of fulfilling their potential. After slowly and thoroughly reading each characteristic, rate yourself on the scale listed below that characteristic from 1 to 10. Your results will give you both a linear and intuitive representation of your strength and weaknesses in moving towards being a self-actualizing person. Spend some time focusing on why you are stronger in some characteristics than others. What is it that has given you a higher score? What might you do to make your score higher on any given characteristic. The highest total you can receive is 160 points. How close are you?


The self-actualized person has more efficient perception of reality and more comfortable relations with it. He can accept the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and he can tell the difference.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

Acceptance of self, others, and nature. The self-actualizing person sees reality as it is and accepts responsibility for it. He is as objective as a subjective being can be in his perceptions.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

The self-actualizing person has spontaneity, simplicity and naturalness. In other words, this kind of person is not hung up on being as others think he should be. He is a person who is capable of doing what feels good and natural for himself simply because that’s how he feels. He does not try to hurt others, but he has respect for what is good himself.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

Problem Centering. The self-actualizing person is someone who is generally strongly focused on problems outside of himself. He is concerned with the problems of others and the problems of society, and is willing to work to try to alleviate those difficulties.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

The quality for detachment, the need for privacy. For all his social mindedness, the self-actualizing person has a need to be by himself or a need for solitude. He enjoys times for quiet reflection and doesn’t always need people around him. He can be with the few people that he would be close to and not need to communicate with them. Their presence is sufficient in and of itself.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

Autonomy, independence of culture and environment. The self-actualizing person is capable of doing things for himself and making decisions on his own. He believes in who and what he is.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

Continued freshness or appreciation. The self-actualizing person experiences a joy in the simple and the natural. Sunsets are always beautiful, and he seeks them out. He can still enjoy playing the games he played as a child and having fun in some of the same ways he did many years before.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

The mystic experience, the peak experience. Self-actualizing people usually have experiences in which they literally feel they are floating. They feel very much in tune or at one with the world around them, and almost feel as if they are, for a momentary period in time, part of a different reality.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

A feeling of togetherness. Self-actualizing people have a feeling for all of mankind. They are aware and sensitive to the people that are about them.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

Interpersonal relations. Self-actualizing people have deeper and more profound interpersonal relations than other adults. They are capable of fusion, greater love and more perfect identification that other people could consider possible. They generally tend to have relatively few friends, but those relationships are deep and very meaningful.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

The democratic character structures. Self-actualizing people tend to believe in the equal nature of human beings, that every individual has a right to say, and that each person has his strengths and each person has his weaknesses.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

Discriminating between means and ends, between good and evil. Self-actualizing people know the difference between means and ends and good and evil and do not twist them in a way that hurt themselves or others.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 _____

Philosophical and unhostile sense of humor. Self-actualizing people tend to enjoy humor. They like to laugh and like to joke, but not at the expense of others. They are generally seen as good natured, even though they are capable of being very serious.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ___

Creativeness. Self-actualizing people are capable of being highly creative. Creativeness can be expressed in many dimensions by writing, speaking, playing, fantasies, or whatever, but self-actualizing do have moods of being creative. Maslow has said that a first-rate cook is better than a second-rate painter. Hence, creativeness can be expresses in many dimensions.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

Resistance to inculturation, the transcendence of any particular culture. Maslow feels that the individual is above his culture in some way, that he maintains a strong individuality and is not so absorbed that he cannot evaluate the culture objectively in such a way that he can make decisions about what is best for him and those he cares about.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______

The imperfections of self-actualizing people. Self-actualizing people are individuals who are aware of the fact that they are not perfect, that they are as human as the next person, and that there are constantly new things to learn and new ways to grow. The self-actualizing person, although comfortable with himself, never stops striving.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______


So how can you grow? The easiest way to begin lies in following your heart, exploring the things you love, and being aware of why you chose a certain direction or thing. Joseph Campbell calls this step “Following your bliss.”

All actions are created out of either fear or love. Ask yourself which element, love or fear, lies behind your actions. If it is not love, try to determine what the fear is based upon. Sometimes the fear is baseless and easy to leave behind.

More difficult to interpret is what your ego thinks it needs – someone’s approval, more “things,” money, or position in the community. Are you seeking these for appearance sake? If so, these things are based in fear, as you do not love yourself as you are. And in addition, all control is fear based regardless of whether it is control of another or the boundaries and rules you put on self.

I am going to stop here and recommend a few books that, if you choose to explore this topic, can help you on your path to your True Self. It truly does not matter whether you begin with self-help, psychological books, or become a spiritual seeker. You will find areas in all methods that will allow your True Self to shine through. Your goal is to be comfortable in your shoes, free of outside manipulation and control, loving and compassionate, and taking responsibility for the world you create around you.


Any of Paul Selig’s channeled books: The Book of Love Creation, the three books in his Mastery series which begins with The Book of Mastery, and others.

Dr. Joe Dispenza: Becoming Supernatural, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, and You are the Placebo.

Helen Schucman: The Course in Miracles. There is also a workbook for this classic.

Wayne Dwyer and Deepak Chopra’s books.

Some books deal with specific habits and beliefs that have become entrenched. One of these is Peter Cole and Daisy Reese’s True Self, True Wealth: A Pathway to Prosperity.

Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, and Marianne Williams joined together to produce The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of your True Self.

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