We humans are curious creatures. Descartes great proclamation ‘I think therefore I am’ coupled with the rise of Western individualism can leave us thinking that I am the product of my education and my particular experiences. The problem with that model is that we can all too easily overlook a major source of my own identity.
My idea of who I am is infused by the relationships in my life. I am who I am through the different relationships in my life. That is to say that I am profoundly shaped by those who share my space. Whether that is an intimate partner, friends, colleagues, children, parents, spiritual director, therapist etc. Different parts of us are drawn out in particular relationships. In the absence of that relationship that particular part of who I am may not be evident.
There is another aspect to consider. My experience and my worldview distort my perception a little. So, what I presume to be ‘true’ is often deeply coloured by the lens of my own woundedness. My perception of my relationships and interactions on all levels is mired in this wounding.
Only one thing can change this distortion – for me this has been in the acceptance of my limitations because of that wounding. This has brought freedom and with it a new perspective. Like the twisting of a kaleidoscope – a new pattern emerges, and I see that what I believed to be true before was only true in my limited perception.
It makes me wonder whether the ‘True Self’ is a fixed point at all. I suspect it isn’t, but I think we know when we are closer to it. And I think we know when we are trying to kid ourselves.