Ego or Authentic Self?
By Doris Jeanette, Psy.D.
I was sitting at the kitchen table with my 84-year-old mother in Staley, North Carolina last week. My mother asked me, "How can I tell the difference between when I am pushing myself to exercise and when I really want to exercise?"
This is similar to the question a reader recently asked, "How do you tell the difference between resistance and tuning in?"
This psychological question goes to the heart of what you need to know so that you can act on your inner truths and say no to your ego's controlling ways.
If you cannot tell the difference between your learned, conditioned self and your authentic, wise self you will always be stuck in either resisting or pushing. You will not know what you really need and desire.
To be clear and sure of yourself, you have to break free from resisting or pushing behaviors. These behaviors are unhelpful and keep you stuck and unhappy. To break free from these unhelpful, learned behaviors you must find and access your authentic self.
Your authentic self will always tell you inner truths. Your learned ego will always tell you "shoulds" and "should nots." If you find and then follow your authentic self, you will be able to follow your bliss. Every day, all day long, you will know what you really need and want.
Long ago I discovered that you cannot use talk therapy to know when you are resisting something that is good for you to do. You cannot use psychobabble to know when you are agreeing to something that you do not want to do.
The only way you can tell the difference between your learned ego and your authentic self is to become skillful in using and trusting your feeling ability. You must know what your body is physically feeling and what your heart is emotionally feeling in order to expose your ego's "shoulds" and "should nots."
There is no other way I know to be clear and clean. A "should" feels dramatically different from an inner truth.
You must improve your ability to feel your body and feel your emotions so that you know with absolute certainty that you are not listening to your ego's confusing mental messages.