Why we should forget about our self-image

The biggest goal of spirituality is to understand ourselves. This is much more important than attempting to understand the world around us. Unfortunately, most of us inhibit this goal by trying to maintain some kind of image about ourselves. We cannot see ourselves accurately whilst simultaneously trying to maintain a self-image. The two are contradictory. Thus, we must forget about our self-image.

The reasons for supporting our self-image are often understandable. We may believe that maintaining an image of ourselves as a happy person, or as a calm person, will help bring about that result. In this respect, maintaining a self-image can be used as a motivating force. However, although this tool may be effective, it has many drawbacks. By viewing ourselves as something other than what we are, we are engaging in denial. This inevitably results in a lowering of self-esteem when we are faced with reality, and also causes an estrangement from our friends because we are attempting to put forward a different persona from the truth.

Instead, it is important to realize that we can drop our self-image and still improve on ourselves. In fact, viewing ourselves accurately makes it easier to improve. Although dropping a self-image can be scary, it is also a tremendous relief. Trying to continuously delude ourselves can never be successful, and being honest about who we are is a much happier way to live.

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  1. Neil Moffatt said,

    January 31, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

    I’ve not encountered this concept before, even though I have read many books about human nature. It has set me thinking, principally because I am like my Mother, a person who is inclined to be what I perceive other people want me to be. A people pleaser.

    In fact, I read a fascinating book recently entitled ‘The desease to please’, pointing out the many dangers of pleasing others before yourself. Presenting a self-image is an extremely common social defence mechanism.

    I have been trying some of the concepts in that book, and they are well summarised by the concept of your article.

    My blog, by the way, mostly on atheism/religion is at http://www.neilmoffatt.co.uk/WordPress

  2. Administrator said,

    January 31, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

    Thank you for your comment Neil. I’m glad it got you thinking, and am interested that the concept may not be commonly encountered. I plan to write more in depth articles on this topic in the very near future, and will add a link when I do.


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