Sometimes, it’s obvious when someone isn’t being their true self; other times, it can seem impossible to tell. What makes this distinction especially difficult is that a false self lies within each of us, according to theologian and author Father Richard Rohr. He describes this as the persona you have created for yourself. The true self, however, is what religion often calls the soul. It’s your eternal essence.
But how can we access (and manifest) that true self? Fr. Rohr believes that this pursuit should be everyone’s ultimate goal in life, and he explains in the above video from “Super Soul Sunday” how you can be absolutely sure you live within that space.
“It’s largely a matter of letting go of the false self,” he says.
To do that, you must be able to identify when the false self manifests. Fr. Rohr gives an example.
“Let’s say someone doesn’t kiss up to me and call me ‘Father’ or respect my importance or my intelligence… So I’m offended,” he says. “But then I said, ‘What part of you, Richard, was offended?’ It’s always the false self.”
By definition, Fr. Rohr continues, this cannot happen when you’re being your true self.
“The true self can’t be offended. There’s nothing to offend. It’s too large, it’s too grounded, it’s too real,” he explains. “That’s my simple rule of thumb, Oprah, for how to recognize the false self: whenever you take offense.”
It’s a clear and absolute rule, but Fr. Rohr still admits that no one acts within their true self 24 hours a day. Taking offense will happen even to the best of us — momentarily.
“It still hurts for a few minutes,” he acknowledges. “But once you go back to who you are… nothing can hurt you.”
Also in the interview: Fr. Rohr explains the dangers of allowing the false self to exist in a relationship.
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