Advent (Love): True Self, Part 1

Recently, on a very ordinary day I began to reflect on some of the people in my life who have hurt me.  A voice from inside me asked me very clearly:  can you show up whole in the face of those who have hurt you?   I came to see several things that I think may be true.

First, there are a variety of ways that I have stood before people who have wounded me in the past: defensive; pretending confidence while dying on the inside; angry; frightened. All are façades that I have unknowingly put into place as a shield to protect me from the offender.  The façades work. They allow space between me and the offender.  Ultimately, though, I have to go home with my self which is hidden behind the façade.

Second there is the possibility that every person who has ever hurt me has done me a favor. Outrageous to consider, but at least in my experience wounding can cause me to see myself more clearly. Maybe my experience of being hurt by others is isolated, but every instance that I can think of ultimately shows me something really valuable about myself.

Third, my true Self cannot be wounded.  What occurred to me is that I am made up of a series of facades.  My facades include all things that present as ego, personality traits, style, emotions (which I distinguish from feelings—feelings belong to the true Self but emotions are the acting out of feelings that have not been recognized), and even my body.  Yes, my body is a façade, a very important façade.  While I cannot live without it I am fairly clear that I am more than my body.  I have a very important relationship with my body, and my body allows me to navigate in this world.  There is, then, a difference in our true Self and our facades and that any façade can be an important tool that we need to survive.

This reflection continues for the next two days.  For today: what faces does your true Self put on, from time to time?

Bob Patrick

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