Who am I? The False Self and the True Self by Jaq White


Continuing on from my previous blog post Who Am I? All the World’s a Stage and All the Men and Women Merely Players

In the Natural World, we can observe a harmony that is at the same time both simple, and yet sophisticated.  We see different insects, plants, trees and creatures evolving into their own sophisticated form of life in order to maximise their chance of survival, and to find their own unique place in the eco-system. Different species rely on each other, and sustain each other.

There are of course conflicts, struggles for survival, and hierarchies.

In the human world, things are no different; we are very sophisticated life forms, with  the same conflicts, struggles for survival, and hierarchies. The difference is, above and beyond the natural way of things, we have also created our own very sophisticated conflicts, false hierarchies, and have created a system whereby we cause entire sections of our own species to struggle to survive, in many cases simply to sustain others.

What is the cause of our living  increasingly  out of harmony with even our own species and out of balance with the rest of the eco-system?

At birth we are unaware of any divisions in life, but as we become more self-aware and aware of our surroundings, we learn our name, who belongs to our family, our group, our town, our country. In many respects, this is the same among other life forms, and can be useful for helping us to fit in with our culture and to become a useful and productive member of our own society. However, to these we can add the particularly human traits that we choose to believe to be part of our identity – “I am a doctor” or even things such as “I read this newspaper” and “I go to see these types of films”, “This is my enemy, this is my friend”, “I need this, I don’t need that”.

As we become adults, we are now fully conditioned by our family, teachers, friends and society, and are keenly aware of the qualities we have which are considered weaknesses by society, and those which are considered strengths. We are judged or praised, rewarded or punished depending on our emotions and actions; we learn to ignore or hide the parts of our self that are not approved of, or do not fit in with our culture or society’s conditioning and programming. This is reinforced by so many people around us, that we come to believe that this is all I can be, and we forget or bury the other aspect of ourselves.

In many disciplines, this self is considered the false self. What can make it even more difficult, is if we are also aware that this self we are presenting to the world IS false.  In the outside world, we may think we need this false self to fit in with the system, trying to go about our business within society just as others do but inside, privately we have remained in touch with some aspect of our true self underneath the false self. We may have lived as this false self for so long that we may also not approve of what we percieve to be our true self, due to the conditioning. We even begin to think we are some kind of freak. We have learned not to trust, even doubting those who want the best for us, as we have been betrayed by others when we have confided our feelings or shown aspects of our true self to them. Is there a way back to the You that you already knew before you got so tied up in the physical world, in the expectations of society and the belief that it was the only way to exist or survive?

Yes, this conditioning and programming can be undone; it is a mistake to believe that it can’t.

We can start by unravelling our thoughts, each time we find ourselves thinking “I am this” or “I’m no good at that” “I can only do this in such a way”.  Ask yourself, do you REALLY believe that? And if so, why? Who told you that? or when did you decide that? Our thoughts are made up of stories; our mind contains so many stories from the past that shape our thinking and assumed beliefs – some from events that actually happened, and others that we made up ourselves at various points in our life, for protection or to boost our self-esteem. Because our mind has turned these thoughts into stories, we use this inner library to reference the way we act or approach the present, however much we might wish to behave differently.

By turning an inner light on these thoughts and stories, we can shed awareness on past conditioning, we can expand our consciousness and begin to rediscover and recover our true identity. We can then begin to rediscover the harmony that can be found with members of our own species, to rely on one another, to sustain one another, and even further, find our place within the eco-system. We have a choice.

9 thoughts on “Who am I? The False Self and the True Self by Jaq White

  1. That’s so true, and often we then pass on these rules, without questioning where they came from in the first place! 🙂

    It’s so easy really, as soon as we hear ourselves saying “I must” or “I should” etc. to start asking ourselves “Do I REALLY believe that, and if so, why?”


  2. Wonderful post! Really inspiring, I believe everyone has to put on a front in order to fit into society’s rules, and in doing so too much you tend to forget who you really were or what you truly stood for before hand. Thanks for your interesting thoughts.


  3. This sounds like a book that will impact my thinking a lot, so I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the recommendation.


  4. I hope you enjoy it Alex; I also think you would have a lot to add to what he has written. I use it a lot for reference, as it can be linked to many other ideas, and I’d dug it out for my next post in the Who Am I series, for his insight on relationships! I haven’t gone into how he linked it to Celtic mythology, as that part isn’t relevant to my post, but he has a lovely down to earth yet magical way of explaining things.


  5. I have not read this book, I have made a note for ordering this book, which reflects my interest of bridging ancient myths with the modern mind.


  6. Absolutely – I am passionate about this separation, and how we deny so many aspects of our natural way of ‘being’. I know you’re familiar with the Celtic mythology and wondered if you have read “Beyond the Mist” by Peter O’Connor?
    Hre’s the product description – if you haven’t read it, I recommend it

    “Ancient mythology can be seen as a source of understanding of the universal themes and conflicts that have beset human beings throughout time, such as the transitory nature of life, the inevitability of separateness, and the existence of the personal and collective unconscious. Beyond the Mist is an introduction to Irish mythology which also explores its contemporary relevance to the mysteries, unknowns and vicissitudes of life. It explores the various divine and other figures as symbolic aspects of the individual psyche and the unconscious mind, while providing insights into these repressed aspects of our inner life and suggesting appropriate ways of relating to and integrating these qualities. The distinguished psychologist Peter O’Connor shows us Irish mythology in all its fascinating richness, and shows how it can be mined for the wisdom it provides.”



  7. Great insights here. We in theory are the reflection of nature, thus we still have the strife as well as the creativity. The additional strife is caused by separation from nature, ourselves and our community.


  8. i like this post 😛 the thing is, I find myself in your post in the sense that I can relate to whatever you have said to my previous posts. I love the way you think and I would have like to come to spain but I live too far away and I have no cash:P Keep it up..:) Special like from Mauritius


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