Who are you? Who are you really? Who or what is the real you, the very core of your being, how do you find it and even more important, how do you live it?
Chances are that you've clicked on this webpage not long after looking at yourself in a mirror. You might have seen yourself while out driving somewhere, or caught sight of you in a mirror while visiting the bathroom, or you might have got up in the morning and had a shave, or put on make up, or washed your face, and you've looked at yourself in the mirror.
The chances are you're not going to see a 'true' or accurate image of who you really are when you look in a mirror. For a start the image of you the mirror is reflecting back to you is back to front or reversed from how other people see you. You get a more accurate image if you take a selfie but even then you get an image from a digital camera lens which also won't give you a true, accurate picture unless you have a very good camera, and even then the lens won't be as good as picking out all kinds of details and imperfections as the human eye, but however a camera lens won't come with all the different issues and biases which come from all the social and mental conditioning that you and everyone else get put through from the time you can move independently and form words.
The point here is that while you may look in a mirror for some kind of reassurance, for example that you look good, or that you're beautiful, or attractive, or that you look neat, or (if you're a woman) that your bum doesn't look too big or your make up is on right, or (if you're a man) you look okay or you're not going to nick yourself shaving, getting a very real or accurate picture of who you really are isn't always that simple or straightforward. For a start it's not something that you should be looking for, but what we refer to as your true or real self is something that you need to feel and instinctively know. It's not going to be something that you will find from either a mirror, or a camera.
Just to illustrate the pervasive power of social conditioning and the effect that it has on our psyche, imagine that you walk into a class of three year olds and you ask them "Who is the smartest here?". Chances are all the kids are going to raise their hands and yell out "Me! Me! Me." Yet if you walk into a classroom full of say eight year olds and you ask the same question chances are you'll get a brief silence before all the kids point to one kid and say "Him." or "Her." While you get taught many useful things at school, such as how to read, how to write, how to count and do mathematics, you also get taught a lot of things which serve no useful purpose in your life and you're not taught arguably the most important thing of all - discipline of faculty.
Discipline of faculty is incredibly important, because it teaches you how to control and gain mastery over your powers of memory and imagination. Human beings differ from other species in the animal kingdom for two main reasons. Firstly where most animals are exclusive humans are naturally inclusive, and secondly we have mental capabilities unmatched by any other species in the animal kingdom. The two main features of our mental powers are a very powerful memory system and also a very powerful, vivid imagination.
This remains a serious flaw in our education system. If you reach the age of say 16 unable to properly use your hands, or walk properly, you would be considered to have special needs and have a disability. Within the US criminal justice system if you have an IQ of less than 70 you are regarded as being intellectually disabled and cannot be subjected to the death penalty. The criteria is that you cannot tie your shoelaces, dress yourself properly, and have severe issues with motor coordination and movements just as an example. But you can complete your education and leave school without gaining mastery over your mind, your emotions and how you express yourself and nobody says a dicky bird.
Now, please, think about this. You are born with an incredibly powerful mind, but if you are not taught or educated to learn or understand anything about how that mind actually works, then how can you understand how to use it? Furthermore how are you going to understand anything or anyone else in life if you cannot properly understand yourself or how your mind works? Imagine you were given a top of the range 5G smartphone or an incredibly powerful computer, surely you would at least browse the instructional manual before using it? But incredibly there are many people who just don't bother to learn or understand with any depth how their mind works, and many people seem to go through life on autopilot relying on what they were taught at home or at school. Almost invariably they run into issues, issues at work, issues in relationships, issues with themselves, and as a result their lives become progressively harder and more complicated as they grow older. It really doesn't have to be this way.
When we refer to remarkable people we are referring to individuals and not necessarily commercially or financially successful people but people who have been successful at achieving whatever they set out to do what you will find that tyhe one thing they have in common is that they have nothing in common.
We're not just talking about the people who work in corporations, in politics, in finance, in business, in the media, or the entertainment industry, we are referring to people who you can find throughout society. The people who run the local residents association, the woman who does the shopping for her elderly neighbours, very many volunteers who work on the frontlines in charities and social enterprises, the people-focussed prisoners who keep the lines of information and cooperation functioning, keeping both other prisoners and prison guards safer, the trustees on small social enterprises, the activists who give up great amounts of their free time, energy and resources pursuing a dedicated cause. These are people who are not doing it for the money, the notoriety, the kudos, the fame, or the prestige - these are the people who are driven by something deep inside them and they have found their particular niche at the right time in their lives.
What we're referring to are all the people who figured out the unique gift, or the specific resonance or vibration of natural energy that they were endowed with as they were born, they've managed to figure out what that gift or vibration is, and how it works, and they have found a way to place it front and centre in everything they do, and everything they set out to do. They have discovered that what makes them unique, their essence, and they have found a way to make it serve both them and other people. Here we are referring to something much more than mere talent.
It's important to understand that you are born as a complete human being and a member of a species - that human species is part of a complex biosphere which has been evolving over billions of years. If you want to get deeper into this you can also read Everything really is connected but suffice to say you are born complete with everything you need for your life somewhere deep inside you. This includes the master key to your life, that specific resonance or vibration of energy which connects you to others, which if you manage to find it the flow of your life (the things which happen to you) and what you do in life (your choices, decisions and actions) become pretty much one and the same thing.
Now you may be reading this as being remarkable and successful yourself, so you will understand this without much need for explanation, or you might not. If you haven't yet found your niche or you're still trying to cobble together some kind of life based on what other people have suggested or told you to do, or you're pursuing something material or physical such as money, prestige or fame, and it's not apparent to you who you really are or what the purpose of your life is, then the only difference between you and the remarkable, successful people out there is that they have found the master key to their life, and you still need to find your's.
What this 'master key' indicates to you isn't what you should do in life, or your job or career. What it shows you is how you need to be doing what it is you do. Please bear in mind here that the master key is a metaphor for energy, a vibration or resonance of energy which vibrates or resonates with other people. The work or job you do, or your career is largely a matter of your interests, your passion, your motivation, that what you enjoy and makes you leap out of bed in the morning, the 'what' in your life. But the master key specifically relates to how you do what you do.
Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler are both exceptional guitar players, but they don't play the guitar the same way, do they? Likewise Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin are both female singers. But can you see Chrissie Hynde singing soul or R & B? This comes down to style, a certain charisma, something you do in your own way which is unmistakably you, which other people recognize as you, and which other people appreciate because it is you. It also doesn't need to be something grandiose as a rock tune or a song. It could be the way you cut hair, make spaghetti bolognaise, decorate a room, even put together a salad. Please consider that anyone can get a cleaning job, but the people who tend to be good at keeping cleaning jobs are those people who develop a certain style and a mastery of techniques.
It's these specific resonances and vibrations, and being able to find them, which is what many people describe as someone being larger than life'. It's ridiculous of course to claim that anyone is larger than life, because we are our lives, there can be no comparison. This is the whole concept of the Principle and the Process created in the video on our Home Page, you are the principle of your life, which is the process of creativity and interaction which takes place in your life. What is the Principle - you - if it's not the sum total of the process? But what people are referring to when they say someone is 'larger than life' is that someone vibrates or resonates with them, they stand out, they catch the attention and draw attention to themselves through the energy they give off.
Most people don't do this and this is often because generally people don't take anywhere as much space and energy as they need to so as to really make something of their lives. There's plenty of space out there in the universe, because the universe is all about creativity and interaction. But all too often people generally box themselves in taking up as little space as possible. Many are either trying to fit into a hopelessly dysfunctional socioeconomic system, or they are far more focussed on trying to change the system or other people, and trying to change their environment rather than looking inward.
This is not how the universe works. Understanding how the universe works is dead simple - it works on the basis of creativity and interaction. Creativity always starts from deep within the individual and is expressed outwards. A plant grows out of the soil. A tree grows out of the earth. Leaves grow out of the branches. The tree breathes in carbon dioxide to create wood out of carbon and oxygen which it breathes out for us to breathe. Creativity and interaction. Likewise you need to take up the space and resources from the universe and make something of it with your life so as to interact, or resonate with other people. You see when you see someone who has found their niche they are living in complete alignment with the whole universe. It's always something remarkable to witness or experience for this very reason.
We're not going to lie to you or try and pull the wool over your eyes by claiming there is an easy way to figure out your Principle and Process and find your master key to life. There isn't. It takes a certain amount of courage, you need also support from others - because creativity doesn't happen without interaction, just as interaction doesn't happen without creativity - the same universal principle applies. Individuality is developed together with empathy which is why we're selling you individuality together with empathy - it comes as a package deal. This is all about depth of connection and awareness, both of yourself and others and you sometimes have to dig deep to make progress. But there is also always a benefit, because there is usually a payoff, you gain in experience, you gain in insight, you gain in awareness, and because these things remain part of your conscious perspective - the core of who you really are and your being - they remain with you for a very long time.
You see once you have achieved it, you cannot lose your individuality. You can only surrender it, but not lose it. You also gain that freedom, because once you have found your niche, your resonance, your vibration, and can make use of it, then other people will want it too. This is something that few of those who are too afraid to stand out or be themselves ever get to achieve in life. Those who are too afraid to be themselves in life will always be resigned to working for and serving those who are not afraid.
There is also a moral aspect to individuality. Much of the suffering, cruelty and inhumanity which has taken place throughout the course of human history has not come about as a result of individuality or non-conformity, but rather the opposite. Adolf Hitler would not have got anywhere near the sort of power he enjoyed without the ideology or the conformity of millions upon millions of people to that ideology. Of course this is not a guarantee that not conforming is morally superior to conformity, because there's plenty of people in prisons who also weren't great at conformity either, but if you're choosing to be a follower you not only abdicate personal choice and responsibility to other (through surrendering your individuality) but you've also got to be very careful not to be compromised by others.
Now we could have easily got very motivational here and decided to pump you up with lots of images of great people. But that would be missing the point completely. Being yourself has got nothing to do with pumping yourself up, or beating your chest, developing a planet sized Ego, or crafting a persona. It's got absolutely nothing to do with developing self-esteem or being fake. Don't ever think about going down that path. Here's why. While we as a community promote empathy as a skill which needs practice, development and opportunities, it's also a natural ability that 99% of the population are born with. Empathy is about connection and authenticity. It doesn't matter how good you think you are, or think you're being, if you're being fake or bigging yourself up other people will see through it. Most won't tell you or give you any indication that they see through you. They will simply ghost you. Not only that some will tell others about you. Besides the people who you attract through your fake strategy will be just as fake as you are. This is a no win strategy.
There's no two ways round this you have to make a serious, honest and genuine commitment to yourself. Being the natural you takes effort, it takes investment and it takes commitment. At the very least you need to commit to talking your talk, walking your walk and living your truth. You need to be able to to this in a way in which what you think and what you believe matches up with what you say and how you express yourself, and also, just as importantly, what you do and how you treat other people. The last part is especially important because so many different people are going to judge you on that part alone.
Being the natural you needs to become your full time occupation and to continue being that way until it becomes so ingrained in your psyche that you don't even have to think about it - simply because you're being it and living it. By all means pick out your models and your heroes or heroines, learn from them, study them, emulate them even, but make sure you don't copy them. Keep in mind that your task and the whole pooint is not to be anything like them, but to be different from them. Your job is to be you, and only you, and nobody else.
Your only job while you're on this planet and breathing is to be as good at being you as anyone remarkable is at being them. That's the deal.
This is something we'd like you to think about. How many times have you heard or been given the advice "Just be yourself."? We feel that this is one of the most useless pieces of advice there is out there. For a start just being yourself makes it sounds as if this is something easy, or simple or straightforward. The second thing is this advice is often given to people as if they haven't thought about it themselves. Tom has spent his whole life doing what he can to be Tom. He doesn't want to be Clive, or John, or Mary.
The thing about being yourself, and being in the world, the minute you showed up, or were conceived, incarnated, or born, you were handed down a life sentence. Only you don't know exactly how long you have. You might have got 75 years, or 27 years, or 85 years. None of us have any idea of how long we have got. Although where you are born, when you are born, to whom you are born, all these things are known and they all have a certain influence or impact on how you become who you become.
So if you're born in Switzerland or somewhere deep in the shires of Southern England chances are you've got a long time to figure things out and get your shit together. But if you're born in Zimbabwe, the favellas of Sao Paolo, rural eastern Poland or certain parts of Northern England or South London - not kidding here - you may have a lot less time. It's important here not to think about life expectancy and how long you've got in the future, but what is it you actually expect from life?
What is life expecting from you? These are the far more interesting questions, don't you think?
There are two stages in life where you are excellent at being yourself.
The first stage is when you are a kid or a child. You are being yourself because you simply don't know how to be any different or how to disguise your uniqueness. This is why you sometimes see kids on the beach, sometimes naked, running around, up until the age of five. Most if not all five year olds are completely natural, completely carefree, completely spontaneous. This is what makes them lovable, because they are so natural at being themselves.
Then suddenly, around the ages of six, seven or eight, much of that individuality vanishes. They want to cover up on the beach, they start thinking things through, and they start getting into the social rituals and games of older kids and adults, but with a lot less maturity as adults simply because they don't have the life experience and unlike many adults, haven't quite figured out what's really important to them and what's not. This comes back to the points made earlier on this webpage about the effects of social conditioning and education. All that natural ability to be individual, that curiosity, innocence, spontaneity is gone and replaced by conformity and a much greater understanding of societal archetypes. Eight year old kids in a classroom know exactly who is the smart one, who is the dumb one, who is the one with money, who is the bully, and who comes from the rough council estate. They know the labels just as much as the adults do. This is why the Jesuits say "Show me a child at the age of seven and I'll show you the man."
You see it's around the age of seven that the individual conscious perspective - the core of your actual being, the centre of you and all who you are - is born. This is when certain things about you, such as your identity, your strategy for dealing with other people, how you develop interpersonal relationships, and how and whether or not you take things personally, pretty much becomes set and fixed. This is the birth of your consciousness. From that point forward you become much more self-conscious and by default, you become less competent at being yourself.
The other stage in life when you're excellent at being yourself is when you are old, simply because you cannot be arsed and are generally running low on tolerance for other people's melodrama and bullshit. You reach a point in your life when you realize that there are more summers in the past than ahead of you and everything intensifies. You become more honest and straightforward, you become less compromising, you become that much more focussed on things that matter and are important to you. You tell people "I'm not eating those Brussels Sprouts, they give me terrible wind, don't give me them, give them to the dog."
"I don't like that racket either that you call music, so you can turn it down or better still, turn it off. Oh and while we're on the subject. Look at the state of you. You look like something that's been dragged backwards through a hedge. Piss off and sort yourself out!"
We call these old people 'eccentric' because they're not willing to fit in, but what they're actually being is authentic. Big difference. But this is like some kind of hourglass effect. When you're young you're great at being you, and when you're old you're also great at being yourself. But the in between years? That's generally the most problematic part. That's the part when you have to socialize, you have to accommodate, you have to adapt, you have to find a way of fitting in somewhere.
We've developed this Core Being tool as a reference guide which you might or might find useful, simply because it would be mean of us to make you go through such a long webpage on being yourself without giving you some reference guide which you can make use of to actually take the steps needed for being yourself.
This Core Being tool is designed to dovetail somehow with the Principle and Process concept introduced in the video on our home page. It's rooted in eastern philosophy, actually Therevadaism which is the oldest extant school of Buddhism, but you don't have to go through all the Buddhism and eastern philosophy to be able to use it. This is a reference guide to help you be able to centre yourself. The Core Being above relates specifically to your unique and individual 'core' of conscious perspective. This is the real you, the you that was developing within you as you were developing as a foetus. This was the part of you that was born some years after you were physically born, when you were six, seven or maybe even eight years old. Please bear in mind that we don't get to define what your Core Being actually is, nobody does, this is something for you to define for yourself.
You can also think of the Core Being as your individual truth, something which you need to be able to talk your talk and walk your walk and connect to others through empathy and compassion. Note the all important word 'connection' is missing here, because all the words outside your Core Being relate to your Ego, which is not really you, it's just an image of you that you create out of your imagination and beliefs. Connection is missing because it needs no explanation or definition, because just like the Core Being, it just is. Can you explain or define love? Think about it.
So onto the four words, which are all illusions. None of these are real. None of them are the truth.
There's a big difference between your individual conscious perspective, which is rooted in reality, and your Ego or self-image, which isn't. Your individual conscious perspective is essentially the accumulation of your conscious experiences from your life, the various processes (Process) of creativity and interaction, what the universe actually functions on the basis of, which go together to make up the Principle - you as you are today, now, this moment in time.
It's your individual conscious perspective which connects you to other people through empathy and compassion. It's the core ingredient.
By contrast the Ego is the image of you which is created out of either memory or imagination, by you or by other people. It's not real, it's an image, rather like a photo of a tree is not the same as the actual tree. Your Ego is what you think and feel about you, based on your beliefs, and also what other people think and feel about you, also based on their beliefs.
Just as the Ego is completely different from your Core Being or individual conscious perspective, attachments are also usually different from connections. This is because attachments are based primarily on desires, things you want, and things you often convince yourself that you need because your desires, habitual or otherwise, become so strong.
Much more is written on attachments on the webpage Five things which can destroy your life but attachments can often be illusory or distract you from seeking or living your truth by leading you down some kind of rabbit hole. The differences between attachments and connections can be more nuanced than between conscious perspective and Ego, which is why many people get caught out say in the difference between love and infatuation. Likewise if you have a connection with someone which is based on empathy then you're more likely to get involved in such things as unconditional positive regard, where connection exists despite what you and the other person does, rather than if you say just have an attachment and whatever friendship or relationship you have with someone falls apart. Attachments, irrespective of whether they are emotional or psychological, tend to be more transient and far less stable than connections.
Superiority refers here to a superiority complex, the notion that you're somehow more important or better than others, that you know more, are more experienced, or that you're better than someone because you have a better job, earn more money, belong to a social class which is higher up the social hierarchy, or even that you have a particular skin colour, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or you're more able-bodied or you're somehow better or more deserving than others.
A superiority complex is essentially a psychological mindgame which is driven by the need for self-esteem and also a need for other people to compete with and put down so you can feel better about yourself. It's driven by a fragile Ego and is a clear sign of someone who has assumed or been given a position or status in life but who hasn't done the work on themselves, so they have to make the effort to assert themselves and develop their self-worth and self-esteem through playing all kinds of different mindgames and involving themselves in all kinds of melodrama.
This is someone who for some reason, be it an experience, an interaction, or even something which happened in their childhood has been drawn 'off-centre' away from their Core Being and conscious perspective, and so they get caught up in all kinds of potentially toxic cycles trying to feed their Ego and self-esteem. This can result in a messy, complicated lifestyle punctuated by lots of social conflict and struggle. The solution here isn't to try and balance things, which can lead to issues with shame and guilt, or conversely with pride, but to actually make the effort to do the work on yourself and find your centre.
Inferiority refers here to the opposite mindgames and issues to superiority, the inferiority complex, and the notion that you're not important, that you're insignificant, that you're just a tiny cog in the whole machine, and that you're not really anything special. This is the complex of being 'normal' or just trying to fit in, not make any waves, and is often characterized by settling for peace and comfort at the expense of pleasure, happiness or fulfillment.
This is the complex where nothing really works out, or where things fall apart, and you end up being disillusioned, disappointed, or you simply give up or let someone else take over.
This is also the Big Brother or Big Sister Game where you rarely make the first moves, or take the initiative, or make any effort to stand out, or do anything, and just like superiority for some reason, be it childhood, a past experience, a past relationship, an interaction, you've let yourself drift 'off-centre' and generally look for the easy way out or simply just try to stay out of the way and in the background. You need other people, to tell you what to do, to find you out, and to motivate you and drag you out of yourself. This can result in a life which is boring, uneventful, mundane, never really memorable, and like superiority is the symptom of a fragile Ego where you haven't done that much work on yourself. It's the low self-esteem version of the superiority complex.
The solution of course isn't to compensate and try to seek balance through your Ego, but to actually make the effort to do the work on becoming or being more of yourself and find a way back to your centre. Dig deeper into yourself, explore, experiment, find a community and reach out for support, because - and you might not be aware of this - actually being and maintaining your centre doesn't require that much more effort, but brings you so many benefits which can radically transform your life.
If you're looking for further reading on being yourself please check out Don't be the dummy.
Qultura is a system for figuring out your Principle and Process - the existential core of your life - through the development of empathy and community. The core principle and philosophy is simple and easy to learn.Learn more
The development of empathy is fundamental to human evolution. But to be capable of developing empathy you need to take off your societal mask and be real and prepared to live your truth.Learn more