In the pursuit of personal and perpetual self-improvement let us try this analysis of the separation of ‘who‘ you are from ‘what‘ you are.
When one is put down or negative qualities and characteristics are exposed, the normal human reaction is to shut down, feel bad, guilty about themselves, then to defend and then attack for the purpose of avoiding seeing that one did something wrong, because obviously if one is bad, one will be rejected.
The core need of the human being is companionship, to be accepted and loved and part of someone or some group of people, someone else you belong to. If there is anything wrong with us, we feel we will be rejected which goes against our core need of companionship and so the animal instinct jumps in to protect and self preserve and does the easiest and quickest things possible to counteract the perceived attack and recover the feeling of self worth.
Needless to say, that keeps one the same. Life then continues to be the same, same events, same results. In the pursuit of actually improving ones being, let us explore scientifically the difference between ‘who‘ you are and ‘what’ you are.
‘Who’ you are is the consciousness that was born into your body, so you can call that your soul or essence, any name you want, but every parent who has multiple children will say how each one was born with a different personality. There is definitely something that each of us are born with in respect to character and personality, essence, soul, WHO you are, the ‘Who‘.
As soon as you are conceived, your parents start planning. Are you a boy or girl, pink or blue room, what will you do when you grow up, who will you marry, will you have many children, etc. and we will teach you to be a good Christian (to hate Jews and Muslims, or be a Jew (to hate Muslims) or Muslim (to hate everyone even their own other sects), or to love everyone equally without separation to race, sex, colour or creed, (anyone get those parents?) Whatever they believe in, you are set on your path before you even took your first breath. That is ‘What‘ you are.
Of course, with all their best intentions, your parents have messed you up with their own fixed opinions and ‘what‘ you are becomes distorted by your parents love for you. Everyone is subject to the same thing.
All of that is the ‘what you are’ and the ‘what’ is the problem. When one differentiates between the ‘who‘ that is really you and without flaw, and the formed but flawed ‘what‘ in need of refinement you are, you can start to accept all criticism, and even explore yourself to find what you are doing wrong, because it is very rare to find a true friend who will stick with you and show you your flaws so you can improve yourself.
Accepting and differentiating the ‘who’ from the ‘what’ with the willingness and desire to change allows you to accept all criticism objectively without defending yourself and attacking the other person to avoid being exposed for your flaws. If you are not exposing your flaws, you will never be able to fix them.
As the saying goes; “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” goes the same with the ‘what’ you are. If you refuse to see what is broken or defective in your personality, it is as if nothing is wrong and if nothing is wrong, then obviously there is nothing to fix.
A human will live that way simply because it is too painful and scary to accept and see what is wrong with oneself.
By accepting this, maybe you can accept what is wrong with you, accept criticism without attacking and defending and avoiding, and in that process to objectively observe your words, actions, mannerisms and characteristics and make some progress towards the refinement, perfection and mastery of the ‘what’ you are so that the ‘who’ can finally live relaxed and open and free in the comfort of getting what it needs; true companionship.
When that happens, one will find their whole life experience changes because instead of living in fear and avoidance and denial, you can begin to live in truth and in that truth about yourself and humanity you may find a little bit happier life.
The next article will talk about how to make this change happen.