A Comparison between the True Self and False Self

True Self, False Self

The comparison between the true self, false self is vastly different. The false self seeks security and significance by what it HAS, what it DOES and what others THINK of it. It finds its identity in the idealized self (the self it wants others to think it is). This identity is achieved by means of pretense and practice and is maintained by its own effort and by control. When you put on the false self it's like wearing a mask - no one can see the "real you".

In his book Street Wisdom, Albert Hooltz gives us a visual picture of the risks of the false self that can be seen in the story of the baby crab. The baby crab has an irresistible temptation for discarded bottles that lay on the ocean floor. The little creature…glides easily through the bottle’s mouth to discover an enclosed world that offers everything it needs: plenty of organic debris to eat, shelter from strong currents, and, best of all, protection from the countless predators who feed on young crabs. Delighted, it makes itself at home, and begins to thrive in the cosy surroundings. After some weeks, however, when instinct tells it the time has come to migrate, it crawls confidently to the opening, expecting to swim back out the way it came in. That’s when it discovers the ghastly price of that time of perfect security: it’s grown too big to fit through the neck of the bottle! In a terrible ironic twist that (seemingly) safe shelter now becomes a death chamber; its protective shield will be its coffin.

The true self seeks security and significance by being deeply loved by God. Its fulfillment is found in an unbelievable way - in surrender to God. It bases its identity in who it is and who it is becoming-in Christ. Instead of its own efforts and control, it is maintained by grace.

Here is some helpful comparisons between the true self, false self:

Common Behavioral Traits of the TRUE SELF:
1. Alert, awake, aware

2. Mood is generally "up" and "light"

3. Usually realistically optimistic

4. Focused, clear, and centered

5. Compassionate, kind, forgiving

6. Firm, strong, motivated, purposeful

7. Calm, serene, peaceful

8. Usually has a long-range focus - accepts delayed gratification

9. Balances long and short-term payoffs

10. Usually patient, persistent, committed

11. Appreciative, grateful, "glass half-full"

12. Empathic, sensitive, genuinely respectful

13. Spiritually open, aware, "connected," receptive, growing

14. Consistently self-nurturing without egotism

15. Genuine, honest, open, direct

16. Respectfully assertive

17. Socially engaged and active

18. Physically healthy: balanced diet, exercise, work and rest; preventive checkups

19. Spontaneously expressive of all emotions, without major anxiety or guilt

20. Able to form genuine bonds with others

21. Able to judge who to trust and distrust with what

22. Realistically self-responsible

23. Usually realistic about life and situations

24. Spontaneously able to exchange love

25. Comfortable receiving merited praise

26. Often able to forgive self and others

27. Frequently includes others in his or her “awareness bubble”

28. Seldom gives double messages

29. Able to grieve losses spontaneously

30. Seeks self-guided people and high-nurturance settings

31. Evolving and living a clear life-purpose

32. Work, play, and rest are generally balanced

Common Behavioral Traits of the FALSE SELF:
(Compare these traits numerically with the above list)

1. Fuzzy, distracted, confused, numb

2. Often "heavy," "down," gloomy, manic

3. Usually pessimistic or idealistic

4. Confused, vague, unfocused

5. Blaming, critical

6. indecisive, anxious, unsure, cautious

7. "Upset," scared, angry, guilty, ashamed

8. Usually has a narrow, short-term focus

9. Usually seeks immediate gratification

10. Often impatient, impulsive, uncommitted

11. Bitter, jealous, resentful, "half empty"

12. Selfish, arrogant, disrespectful

13. Spiritually unaware, skeptical, closed, scornful, or uninterested

14. Consistently self-neglectful

15. Dishonest, indirect, sly, controlling

16. Timid, apologetic or aggressive

17. Isolated or compulsively social

18. Physically unhealthy; relies on prescribed or self-medication

19. Anxious, guilty, or blocked about feeling and/or expressing some or all emotions

20. Difficulty forming true (vs. pseudo) bonds

21. Difficulty discerning who to trust with what

22. Notably over- or under-responsible

23. Frequent distortions and denials

24. Difficulty giving and/or receiving real love

25. Uncomfortable receiving merited praise

26. Difficulty forgiving self and/or others

27. Often focuses only on her/himself or a 1-person "bubble"

28. Often gives double messages

29. Difficulty grieving on one to three levels

30. Unconsciously prefers wounded people and low-nurturance settings

31. Unclear on or indifferent to a life purpose

32. Work, play, and rest are often unbalanced

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