Question: If the self-image is the problem that you say it is, why is it so difficult to get rid of? Why isn’t the soul more assertive?
I have pointed out that I prefer to use the term self-image over ego because it encompasses more than we’ve been programmed to think. I think we could all agree that an inflated ego is a spiritual hindrance worthy of letting go. Few would agree that a shining self-image is as much a hindrance to the soul as the inflated ego. The reason for this is that everybody loves the shining self-image, the effervescent personality. Couple this with an attractive body and a pretty face and you have a winning combination, a magnet for success.
The self-image, in whatever form it comes, is our interpretation of a version of the self we think the world wants to see. It may be totally free of the characteristics we associate with an aggressive ego. It may be sweet, completely docile and give the impression that it thinks only of others. What the world cannot see is that this type self-image can be just as hungry for the approval of others as can the flamboyant egotist. Sweet or brash, neither self-image rests in the soul. Both are seeking compensation for the feeling that something essential is missing. They just go about it in different ways.
It is probably a mistake to set out to “get rid” of the self-image. We will more likely end up exchanging one version for another. The self-improvement industry is loaded with techniques designed to boost the self-image into a more polished look. It has, for example, become wildly popular to teach self-love as a healthy place to begin. Granted, loving your created self feels better than loathing it, but it does not free you of the need to continually try to escape it. Self-love, you hope, will somehow manifest as better conditions that will make you a happier person. Women in particular are targeted with this type of propaganda, encouraged to roar shamelessly to somehow prove their worth. It looks like an inside-out approach, but it’s really not. It’s just more noise from the inadequate self-image.
The ability to discern the difference between the soul and the self-image is critical to moving the I to its proper spiritual foundation. If you’re trying to change yourself to a more spiritual version, you are probably acting amiss. Your soul resides at the purest, easiest most natural level of your being. You don’t create it. You don’t enhance it. You find it. Until you find it, your value system will be grounded in this surface self forever in need of something more to make it feel okay.
If you were abused as a child or as a spouse, you may struggle with issues of worthiness. Trying to build worthiness into your self-image takes you away from the very source of power and self-worth that has always been yours. The soul is in no need of improvement or reinventing. The more you open your mind to its presence, the more you experience a natural shift in values. You will spend less time propping up an eternally inadequate self-image and more time practicing what it really means to let your genuine light shine.