The Subtlety of Self-RespectMaureen McCaldin
We create an external personality which we call the ego from the external and material influences of our lives and it is the ego that is the source of our sorrow and lack of self respect. The self, the soul, the real I, is already perfect, a peaceful, loving, wise and happy being, infinitely worthy of respect. It is the soul that gives life to the body but we cannot see the soul so the subtlety of the soul has become unfamiliar.
The natural qualities of the self, the soul, are peace, love and happiness and we come into the drama of life in a body in order to express and experience those qualities. The real I is eternal and nothing outside can cause it harm. We are then able to say that we don’t mind what happens in life because we are coming from a place of deep internal security. This security enables us to live our lives in self respect, sometimes called self sovereignty. That self respect comes from the subtle being, the soul.
The real I is a being of light like a star. The real I is not what you see in the mirror. We are used to relating to the material world so we need to make a lot of effort to realise the subtlety of the self – unlimited, eternal, non-physical. The real I owns nothing, has no needs, no desires. Of course we look after the body properly as a trustee because the body has needs – food, shelter, warmth, etc.. The soul, the real I, is subtle but we have to work hard to stay in that unfamiliar awareness.
Where does the ego come from?
The ego uses the past to create a sense of identity. Then that ego identity cuts us off from our real identity, the soul, the self. The ego is not who we are but it sustains itself by identifying with and taking sustenance from our possessions, beliefs, opinions and relationships in life.
EGO AND EXPECTATIONS
Why does the ego create expectations?
The ego creates expectations about how it would like others and life to be because it seeks constant reassurance that it is real and worthy of respect. But we do not know what others will say or do and so we become anxious, even stressed, if others do not fulfil our expectations.
Do we need approval?
In the ego identity, we develop an attitude of approval seeking for reassurance but that creates dependencies. By creating dependencies, we give away our power to the other. In any case, what others say or think of us is only their opinion and is not who we are.
SOURCE OF SELF RESPECT
Where does self respect come from?
Self respect comes from inside the self not from others’ opinions. Our purpose is of being – expressing the real self, the soul, as we really are and not trying to fulfil other people’s version of life.
How can we create stabilty?
The soul and its qualities are eternal. From this position of security, we can accept the self in all circumstances. When we have done our best, what others think need not affect us. Only we are the accurate judges of our thoughts, words and actions.
How can we sustain our self respect?
We are much loved children of God. His love is eternal and unconditional. He is our source of sustenance. Because we are worthy of His love, we are always worthy of respect. He is the eternal source of everything we have ever searched for. He says, “Become like Me. Link your mind to Mine and I will give you power Make Me your Companion and I will give you strength.”
Just as God is extremely subtle so is the soul, the real I, extremely subtle. We need to go inside, turn our thoughts inwards and emerge our feelings of peace and love and hold that subtlety when we interact with others and while we perform the actions required in our lives. Then our self respect becomes constant and natural.