A gem of a little book was published in the 70s. It is titled The Me Nobody Knows. I was teaching English in the inner city of Youngstown, OH, during this time and thought that it would be interesting to do an experiment with my students, using the information from this book as a guide. The objective was to allow the students to speak candidly about themselves. In order to enable them to speak openly and freely, they did not have to sign their names to the papers. I explained to the students that I was going to write a sentence on the board (we still had chalkboards in those days) and that they were to write an essay, during the class period, honestly addressing the topic.
The first time I did this with a class, I wrote on the board “HOW I SEE MYSELF.” Even though the papers were not signed, I was familiar enough with the individual writing styles of most of the students that I was able to identify which students had written many of the papers. I was amazed at the results of the experiment! As I read each paper, I had more and more concerns. Most of the papers were extremely negative in content.
The next day I informed the classes that we were going to do the same exercise again, and the new topic would be “HOW OTHERS SEE ME.” Once again, I was appalled at the low self images that my students had. These were beautiful, talented and intelligent young people, and yet they viewed themselves as ugly, useless and stupid. They further stated that other people didn’t like them and viewed them in the exact same manner that they viewed themselves!
I left the classroom many years ago to become a Metaphysical Teacher, which means that I now deal mostly with adults and adult study. However, I am still saddened by the low self image that most of us have of ourselves. Even people that seem to be egotistical and self-assured often have a deep inner core of inferiority. The more involved I become with my studies, the more I realize that our self image is one of the most important factors in being able to advance spiritually.
I always remember the wonderful advice that William Shakespeare gave in one important scene in Hamlet. I tell my students that if I could give them only one message and that they would have to take that message to heart and abide by it every day, it would be this:
“AND THIS ABOVE ALL, TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE.”
It is interesting to note that the character in Hamlet, who spoke those immortal words, was a bit of a pompous ass. In the event you need to have your memory refreshed, it was Polonius who gave this valuable advice to his son Laertes as he was departing for university.
Why is this such an important message? According to metaphysical philosophy and modern day psychology, the image that we have of ourselves is the single most important element in determining our success and happiness. As individuals, we must strive to form our own self image, as the image that others assign to us is not acceptable. In reality, however, it really doesn’t work that way. Think about where our images of self come from.
This applies to every human being: As soon as we begin to use our intellect, our self image comes under the direct influence of the people in our lives with whom we interact daily.
This is called “Race Consciousness.” The first image builders are our parents. Most parents love their children and want what is best for them, and they “program” their children to fit the image that they think is most appropriate. Hold in mind that parents, as good as their intentions may be, do not always think of what is best for the individual child’s personality. (I suggest that all parents study astrology and numerology before having children. These areas of knowledge would enable parents to recognize an individual child’s character.) After of few years of “family” indoctrination, the child begins to interact with other children. These playmates have been given different criteria for what is right and wrong. All children want to be accepted, and it is only natural for them to absorb the images of peer groups.
This continues through the childhood growth period. As we go to school, to church or synagogue, we are exposed to political doctrine and are told still other ways that will make us acceptable to other humans and to God. Now we are adults and have no clue who we really are at all! We only view ourselves as others expect us to be.
Higher spirituality teaches that we must be Self conscious, meaning to be conscious of Self. This term is confusing because we think of being self conscious as being in an uncomfortable situation. In reality, this simply means being conscious of who we really are. We are all individuals and so each and every one of us will have a different Self consciousness. My image will not work for you nor will yours work for me.
It is often easier to just let other people do the work and tell us what to think and who to be. One must travel a long road and put in plenty of work to discover his or her true Self.
I ask you to spend some time getting to know yourself. How do you see yourself? Are you satisfied with who you are? Are you really who you THINK you are? Have you always felt “different” from your family members, your peer group, your political friends, even your religious affiliation? Has being “different” secretly caused you to feel inferior? I ask you to embrace being different, to get to know yourself in a new and exciting way, to find the answers that work for you and you alone. It is not too late to change some of the negative images that others have placed upon you. There are many “paths to enlightenment.” Find your own path, the path that works for you, and “This above all, to thine own self be true.”
And remember, Knowledge is the Greatest Power, so Walk in the Light.
Marcia began her career as a school teacher, working with preschool through inner city high school students. She has worked with all aspects of Metaphysics for over 40 years and specializes in Tarot and Numerology. Marcia’s clients and students are in every state and throughout Europe. Marcia has taught over 400 students to “read” the Tarot for the purpose of self-guidance and to use the powerful symbolism of the Tarot to reach higher levels of spirituality. Her column, Spiritually Speaking, originally ran for 8 years in Attitudes Magazine. Email firstname.lastname@example.org