02 Feb You Have Inner Gold – Part One: the Dilemma
You have inner gold. If you’re willing to find out, this is for you: Dr. Maria Nemeth’s guide to discovering the inner truth about you.
“Finding the Best Inside will help you discover the inner you and to release your natural energy in such a way that your life will be changed markedly, for good and forever.”
— Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis
Hello! Thank you for coming to this week’s issue on your “inner gold.” This article is the first of two parts on the subject. You can expect the second part on March 10th since I am on hiatus between this issue and then.
Are you willing to discover the natural energy that lives inside you? Your answer might be an automatic “yes.” However, the question could challenge how you have created your inner viewpoint. For example, you might say that if you don’t go on a quest to find the Best Inside of you, you could more easily rest in an old self-image as someone whose life’s events have somehow affected you in such a way as to limit you and your choices.
When we don’t answer “yes” to the above question, we could end up experiencing the following:
“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”
— Howard Thurman, theologian, and civil rights leader.
One Model for Examining Who We Think We Are
The Pretense Layer
In this framework, there are three aspects to who we think we are, represented by a circle with two rings and a center. The first ring on the outside represents who we are pretending to be. We can call it the Pretense level. We all have this one. You can see a lot of this Pretense at business conferences where we all want to project the image of a successful business person while secretly feeling less optimistic about ourselves. For example, it’s how we hope to be pictured by colleagues who we haven’t seen in a long time. And when these people ask how we’re doing, we invariably say, “Great!”
Have you gone to reunions where you haven’t seen people in years? I remember what happened before my class reunion at Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona. I hadn’t been with my friends in over ten years. I wanted to look good, so I tried to fit into my old Levis, the ones I’d saved from graduation.
It didn’t work! I don’t remember what I wore to the event. However, I remember many of my high school friends saying, “Maria, you haven’t changed a bit!” Of course, I had changed! We were all saying the same thing to each other. But it did bolster my Pretense for another ten years! Except at that next reunion 20 years after graduation, my friends still said I hadn’t changed, albeit with less spontaneous energy.
Come on! I could not fit into anything approximating the size I wore when I was 16. After all, by then, I was 37, beginning to experience the almost inevitable age-appropriate spread on my derrière!
The Fear Layer
The next layer of the circle reflects who we are afraid we are! It’s appropriately called the Fear layer. It’s the whole reason behind our Pretense layer.
Let’s look at it this way: what’s happening for us at this layer? That’s where we fear that secretly we’re a phony, a fraud, trying to fool others into believing something we don’t believe in ourselves. That’s where the famous phrase Imposter Syndrome comes from. As uncomfortable as it feels, it’s essential to know that most of us go through this at some point in our lives.
Fear is a normal response due to our need to belong. We all want to feel accepted by some group and are afraid that we might become an outcast if we show any weakness. This response is a holdover from thousands of years ago when being part of a group kept us alive and protected from the dangers that surrounded us.
One salient feature of our brain is the tendency to give more weight to negative experiences than positive ones. It’s called the Negativity Bias. There’s been much research into this phenomenon in the past few years. The bottom line is that we look for danger before rewards. You can easily see how this bias allowed us to adapt to a world 50,000 years ago when we stayed alive more by looking for predators than food outside our cave.
Today, this inherent Negativity Bias turns inward. That is, we are more interested in what isn’t working in our life than what is working.
The Golden Truth
In the circle’s center lies who we really are! It lies at the heart of what it is to be a human being. Let’s call it the Golden Truth about you! Are you willing to find your own?
Emmet Fox, a noted author and metaphysician, once wrote an allegory about fools’ gold, the shiny material that looks so much like gold that you can’t tell the difference. He said new prospectors waste time and hard work before they see that it’s not genuine, much like the Pretense level we examined earlier. How could you tell the real thing? Advice from experienced miners to the novice was that if they thought they’d found gold, they probably hadn’t because when they did find gold, they’d know it for sure.
Part 2, on March 10, will examine a way to discover the inner truth about you. Be prepared to be open to the possibility that there is nothing wrong with you. That there has never been anything wrong with you. That it’s all been a fabrication that the brain used long ago to keep us alive. It was the result of a survival strategy that is no longer required.
“By placing your happiness onto something external, you may forget that feeling happy is something that comes from inside, and can be found by looking inward, rather than waiting for an external action to trigger it.”
— Tania Diggory, founder of Calmer