What Are the Pseudo Self and Solid Self?
We all have both a pseudo self and a solid self (also referred to as the true self).
The pseudo self is like the persona or mask that we wear for the world that’s based on its standards, expectations, and demands for who we should or shouldn’t be. The pseudo self seeks external approval and behaves in a way that’s going to be received well by others or at least not rejected.
The solid self, on the other hand, is that inner authentic core within us that’s based on the things that we truly think, feel, believe, and want for ourselves in our lives. It’s internally guided and internally validated.
Having a pseudo self is a normal part of being human. We all have one and it develops in early childhood when we’re still dependent on our caregivers to meet our survival needs — normally our physical and emotional needs. We have to meet their expectations and conform to their standards because we depend on them to survive.
This is also true for society — we do depend on society to an extent to provide for our survival needs. At the end of the day, we are a social species and our interdependence with other members of our species is undeniable. Thus, we learn to morph and contort ourselves to meet the standards of others in exchange for some of our needs getting met.
But as we grow up and become more capable of meeting our own needs, it becomes more important to live from our solid self, because living from our pseudo self can be incredibly emotionally taxing and impact our mental health and well-being.
It can also make it so that we don’t relate authentically in our relationships, so our relationships aren’t as authentic and fulfilling as they could be. And, living from our pseudo self can stunt our growth and development through the course of our lives, so we never reach our fullest potential.
Evolving Into Our Solid Self
Part of our personal evolution in our adult lives requires that we practice living more from our solid self, which takes hard work and intentional effort. It’s also not always going to be comfortable.
There are three main ways to practice living more from your solid self:
- Learn how to be more emotionally independent. Depend on yourself to manage your emotionally difficulties and meeting your emotional needs instead of putting them in the hands of others.
- Learn how to validate and approve of yourself so that you’re not living based on the definitions and judgments of others.
- Define your own principles and values and practice living by them, even — and especially — when it gets hard to do so.
A Final Note
If you have been living a life that’s mostly from your pseudo self, this process might entail losing some relationships or dealing with reactions from people who are you used to you being a certain way and all of the sudden you’ve changed.
Learning to live more from our solid self is lifelong journey. It’s built from small, intentional, and consistent habits practiced over the long-term. It can get hard sometimes, but it’s a life-giving pursuit.
Living more from the solid self brings greater levels of mental health and well-being, more authentic and fulfilling relationships, and helps us reach our greatest potential in our unique lifetime.
Take your time and embrace the journey!
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