A Few Notes on Having a False Self (part 5)

I've been thinking about behaviors I displayed which can be attributed uniquely to my having a dominant False Self:

The Illusory Superiority Effect (also known as the Lake Wobegone Effect): This is the self-assessment of how competent you are at a task, or of where you stand in a ranking of your peers. Those who are very competent, or of the highest IQ, for example, tend to underestimate their standing. Those who are woefully incompetent, or who are at the bottom of the standings, tend to vastly over-rate their standing, to the point that those at the very bottom of the standing, who have never once successfully completed the task, rate themselves as above average.

This is difficult to explain without the concept of the False Self. The False Self if there to protect the True Self from pain. Well, it's painful to realize that you suck. It's also difficult to believe that you are the best in your group when your False Self has been there from infancy helping assuage the feeling that you have no value. Of as Freudians put it, the ego protects the id, the brain protects the heart.

"Fine." The second thing I want to talk about is, in some cultures, mostly those where everyone is expected to be "good," this damnable thing we all have of answering "Fine," when asked how we are. This much I know: it's never true. Ever. "Fine" is not a state of human existence. It's not even a feeling. It's probably a False Self trying to hide our feelings. Even if we are happy, elated, full of joy, we are still going to answer, "Fine," for fear of offending the other person, who may not at that moment feel good.

What I will try to do, is when I meet someone I care about, to try to engage them in a conversation, so that I can listen to what they are really feeling, beyond what they are saying. I'll use "Fine" as a marker word: when someone says they are fine, it's time to really dig into how they are feeling, because they just lied to me about how they feel, and it takes care and concern and effort to let them know I love them and want to share the pain they feel, and can understand what they are going through, and that I am trustworthy and won't use their hurt to hurt them back.

And sometimes people I care about say "Fine" because they don't know how great I am, and are trying to protect what they feel are my fragile feelings, and I need to let them know that, too. 

So if you are a person at school, or church, or the street passing me as I walk, if you say you are "Fine," expect a long conversation to follow.

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