Lindsey Walker, LMFTA – Real Girl vs. False Self

"Silly Girl" by Lindsey Walker
“Silly Girl” by Lindsey Walker

This girl is there. She (if she is real) was present for the photograph. The image is blurry. Blurry enough so that the spontaneity of genuine human expression is masked – we are not quite able to tell if she is really real. She could actually be a doll. Many photographers have used dolls or mannequins to communicate something at play in their own psyches (e.g. Valérie Belin).

Flesh or fabric, we are not sure. Yet, we can tell that the subject is a young girl. Her size and shape tell us so. Young and fake or young and real – often, adults peering into the lives of a child cannot tell.

To survive in their everyday environments, children will withdraw aspects of themselves that do not support their wellness. Adapting quickly to the world around them, the inherent wisdom of their beings kicking in to protect them, a child will create what psychology calls a “False Self.”

We all have them. You may know your False Self. Your False Self is likely running the show in the moments when you say, “yes,” though you mean “no.” It’s the part of you that’s really good at telling people exactly what they want to hear. It may even feel like you are taking care of someone.

Your False Self will create your experience a certain way – all of those yeses over time spin together a life of their own. However, somewhere inside you the faint plea of a weary being who is tired of effortful creation in service of the other survives. No, it whispers. No. As a new direction is presented, your False Self may quiver. Once seemingly solid in form, it shakes. Confliction produces confusion, which can often look and feel like a blurry mind.

Blurry. It’s the beautiful state of movement from which your True Self may emerge.

Lindsey Walker, LMFTA

First published on Lindsey’s blog, Waking The Image, on Feb. 26, 2013. 

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  1. The Long Tale of Trauma | Psychology Tomorrow MagazinePsychology Tomorrow Magazine
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