The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Want 2 Meet the Real U?

There is a very very wise man (he’s actually a Franciscan monk but don’t let religion stop you from hearing his message) who does a pretty amazing job of explaining who we are and who we are not and how we get to meet who we really are deep inside.

His name is Father Richard Rohr and if you don’t want to take my word for how cool he is, he was also recently on Oprah which is a pretty good endorsement of his message (at least if you think Oprah has her finger on the pulse of what’s important in the universe which I think she pretty much does but I digress.)

Anyway, I’m writing about Fr. Rohr today because even though you’re a teen and most people don’t discover him until they’re older, I think he’s someone you should know about now. I don’t always immediately understand a lot of what he talks about (because it’s tough stuff that makes you think which is always a good thing) but one of his most important messages (IMHO) is about the False or Shadow Self and the True Self. It’s about who we really are deep down inside. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty exciting! (Terrifying, but exciting.)

Basically, the Shadow Self is this image of ourselves that we build up over the years (and this is ok, it’s a necessary part of the process) but it’s not who we really are. Our shadow self (or False Self) is all of our stuff, our accomplishments, the face we present to the world. It’s the house we build up around ourselves but it’s not the core of who we are inside. It’s not our soul or spirit and to meet your soul or spirit or True Self, you have to struggle. I’m sorry. It’s true. But understanding this now as a teen is going to save you a whole lot of angst in the future because hopefully you will recognize that dealing with your struggles is actually a gift. It’s a way of becoming the real You!

Fr. Richard sums it up nicely in one of his recent daily meditations:

“Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with your shadow. I wish someone had told me that when I was young. It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way.”

So the next time something happens that challenges you or hurts you or pushes your buttons, don’t fight it. Don’t try to avoid it. Take a deep breath and realize that struggling is actually the way to meet the real you. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty exciting (and certainly makes it at least a tiny bit easier to deal with the tough stuff!)

Now you tell me. Have you gotten glimpses of your True Self after going through something tough? Would you do it again?

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