What Do I Want at My Core?
This question has plagued many of us because some days it feels so evasive.
What do I truly want?
My initial thought is to first establish who and what I am at my core.
First, when I think about my core, that is the deepest, most pure, soul-level I can get to. And at that level, I am connected to all of life and I am Love. I use the word Love because there is no other word that trumps Love. At my deepest core soul level, I am Love. At this level, Love permeates through every interaction and every decision. Not only do I want what’s best for me, but I also want what’s best for my partner, my children, my coworkers, and my enemies. At this core level, there are no enemies. Love manifests itself in every encounter and reaches people and places my mind cannot comprehend.
This core we say we hope to get in touch with is always only a breath away. This core of love is the same force that keeps your blood pumping through your veins. This core of love is the same force that pulls oxygen into your lungs and then exhales impurities back into the atmosphere. This core of love is the same force that caused me to pick up a pen and scribe words that may speak to your core. This core of love is deeper and more beautiful than our human mind is capable of grasping.
So, when I speak of wanting to know what you want at your core, let’s establish who you are at your core.
You are Love!
You are Peace!
You are Joy!
There’s a myth that has circulated for centuries that somehow at our core we are evil or bad. That’s nonsense! Don’t you believe for one second that you are anything but Love at your core.
Now that we’ve established who we are at our core, let’s revisit the question what do I want at my core? When you know who you are, it’s fairly simple to know what you want. If at your core you are Love, then at your core what you want is Love.
Let me clarify something here: When I say what you want at your core is love, I’m not talking about some euphoric emotion that takes over your senses like at the beginning of a relationship. We all know that’s not true love anyway. That early-relationship love that we receive from some other person is nice, but it doesn’t always last. How many of us have been in a relationship where the love was there one minute then gone the next? I have and I’m sure you have too. What do you tell yourself when one of these “superficial” kinds of love falls apart? Don’t get me wrong, there’s an expected level of pain and confusion that comes with the territory of a breakup. But just because a relationship you were in fell apart, that does not change who you are at your core.
You are Love, remember?
I have been talking to many people who are struggling with relationships lately. I had an epiphany about all this the other day. We all have a deep longing to connect at a soul-level but so many times we are met with ego-encounters.
We desire soul-connecting but experience ego-encounters.
Most people won’t need an explanation about the difference between the two, but let’s flesh it out anyway.
Soul-connecting is when two or more people are willing to shed the masks of their false selves and be genuine, authentic, vulnerable, real, and raw with one another. Soul-connecting is a lack of judgment and it is complete acceptance. Soul-connecting is graciously offering your True Self to someone and then having them offer their True Self in return. You walk away from soul-connecting on Cloud 9, energized, euphoric, and longing for more of it.
Ego-encounters, on the other hand, are what we typically experience. Our egos are reactionary immature false selves we project onto everyone around us. Our egos are the Rolodex of our false selves we shuffle through to put on the right mask in each situation. Why do we feel the need to be inauthentic in the first place? Why don’t we operate from our True Selves in every situation? Good questions. I think much of it is conditioning from our childhood where we learned early we had to act a certain way to fit in, to receive love, and to avoid discipline. We learned it was easier to adapt to our environment than to force our environment to adapt for us.
We experience these ego-encounters when our false selves bump up against other false selves. Ego-encounters are fake, inauthentic, reserved, self-protecting, and full of judgment. There’s a thickness or heaviness in the conversation that feels like something serves as a barrier. When we have ego-encounters, our natural instinct is to protect ourselves, be defensive, watch what we say, and lash out with our own egos to prove the other ego wrong. Most times, we walk away from ego-encounters feeling exhausted, as though our energy was zapped from us. In fact, it requires so much of our energy to operate from our false selves that we do physically and emotionally feel exhausted.
I find myself consistently drawn to soul-connecting. As I continue to reflect on what I truly want at my core, I am reminded of the importance soul-connecting has in all our lives. All too often in our intimate relationships we assume this soul-connecting will just naturally go on to infinity until we wake up one day and scratch our head trying to remember the last soul-connection we’ve experienced with the stranger inhabiting our space. After weeks turn into months, eventually we come to realize we are living alone—together. This is the first cue in intimate relationships that a checkup may be in order. The soul-connecting silently turned to ego-encounters and soon we’re left starving for connection. Two people who once regularly finished one another’s sentences have become strangers that pass each other in the hall and only speak when discussing groceries or schedules.
If you have a long-lasting relationship that has never regressed to strictly ego-encounters, count yourself very lucky. It’s rare for relationships to not naturally drift into ego-encounters being the norm.
Many of us have been—past or present—in the wasteland of ego-encounters that turned into breakup or divorce. It’s such a difficult place to be and one that feels at the time will last forever. It’s so easy to look at the other party and blame them for everything that went wrong. Many times, breakups and divorces turn into nothing more than ego-encounters on steroids. Remembering that at our core we all want Love and soul-connecting, that makes both parties in a breakup longing for the same thing. In some cases, however, it’s alright to accept the soul-connecting is too difficult between two people who have exhausted all options. Yes, sometimes the most loving thing you can do for yourself is to let someone go. Marriage is not meant to be a prison sentence and a relationship stripped of all soul-connecting sounds a lot like prison to me.
Recently, I came across the work of Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. and his Internal Family Systems (IFS) model. There’s too much to IFS to explain here, but one of the things that jumped out at me immediately was his description of who we are at our core. He described our core as our True Self—capital “S” Self—as having these 8 characteristics:
If these 8 characteristics aren’t present in what you’re thinking and feeling, chances are you’re not operating out of your True Self. IFS goes on to describe other parts we sometimes operate out of, but the focus of this post is the core True Self. We have been asking that since the first sentence—What do I want at my core?
I want to encourage you for a minute before we go our separate ways. If you’re going through a breakup or you find yourself in a hackneyed relationship full of empty ego-encounters, please don’t give up hope in yourself. The relationship may be all-but-over but your desire for soul-connecting is still alive. Seek out those soul-connections and focus your energy on the 8 characteristics of your True Self. Spend as much time as possible with others who desire soul-connecting and who effortlessly live from their core True Selves. If those people aren’t in your tribe, then start a journey to find a new tribe.
You are more than your upbringing and you are more than your conditioning. At your core, you are your True Self and I guarantee you that True Self is Love.
To answer my initial question, what do I want at my core? Well, I want Love, I want soul-connecting, and I want some company there, if possible. If I feel alone and a deep lack of connectedness, I can be sure that’s not my True Self, so I keep breathing and center myself until all the false selves slowly fade away like the dense fog in midmorning, and before I know it, my True Self emerges. That’s when I feel them all: Calmness, Curiosity, Compassion, Connectedness, Confidence, Creativity, Courage, and Clarity.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
What do you want at your core?
Peace my Friends!