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S2 EP192 – Do You Know Who and What You Are?

Episode Summary

Take a lesson from Elvis Presley: Learn to define your own worth, instead of having to ask others, “Who am I?” While many people believe that self-worth comes from outside – from others’ love and approval, as well as from financial success – this is not the case at all.


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today I want to talk about a topic that is central to your sense of well-being – knowing who and what you are.

Years ago I attended a conference and one of the speakers was David Stanley, who lived with Elvis Presley as his stepbrother since David was four years old. His book, about his experiences with Elvis, called “Conversations with the King,” had just gotten published.

In the book, and in David Stanley’s presentation at the conference, we learned that Elvis constantly asked David, “Who am I?” He asked him this for the last time, just two days before he died.

According to David, Elvis was a very spiritual man, with profoundly powerful spiritual gifts. Yet, with all his gifts and talents and fame, he didn’t know how to discover who he was. As we all know, he was deeply drug-addicted, which eventually killed him.

I found this to be very sad. It points to the reality that, as much as he had in his life, and as much as he believed in a higher power, he didn’t know how to create a personal connection with his guidance to define himself and fill himself with love. If he had known how to do this, he would likely not have died from drugs. He would not have felt the emptiness that led to drugs in the first place. Elvis’ life is a good example of how, no matter how much someone has externally, feeling filled comes only from loving ourselves and sharing our love with others.

Do you know who you are? Do you value who you are? Knowing and valuing who you are in your essence is essential to having the motivation to take loving care of yourself. We take care of what we love and value.

Why would Elvis ask David, who was about 20 years younger than Elvis, who he was? Why wouldn’t he ask his higher guidance who he was? My guess is that he did not experience two-way communication with his guidance. It likely never occurred to him to ask his higher power who he was.

My life changed completely when I started asking my guidance who I am, rather than trying to get others to love me, approve of me, and define my worth. I remember the day, many years ago, when it finally occurred to me that the only way I can know who I am, is through the eyes of my guidance. I remember realizing that no person on the planet actually has the authority to define my worth. I remember asking my guidance and hearing, clearly, how my guidance sees my essence.

I was blown away! I had spent SO much energy over the years trying to get others to see me the way I wanted to be seen, never realizing that I wasn’t seeing myself the way I really am. I was seeing myself through the programmed eyes of my ego wounded self, rather than through the loving eyes of my guidance.

From that day on, taking loving care of myself became a privilege rather than a burden.

Do you know your beautiful essence? Have you worked with your guidance to see the magnificence of who you are? Do you realize that you are an individual expression of the Divine, a multifaceted diamond with so many beautiful and unique qualities?

When you take back the power of defining your own worth, then you no longer need to try to control how others feel about you. For me, this was a huge relief, and freed up so much energy for love, creativity, and productivity. It was defining my worth through the eyes of my guidance that enabled me to stop judging myself, since judging myself was all tied up in trying to get myself to do things right and be ‘perfect’ so that others would see me, value me, and love me.

I hope you start today – taking back from others the power to define you, and giving it only to your guidance, so that you never need to ask anyone else, as Elvis did, “Who am I?”

I think it’s interesting that Elvis asked David, “Who Am I?” but never also asked, “What am I?”

Standard answers to the question “Who am I?” is often about the transient aspects of ourselves – the aspects of ourselves that have to do with being incarnate in a body. When we talk about who we are, it is often about being a man or a woman, gay or straight or something in between. It’s often about what we do: “I am a teacher.” “I am a construction worker.” “I am a doctor.” “I am an artist.” Who am I is also often about attributes such as our intelligence or our athletic ability, and about the kind of person we choose to be – kind, caring, distant, social, a loner, angry, mean, and so on. We generally define ourselves by who we think we are.

Yet another definition of self lies in what we are.

Deep inside our essence is the recollection of what we are. The problem is that most of us are so out of touch with our essence that we have no access to this memory.

To understand what we are, imagine for a moment the ocean. Then imagine a drop of the ocean. The drop of the ocean contains all the attributes of the ocean – just not the vastness of it. Now imagine an immense vastness of light – light that is the energy of love, of joy, of peace. Within this light is all the intelligence and creative force of the Universe. We can call this light God, or Source, or the Creator, or the All. Now imagine a spark of this light – like a drop of the ocean. This spark is what we are – our essence, our soul, “Created in the image of the love that is God.” Within this spark are all the attributes of the light.

Just as our children have our DNA, yet have the free will to choose their path, we have the DNA of the love that is God, and, because we have free will, we also can choose our path. When we choose the path of our essence, we evolve what we are. We evolve the love that we are, thereby evolving the very fabric of the All. Each of us, being a spark of the All, has an opportunity to expand the depth of the love that is God through our own loving actions, our actions based on love and compassion for ourselves and each other. 

The problem in knowing what we are is that the wounded self takes over early in our lives as part of our survival strategy.

Our ego wounded self does not have the memory of what we are. It cannot know that we are an individual manifestation of the Divine, a child of the love that is God. It cannot know that our purpose here is to fully manifest the gifts we have been given and evolve the very essence of love. If the wounded self believes in a higher power at all, it believes that we are separate from our higher power, that we are alone, which leads to deep feelings of inner emptiness. The wounded self is incapable of communicating with our guidance.

As you practice Inner Bonding and become more aware of your essence, you might find yourself “remembering” things. You might find yourself knowing things that you didn’t know you knew, and not knowing how you know them. Our essence knows things in a totally different way than we know them from our wounded self. For the essence, our source of knowing is not our mind. The source of knowing for the essence is our experience in our body of our inner knowing, our intuition. It’s a totally different kind of knowing. This knowing is based on truth, the truth of what we are.

All of us have the capacity to “remember” the truth of what we are and why we are here. We all have the capacity to know the incredible beauty of our soul. As you practice Inner Bonding and develop your loving adult that is connected with your spiritual guidance, you will gradually experience the truth of what you are, and you will know that you are a perfect spark of the Divine. As you get the experience of your perfection, you will stop thinking that there is something wrong with you. You will know that the only thing wrong are the lies that you allow your wounded self to tell you about who and what you are.

The more you open to learning about the false beliefs of your wounded self and move into compassion for all aspects of yourself, the more you will discover the truth and beauty of who and what you are and be able to fully manifest all that you are. 

Most of us grow up learning to define our worth by how we look, by our achievements, and by the approval we get for our looks or achievements. This is a hard way to live because you have to constantly make sure that you are measuring up to some standard that society has set, and at any moment you can be plunged into low self-worth by disapproval, rejection, or failure. By making your worth dependent on others and outcomes, you are constantly insecure.

Often, I will ask my clients why they are not taking loving care of themselves and taking responsibility for their feelings, and the answer is often, “I’m not worth it.” They not only want someone else to make them feel like they are worthy of love, they believe it’s someone else’s responsibility to do this for them. And, they often believe that only someone else’s love really matters; only someone else’s love can make them feel worthy and lovable.

Of course, this has never worked for them. 

What if you changed your mind about what your worth is?

What if, instead of defining your worth externally by looks or performance, you decide to define it by your internal intrinsic qualities – your spark of the Divine within which holds the qualities of the love that is God. What if you embraced that you are the love, kindness, compassion, peace, and joy of your higher power? What if you valued your caring, desire to learn, and your willingness to work toward what you want to accomplish, rather than just valuing the accomplishment itself?

If you believe that you are intrinsically worthy, instead of constantly trying to prove your worth, you will be highly motivated to take loving actions on your own behalf and to express your intrinsic lovingness with others. You will take delight in learning and in working toward expressing your passion and purpose.

There is a very negative circle that gets set up when you define yourself externally and need success and others’ approval to feel that you are okay. The very act of making outcomes and others’ approval responsible for your sense of worth is a form of self-rejection and self-abandonment that says to your soul self, which is your inner child, “You are not okay. You have to prove, over and over, that you are okay, by succeeding and by getting approval.” This creates constant anxiety and insecurity – the opposite of what you feel when you value yourself.

The wounded self believes that you have to judge yourself to have control over getting yourself to do the things you “should” do – work hard, study, clean the house, practice something, and so on. But judging yourself is unloving to yourself – another form of self-abandonment – and it sets up that negative circle of anxiety over having to prove your worth. Doing this actually hinders you in becoming all you can be.

There is a very positive circle that evolves as you embrace the incredible wonderfulness of your essence and become a loving parent to your beautiful, magnificent inner child – your soul essence. When being loving, rather than gaining success and approval, becomes your highest priority, you will take loving action with yourself and others. The more you behave lovingly toward yourself and others, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the more motivated you are to learn and make effort toward being all you can be. Your achievements become an expression of who and what you are, rather than an attempt to prove your worth.

I want to suggest that you try an experiment. Act as though taking loving action toward yourself and others is the most important thing in your life. Practice this many times a day. It’s okay if you don’t know the loving action – just ask your guidance or do the best you can. When your intent is to be loving, you will eventually figure out what that means. Of course, taking loving action toward others does NOT mean caretaking them. Loving action toward others is never about giving yourself up. Giving yourself up is not loving to yourself, and is therefore not loving action.

Each time you take loving action – by what you say to yourself and others, and how you treat yourself and others – notice how you feel inside. If you feel happy and full inside, then you know that the action you took was loving. If you feel bad inside – empty, anxious, angry, depressed, guilty – then you know that there is some way you are abandoning yourself.

If you make being loving, rather than getting love, your highest priority, you will find yourself feeling deeply lovable and worthy.

An interesting way of looking at this is to tune into whether you define your worth and lovability by your doing or by your being.

What motivates you to do what you do? Are you doing to DEFINE who you are, or to EXPRESS who you are?

Take a moment to think about the following questions regarding your doing as a definition of who you are:

  • How often have you told yourself that you need to perform well, such as get a good grade on a test or get someone’s approval for a job well done in order to feel that you are okay?
  • How often do you define your value by your performance?
  • How often is the outcome of an endeavor more important to you than the process itself?
  • Is your motivation to perform well coming from an inner sense of insecurity?
  • Do your good feelings about a job well done come from the effort itself and an inner sense of accomplishment, or from the approval that you might receive?

The ego wounded self is frequently concerned with failure. To the wounded self, failure at a task or activity means that you are a failure, which certainly takes all the joy out of doing. Failure is a concept attached to outcomes, not to process.

When what you do is a way to get approval, it is difficult to be self-motivated. Since your sense of competence does not come from the doing itself, but from the external approval of your doing, you never experience a deep sense of competence. You always have to keep proving yourself, over and over, to keep receiving the approval.

This is not a fun way to live!

Can you think of any times your doing was an EXPRESSION of who and what you are? If you can, how did that feel?

When you have practiced Inner Bonding long enough to define your essence and experience a deep sense of the incredible wonderfulness of your essence, then your doing becomes an expression of your being – of who and what you truly are. When you already know yourself to be worthy, you can let go of outcomes and allow the process to joyfully unfold. Then there is no such thing as failure, because you cannot fail when you are doing for the joy of it rather than doing for approval.

When you know who and what you are as a magnificent and unique expression of spirit, then you joyfully express yourself, experiencing natural competence as an expression of your passion and purpose. You allow the creativity that comes through you from spirit to be expressed in your doing, trusting that you are being led to where you need to go.

When you are doing work and hobbies for the joy of it, there is no resistance and creativity flows. Since you are not defining yourself according to the results of your doing, resistance doesn’t stop you from taking risks. In fact, the opposite is true – you can’t wait to do what you love doing, joyfully expressing the essence of your being. Like a child totally engaged in the process of finger painting and having no idea of what he or she wants the painting to end up looking like, you are totally engaged in the process of creation and expression and of sharing your gifts and your love, and you are unconcerned with the outcome.

When you value the process of what you are doing, you are naturally open to learning, and any mistakes you may make can be experienced as learning opportunities, rather than failures.

In order for your doing to be an expression of your being, you first need to experience the incredible value of your being. As I previously said, this occurs as you learn to see who you really are through the eyes of your guidance, and as you learn to take loving care of your beautiful essence. When you truly know that self-care is a sacred privilege rather than a burden, and you joyfully accept the privilege of loving yourself, you will find that you have incredible energy to do what you want or need to do.

Truly, this is a much more fun way to live!

Do you believe you are worthy of love? Have you ever heard yourself say, “I’m not worthy of love,” or “I’m not worth loving,” or “I’m unworthy of Divine love”, or “I don’t deserve love”? When I ask my clients why they are not loving themselves, I frequently hear “I’m not worthy of love.” Do you find yourself in resistance to receiving love – from a person or from spirit? Are you in resistance to learning to love yourself?

Lauren asked about this issue when she said,

“Accepting that I’m loved by spirit, knowing that I belong and I’m worthy of love have been challenges all my life: therein lies my resistance … and I’m becoming more aware of it now… Can you expand on this topic in any way that might assist with the process of receiving?”

The same issue came up in one of my 3-day Intensives. Rebecca, who had been badly abused in her childhood, was questioning whether she deserved love. She believed love was something she had to earn – especially the love of her higher power. Ellen, one of the other participants, was there with her four-month old baby, Sara. We were all very taken with Sara, each of us taking turns holding her. Ellen said, “I used to wonder the same thing. Was I good enough? Had I done enough to deserve God’s love? Then I decided that just existing was enough – that love didn’t have to be earned. Now that I have Sara, I know for sure this is true. She doesn’t have to do anything to be worthy of love. I see all of you loving her just because she exists. I love her just because she exists. I love her when she’s happy and I love her when she cries. I love her when she is awake and when she is asleep. There is nothing she has to do to earn my love. My love for her is a free gift to her, and God’s love is a free gift to us. But I didn’t know this until I learned to love myself.”

I completely agree with Ellen. My experience is that God IS love, and that there is a law of love, just like there is a law of gravity. Just as we don’t have to do anything to deserve to have gravity hold us on the ground, we don’t need to do anything to deserve experiencing the love that is God.

The concept that we need to earn love comes from our wounded self who wants to believe we can have control over getting love. The wounded self LIKES the idea that we need to earn it because then it believes that, if only we can figure out the right way to earn it, we can feel safe being in control of getting love. The wounded self hates the idea that others choose to love us or not, based on what is going on for them, not based on what we are doing to earn it.

The wounded self generally confuses approval with love. While we might be able to control getting approval by doing the ‘right’ things to ‘earn’ it, this is not at all true of love.

I said to Lauren: “When you focus on learning to see and value your beautiful essence, then you will be motivated to learn to be loving to yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you will naturally experience the love that is God. As you bring the love that is God inside to your essence, you feel the safety, fullness, and bliss of feeling loved. That’s when you know that you are unconditionally loved just because you exist. That’s when you know that your very existence – your essence – is Divine, and that there is nothing you ever need to do to deserve love or be worthy of love.”

Self-worth, or the lack of it, is solely the result of how we see ourselves and treat ourselves. Those people who attend to their own feelings and needs with loving actions on their own behalf feel good about who and what they are, while those people who ignore, invalidate, criticize or judge their own feelings and needs, have no idea about who and what they are and feel badly about themselves.

Richard, a client of mine, is a very successful businessman. He is wealthy, lives in a big house, has expensive cars, a lovely wife and three children. But Richard consulted with me because of his low self-worth. He was perplexed that he continued to feel so inadequate in spite of all that he had achieved and all that he had.

As we worked together with Inner Bonding, it became apparent that no matter what the outer truth was, Richard continued to see himself as the inadequate child his father told him he was. His inner dialogue was often self-critical, just as his father had been with him. And not only did Richard constantly judge himself as his father had judged him, he treated himself as his father had treated him – ignoring his own feelings and needs. As a result, Richard was always looking to others for the attention and approval that he didn’t receive from his father and was not giving to himself. Instead of being a loving parent to the wonderful child within him, he was a harsh and inattentive inner parent – until he started to practice Inner Bonding and learned to value his soul essence – his true self.

Jackie, another client of mine, is a very successful actress. Yet fame and fortune have not given her a deep sense of self-worth. No matter how often people tell her how beautiful and talented she is, she still feels inadequate and insecure much of the time. This is because she frequently tells herself that she is stupid. “How could I have made that stupid remark!” “How could I have acted so stupidly?” Mirroring her mother’s own self-judgments and her mother’s judgments toward her, Jackie constantly puts herself down. Until she learns, through her Inner Bonding practice, to see herself through eyes of truth rather than eyes of judgment, she will continue to feel inadequate and insecure – no matter how much fame she achieves.

If you imagine that her feelings and needs are like a child within, you can begin to see why she doesn’t know who and what she is. Self-abandonment always results in feeling insecure. She will not feel good about herself until she treats herself as a worthwhile person and defines herself by her essence rather than by her looks, money, and fame.

My client Anna grew up with parents who were hardworking and very caring about their children, but who didn’t take good care of themselves. Both of her parents smoked, drank too much, and didn’t eat well. Neither of them took responsibility for their own feelings, so both of them were anxious or depressed much of the time. Even though her parents were loving to her, Anna does not take good care of herself, having had no role modeling for personal responsibility. She doesn’t eat well or get enough exercise, doesn’t stand up for herself at home or at work, and doesn’t get enough rest or playtime. She is very attractive, makes lots of money, has a husband and children, yet often feels very insecure.

How can Anna be motivated to see, value, and love herself when she doesn’t yet feel good about herself?

Anna doesn’t feel motivated to take loving care of herself because she thinks that who and what she is, is her ego wounded self, whom she doesn’t like. Yet if Anna opens to knowing who she really is – that she is a beautiful and perfect spark of the Divine, created in the image of love – she will want to take loving care of this wonderful soul within. As Anna began to practice Inner Bonding and learned to take loving care of herself, the part of herself that had low self-worth – her wounded self – began to heal. The more Anna fed herself well, got enough exercise and rest, spoke up for herself and told her truth, took care of her financial situation, organized her time and environment, treated others with kindness and compassion, and opened to her spiritual guidance, the better she felt about herself. Anna now knows who and what she is.

It doesn’t matter how badly you were treated as a child, or how badly your parents treated themselves. Your actions need never be governed by your past. When taking loving actions on your own behalf replaces your inattentive and judgmental behavior toward yourself, you will discover who and what you are, and the result will be a high sense of self-worth and lovability. You will know yourself as a unique and perfect spark of the Divine.

I invite you to learn to connect with your spiritual guidance and discover who and what you are with my 30-Day video home-study course, Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom.

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have so much to offer you at our website at

And, if you enjoyed this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you tell your friends about it, and if you give it a review wherever you heard it.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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