Who is the REAL you? Do you know what your core truths are? When do you express your most sincere self? Are you being authentic? Is what you present to the world consistent with what you present when it is just you and God?
These are questions we should always be thinking about and asking ourselves!
In a world where we are pressured and influenced to always present our perfect, most polished, agreeable selves, it can be very easy to get comfortable with the self we present to the world, without taking the time to face who we really are when no one is looking, when it just us and our Creator! And with social media, we are constantly inundated with positive messages, religious advice, and self-improvement reminders, that we easily like and share, but rarely assess whether our connection to them is just a mental experience of absorbing information or if they actually fuel within us a heart experience that leads to our limbs acting accordingly. It is not enough for our minds to just have information. It is not enough for our nafs or egos to just feel good about learning something new and sharing it. We have to check in with our hearts and its experience with what we learn, share, and what we claim to be our truth!
If we are ever to live a sacred and authentic life that is pleasing to God, the act of turning inward, reflecting, and asking ourselves important questions about our truths has to be a consistent process we engage in and prioritize in our lives!
There is a reason why authenticity is a topic that has gained much popularity in the self-help and mental health world today, because it is a vital ingredient to our well-being. Being authentic and vulnerable enough to face and live our truths is necessary for us to have internal peace and liberation. It is not a coincidence that God teaches us about hypocrisy and its harms in the Qur'an and how important it is for us to be aware of being hypocritical. Hypocrisy is the opposite of authenticity. While authenticity means that we live in accordance to what we claim we believe is true, hypocrisy is when we act in opposition of what we claim to believe is true.
Hypocrisy causes much harm, for not living in accordance with our truths causes much distress in one's life, not only spiritually, but mentally and emotionally. It causes a lack of internal peace. While truth and authenticity liberates the heart, hypocrisy imprisons it! We mistreat our hearts when we are hypocritical, for hypocrisy is a form of deception. If lying to others is not okay and is an act that expresses a lack of regard and respect towards the hearts of others, then lying to ourselves is also not okay and expresses a lack of respect towards our own hearts. We are deceiving ourselves by being hypocritical, and we are hurting ourselves above anyone else! In the Qur'an, God reminds us of this:
“Fain would they deceive God and those who believe, but they only deceive themselves, and realise (it) not!”
(Surah Al-Baqara, 2: 9)
Most importantly, hypocrisy deprives us from truly benefiting from the truths we claim to believe in. For instance, if we claim to believe that prayer is important, and then put no effort to act in accordance with that belief, then we are depriving ourselves from truly benefiting from God holds for us through prayer. This leads to a moving tongue but an unmoved heart. And if the heart does not move, then our limbs won't create change in accordance to the heart's truths.
So how do we assess our truth? How do we assess who we really are? How do you assess our sincerity?
Through my work with students in The God & Me Psycho-Spiritual Transformation Program, I teach authenticity through an Islamic psychological lens and the importance of prioritizing the heart through my Heart Over Mind & Ego (H.O.M.E) Approach to Psycho-spiritual wellness. This is an approach designed to help people lead from the heart and prioritize its experience with what we absorb from the world! That is because it is so important for truth to settle in the heart and not just in the mind, for the heart to LIVE the truths that our mind has stored and our tongues have spoken.
And so, we have to start by assessing our heart's experience, and how that experience has transferred into real action! Are the truths we claim sincere, and are they a reality of the heart?
One of the most powerful ways we can assess this is by directing our attention to who we are when no one is looking! We begin by assessing how we act when it is just us and our Creator. We start getting to know the "I" that we present to God.
Who we are with God when no soul can hear one word or see one deed is the "I" we need to get to know. When we are more familiar with the "I" we present to the world, and not the "I" we present to the Lord of the worlds, we become more disconnected from sincerity and truth.
And a great way to invest in that "I" is to do deeds that only God knows about, to practice concealing our good deeds just as we would conceal our bad ones, to make sure that the deeds we do between us and God are always greater than the ones that are known to others. And with God's help, we will be a step closer to knowing our truest self and there will be no conflict between the "I" we present to God and the "I" we present to the world. They will be indistinguishable. Above all, we become more protected from meeting God thinking we have a mountain of good deeds only to find ourselves truly poor. May God protect us all from that and increase us in sincerity and truth.
"These people hid their deeds so God, the Most High hid for them that which no eye has seen and no ear has heard.”
Want to do the inner work that truly matters and leads you to live a life that is authentic, fulfilling, and pleasing to God, while feeling better mentally and emotionally?
Want to learn about my S.O.U.L Method to Living Authentically?
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Click here to learn about my God & Me Psycho-Spiritual Transformation Program, a program designed to help you feel more ENOUGH, WHOLE, & NOURISHED, through your relationship with God and with yourself. In this program, I teach you my Heart Over Mind & Ego (H.O.M.E) Approach to Psycho-Spiritual Wellness and the tools you need to practice authenticity through an Islamic psychological lens. This is a program that takes you on a psychological and spiritual journey in which you gain the knowledge and tools you need to lead with your heart and empower your spiritual, mental, and emotional wellness!
"Educating the Mind Without Educating the Heart, is No Education at All."
About the Author:
Dr. Marwa Assar is a psychologist, educator, and founder of The H.O.M.E
Institute. She is dedicated to providing psycho-spiritual education and empowerment through an Islamic psychological lens. Click here to learn more about Dr. Marwa and her work.