A highly stylized drawing of vitruvian man

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything

connects to everything else.”

Leonardo da Vinci

What is our physical self? Being in a physical body, as a human being, is a very remarkable concept. The question is what does it really mean to BE human? And what does it mean to be YOU BEing human? How do you derive at a physical self-concept definition? What self-concept model do you follow? Your own? Someone else’s? Some people’s self-concept is based solely on the physical, and nothing more. The question remains where is the higher/deeper “self” in the physical BEing © [1]?

In this article, we are going to dive into the possibility that being human is so much more than just the physical, doing a self-concept assessment by looking from the spiritual perspective to find answers that you long for… to help you to navigate this human journey with a little more ease and grace, and a sense of well-being, enabling you to hold the space for others to do the same… all the way to the end of life.

Looking at your Self-concept Model

thin woman looking in the mirror and seeing fat person staring backHave you ever looked in your own eyes in a mirror and held your gaze for a while? If so, what did you see? Did you see a beautiful being looking back at you, someone who is contributing to life, who is accepting and loving… who is connected to a bigger picture that fills you with joy, or did you see someone who didn’t fit the “image” of who you think you are “supposed” to be, and walked away feeling “less than” from your OWN self-concept image?

Many people carry an image of themselves that is distorted… and doesn’t truly reflect who they really are. They get stuck in judging their physical concept of self, ending up being highly critical of themselves (and others). They base their entire lives on the premise they themselves have made up from a limited belief they are holding, and live life through the lens of not liking themselves very much. Do you know anyone like this?

A great example was a Dove commercial that appeared many years ago,[2] where a forensic artist was sitting behind a curtain, in a big warehouse, and a woman was sitting on the other side, describing to the artist what she looked like. After completing his drawing of the way in which she describes herself, she leaves, and another woman comes in, who was sitting in the waiting room with the first woman.

He now asks this other woman to describe the previous woman, who was a stranger. He completes that drawing of her and puts both drawings side by side. The one that was self-described had harder lines, and was less attractive than the one the other woman described.

Our self-perceptions can be harsh, and sometimes we spend a lot of time criticizing the way we look. At the end of life, does it really matter what we “look like”? We are either old with wrinkles, or sick with dry skin, thinned bodies, incontinent, and whatever else comes with aging and being sick. We are NOT our bodies. We live in our bodies, but our bodies do not make up WHO we are.

At the end of life, we want to know that our lives had meaning. We want to know that we mattered, that we had an impact on someone, as one fellow human being to another… that we made a difference in this world, that we loved and were loved back… and the way we do that is by being in the physical body we were given.

Face of the old person, in wrinkles.

As humans, we think thoughts that are based on our beliefs and perceptions of our “self”. What is your self-concept? Do you feel happy with the physical self-concept you carry, or do you wish you had someone else’s body/experience? Do you focus on the flaws, the rolls, the lumps, the thin, the fat, the round, the straight? Do you feel inclusive of the whole universe, or do you separate yourself, feeling isolated and not understood, like a victim who is alone in the world? And, do you believe you can change your beliefs to make you feel part of the whole, to recognize the unique beauty that is uniquely you? After all, there is ONLY ONE YOU in the whole wide universe!

Self-concept, Self-esteem

When we embrace the nature of all life, we take on a deeper meaning of our individual lives. We are more than skin and bones, neurons and muscles, but, we humans are made up of physical matter, so how do we reconcile it all?

Albert Einstein said, “A human being is a part of the whole, called by the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.”[3]

Being born into your physical self takes courage

Dead Remember series. Background composition of nebulous, organic forms and colors on the subject of mind, dream, spirituality

Let’s face it, being born into a physical human body takes courage, determination, and a lot of effort! It’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s no easy task. Imagine taking teeny tiny particles of matter (that we cannot physically see with our eyes, otherwise known as that “invisible” stuff), and transforming them into a tangible, physical form of dense matter… called a human body (somewhat like a model airplane, where this part goes here, and that part goes there). It’s a definite commitment to be in a physical body, for as long as we live.

Back to basics: Being born with an INHALE.

The first thing that happens to all of us when we are born, is taking in a BIG inhale… immediately breathing life in. And, with a BIG exhale, we die, letting go of life (as we knew it while in a physical body). One breath in and one breath out. That is the cycle of living. It’s what we do with all the breaths in between that matter.

Ever watch a baby breathe? Their little stomachs go up and down (and luckily for us, we breathe that way when we are sleeping). But, the sad thing is that, as children, we are taught so many “no’s” and “don’ts,” we begin to breathe shallowly, from the chest up. We cut the rest of ourselves off, (including the heart and the lower chakras where creativity is born) and often constrict our own breathing/feelings when we are tense and stressed out, which ultimately causes other physical signs of distress.

Breathing is a gift of the universe. Our breath is the link to that spiritual force that exists within us, and all around us. When we fill ourselves up with our own breath into the diaphragm, as we do when we are sleeping, we feel more calm and centered, and less at effect of others.

In-spiration. What a self-concept!

The definition for “inhaling” is “to breathe in; draw in by breaking.” [4] The definition for “inspire” is to breathe in (air); inhale,” and to fillPortrait of serene mature man in town someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially something creative. [5

When you break up the word, “inspire” into two parts, you get “in – spire,” to be “in spirit.” In Hebrew, one of the words for “spirit” (neshama) is derived from the same 3-root letters for “breathe” (len-shom). So, basically, when we breathe in, we are breathing in our own spirit (of God/ Universe/ Life force/ Energy) … something much larger than ourselves. [6]

All the meanings written of inspire are life-receiving, life-giving experiences. As I mentioned above, when we live in a physical body, our energy/life force/spirit animates our every move, and, if we are alive, breathing in and out, life is a field of unlimited possibilities of how to BE physical/human.

On the other side of the coin of life is death, and when we die, we exhale our last breath or “expire.” It’s interesting to use the word expire, which means “to come to an end, terminate; to terminate the last breath; die; to breathe out.” [7] If you think about it, each one of us has an expiration date, but we just don’t know when that is. That’s the mystery of living, and our own soul’s journey… and another good reason to make the best out of life, right here and now.


Self-concept Model

As Einstein says, as humans, it’s important to attain peace of mind that will guide us through life. When we see ourselves as part of a bigger picture, we may feel that sense of peace, but we have no written or drawn-out blueprint. We make it all up as we go along. We use our individual imaginations, our filters, our conditioning, our beliefs, our thoughts, and our experiences… all of which determines our outcome, our results… and how we feel about ourselves, and our lives. It’s about the attitude we generate from within.

Do you think that perhaps you might be living someone else’s idea of the way you “should” live your life? Do you trust in your own self-concept, your own programming?

Every cell in our bodies contains the programming of who we are, and who we are to become, like the seed of a fruit tree. We know that one apple seed can make an apple tree, but we do not know how many apples the seed will produce.

As children, we become a reflection of our environment, and many of us are conditioned and programmed by our parents, our siblings, and our peers. We may have picked up their thoughts, their beliefs and their behaviors (usually in our formative 0-7 years). We model what we see, and, as children, we think our parents and people in authority, like teachers, know better than we do, because they are our idols, so when they tell us stuff, we think it’s true, even if it’s hurtful and limiting.

As we grow, we tend to adapt our parents’ beliefs and perceptions of ourselves and develop our own self-concept model (leaning towards the negative ones) and make them part of who we are. Only when we become aware of that, are we able to change our physical self-concept.

Being in a Human Body, Self-concept Assessment.

We have accepted the fact that we have a physical, human body, but we also have a mind and heart that drive the body, and a spirit (energy/life force) that keeps us alive and animated until we no longer have the body.

In my understanding, since thoughts drive our experiences, over time they become habitual, which turn into patterned beliefs, creating neural pathways [8] in the brain that loop around and around, like a groove on an old vinyl record.

Having the proper tools to shift the beliefs and perspectives that hold you back from living your own life fully is crucial; because you truly do want to live the life you love living, but if you believe it is not possible, then you stay on automatic mode that hinders your self-concept and your self-esteem.

Whatever we believe determines how we behave, and how we behave determines who we become. Being human is a very complicated endeavor! At the end of life, people who look back on their lives want to feel that they lived fully, that they followed their dreams because they believed they could.

We Are Also Energy Beings

Illustration of human energy body, aura, chakra in meditation

Let’s talk about our energetic sense that we cannot see with our physical eyes. How do we reconcile this physical, human-energetic dynamic, and how do we truly express the essence of our being, while we are alive? And, why is it that sometimes we treat our pets better than we do our human selves?

Being a unique-one-of-a-kind human being, we each have different perspectives, along with different beliefs, as we’ve discussed above. Studying the art of being human from the soul’s perspective, and training our mind to shift even one iota, gives us the opportunity to examine our beliefs, our behaviors, and what we experience, based on our perceptions and our filters. We can change the physical self-concept definition by changing our mind.

Once you are aware of what is driving you, you can choose what will make you feel better about the life you live. You then experience a more fulfilling way of living, as a spiritual being, having a human experience for yourself, and for those you love. The quality of your life deepens and your senses are heightened to serve you and others.

I agree with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French philosopher, paleontologist and Jesuit priest, who was born in the late 1800’s. Chardin thought deeply on the meaning of our existence and our relationship with the Divine/Whole/Universe. He said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”[9]

human and universe power, watercolor painting, chakra reiki, inspiration abstract thought, world, universe inside your mind

Treating your “human” with kindness, respect, regard and dignity, by learning how to navigate and manage your precious energy from a heart-driven, spiritual place, (verses an ego-driven, head place), will set you on a healing journey… a journey that is filled with love and compassion…a journey where you are able to accept the mysteries you don’t understand, (nor see with your physical eyes)… and be able to feel a sense of fulfillment and meaning, living your life consciously to make THIS moment THE best moment EVER… all the way to the end of life!

After all, we could each die in the very next moment, right? Are you ready? Are you living your life in totality? It’s important to make THIS moment the BEST moment possible, because you just never know!

A few human answers. Self-esteem, Self-concept

We’ve already established that we are sometimes conditioned, trained and taught what our parents believed, and, as we said, we adopted some of their beliefs as our own, even though they were not the healthiest of beliefs, and frankly may have hurt and limited our lives, but be that as it may.

Have you ever heard, “You’re not good enough, smart enough, capable enough? You’ll never amount to anything. You’re just a dreamer. What makes you think you could make your dreams come true? Who do you think you are to think you are so special?”


Well, since we make everything all up anyway, doesn’t it make sense to make up thoughts that would make us feel good? It is counterproductive to continue engaging in thoughts that debilitate us, paralyze us, and make us feel bad. Elevating our own self-esteem is derived from our own self-concept, which sometimes needs tweaking.

If believing that you are part of a bigger picture (God/Universe/Existence) brings you a sense of peace, why would you choose to think something else that makes you feel bad? Who knows? And, who cares? It doesn’t make sense, but what’s important to know is that you can choose what you want to think and believe. And, it’s true that the human experience is a bumpy ride. It’s up to us to learn how to navigate the bumps, with as much ease and grace as possible.

Carrying the belief that you are spirit having a human experience can free you from a sense of bondage. It allows you to look at your human physical experience as life’s grand adventure… giving your spirit the opportunity of learning what it’s like to be human in the face of all kinds of human circumstances (without judgement). Everyone has his/her own soul’s journey and no one else knows what that is (which also takes the judgment out of it).

By taking on the challenge and the joy of learning how to navigate the physical human journey from the soul’s perspective, and managing the energy that exists within you, you get to channel the gifts you have been given, and live your life to the fullest, with honor, dignity and regard… all the way to the last breath, and hold the space for others to do the same.

We have talked about how being human is so much more than just the physical. We’ve talked about the image you carry of yourself and how you can change it. We’ve talked about acceptance of who we are and what is important at the end of life.   We’ve learned that we can change our beliefs, that we can create a life we love living. We’ve reviewed what it means to do a self-concept assessment by looking at being human from the spiritual perspective.

We’ve given you some concepts to look at to help you to navigate your human journey with a little more ease and grace, and a sense of well-being, and offering you a few different perspectives to hold the space for others… all the way to the end of life.

Now, take a moment to consciously inhale and exhale a few breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Hold your hand in front of your mouth. Feel the cool air enter your nostrils as you inhale and the warmth of your own breath on your hand, as you exhale. That is YOUR OWN LIFE FORCE!

It’s your life. Enjoy the journey. And, remember to bring love into everything you do.

[1] Coining the term, “BEing”© is a way to emphasize and recognize how important it is to BE present with everything we are doing.