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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

You Are What You Think You Are

Lewis Carol rightfully once said, ” In the end…we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.

The true and the false self story mentioned below is about a life of a man named David and how he spent the best years of his life as a slave to society’s opinions. The worst part was that he was completely unaware of it.

Unfortunately, to some extent, everyone is a David. At some point in their life, people have sacrificed their personal agenda to social values. It could start as small as following a type of clothing trend and then before you know it, you gave up photography because other people told you that you’d have more financial success as a lawyer.

Thus, the end of the story is an eye opener to both David and the readers as it exposes and challenges a type of reality that is often not discussed among the population.

The Story

David was an ordinary young man who lived his life abiding by the social norms and followed the traditional path of success throughout his life.

He went to a great high school, graduated with outstanding grades, was hired for a good-paying job, and was married to a beautiful and kind woman.

To conclude, his life was comfortable and stable. One day, some weeks after his 30th birthday, David paid a routine visit to his doctor and got his annual blood test done.

Little did he know this visit would change the course of his life forever. In a few days, he received a phone call from his doctor saying that he needed to urgently come back for his blood test results as some irregularity in the blood was detected.

That was all the doctor said and he gave no more details or any indications to the severity of seriousness of this “irregularity”. The following day, David paid a visit to the doctor and he was told to get an MRI scan done. After the procedure was over, he sat in the consultation room and impatiently waited for his results.

It was only when the doctor made an appearance at the door that David realized that his anxiety and worries were unfortunately justified and legitimate.

There had to be something terribly wrong as the doctor emerged with a blank and not-so-optimistic expression.

Doctor greeting patient

Credit: Flickr

After they both exchanged their formal greetings, the doctor explained to David that his test results detected and confirmed the growth of a cancerous tumor at the back of his brain, the region where most of his important memories were stored.

He goes on to mention that this tumor was fortunately not too large and could be removed and he could be cured. This news was not so ” fortunate” to David as the surgery was highly risky, fatal and there was a high chance he could lose his long term memory, identity, and personality.

However, David was not given much of a choice as if he left his condition untreated, he would likely die in the upcoming years. The only seemingly hopeful part of this situation was that the doctor told him that he could book him in with the best neurosurgeon in the entire country.

During the week before his surgery, David chose to spend his time in isolation and reflect on all his life decisions and experiences – a natural thing one would assume when their life could potentially come to an end.

The surprising part was that the more he thought about it, the more empty and dull he felt until that feeling completely took over him and greatly confused him.

On the day of the surgery, David was prepped early in the morning and was put into deep anesthetic sleep, seconds before his surgery was to be performed. True and the False Self Story events that he experienced in his dream while he was sleeping changed his outlook on life forever.

The surgery was successful and when David woke up, he went on to describe the dream that he had when he was put to sleep on the operation table.

In the dream, he was standing in an empty room with nothing but a mirror. At first, he thought it was his own reflection but it seemed strange, different. He couldn’t put a finger on it.

That’s when the same reflection started conversing with him. A shocked David asked his reflection who he was.

The reflection replied, “I am who you think you are?”.

This statement did not give David any clarification. In fact, it added to his confusion as he asked his reflection to further clarify.

The reflection introduced himself as simply the accumulation of all the voices, opinions, and judgments that come from his loved one like his parents, friends, and lover, that David has internalized and mistaken as his own.

After the clarification, his reflection in turn asked David who he was. David gave no reply as he did not have any.

Pic see in mirror

Credit: Pixabay

Once he woke up after surgery, the doctors informed him that it  was a success but ever since he woke up, David was an emotional rollercoaster.

He was glad that he would get to live but at the same time he felt at a loss because for the very first time, he realized he had no idea of who he really was.


It is impossible to confirm what was really going on in David’s brain during his surgery but one thing is certain. The subconscious brain works best during sleep, especially under anesthesia.

Like J.K Rowling rightfully once said, “Of course it’s happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real”- it is possible that his subconscious was telling him what he needed to do to better his life.

David’s reflection was essentially a version of what the world told him he should be and as a result, he becomes a person who lives his life conformed to society’s idea of happiness, success, and prosperity.

This version is known as a person’s “False Self”.

Multiple face moment

Credit: Pixabay

This is how most people live their whole lives and the majority of them are unaware that they’re living a life that is not their own.

This is a very common reason why people at the age of 80 or in their death breaths suddenly wake up with a life, full of regret.

This was one of the reasons why David felt ” empty” a week before his surgery when he was reflecting his life.

The only way to live a life with guaranteed happiness and no regrets is to avoid getting infected by your true and the false self story. If everyone could achieve this, every single person on earth would know what type of career they’d want, type of partner, and every single thing needed to ensure happiness.

This is because happiness isn’t measured by physical things, it’s a feeling. Something that may seem uninteresting or unappealing to one person could be beautiful and desirable to the other.

A sweeper on the road who genuinely enjoys sweeping could be happier than a billionaire that hates business and vice versa.

To conclude, happiness cannot be generalized and the only way you can be happy is if  you block all the outside opinions and find your true and the false self story.

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