The point is that what we mostly think of as ourselves is determined by our ego-mind, and that is definitely not our true self. Our true self is our heart, our true Buddha nature. The two are almost polar opposites; like light and darkness.
But how do we hear what the heart would tell us when it is drowned out by the constant, loud, insistent voice of the ego-mind? Most people walking the path have a very hard time with this. And often when they think they hear their heart, it is really their ego-mind in disguise as the “inner self.” The proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing; the ego is very sly.
We cannot be true to ourselves, we cannot end our suffering, unless we deny our ego-mind its voice. And given its power over us, that’s not an easy task, to put it mildly.
The only real chance we have of saying “no” to our ego-mind, is to accept and acknowledge a core truth of the Buddha’s teaching: when he first set rolling the wheel of the dharma, he taught the Four Noble Truths, the second of which was that our suffering is caused by our cravings, our feelings and perceptions.
These were literally almost the first words out of his mouth as a teacher. So important were they. The cause of our suffering therefore is not how we’ve been treated by those near and dear to us or the world around us; it is not the general state of the world. It is instead how we react to these experiences.
Only when you have truly accepted and acknowledged the truth of that teaching as it pertains to yourself do you have a chance of exercising the discipline to say “no” to your ego-mind when these thoughts arise. For not only have you acknowledged the suffering they cause you, but once you acknowledge their role in your suffering, you also know as the Buddha taught that since these things cause you suffering, “they are not you, they are not yours, they are not yourself for yourself would not cause you suffering.”
Once you have clearly understood that your ego-mind is not your true self, its voice will be minimized (it will never go away as it will always be part of you). You will be able to hear your heart, to reconnect with your true Buddha nature, and to thine own self be true. For a post on how to discover what that is, see “What Is Most Important To You?”