You're Not Who You Think You Are

You're Not Who You Think You Are by Albert Clayton Gaulden presents itself as "a breakthough guide to discovering the authentic you". The average person picking this book up would imagine the content to help you learn more about your inner strengths, to learn how to deal with issues that have historically shaped you, and to create a new, fresh life pattern. They probably would expect this information to be presented in an "open" way - that is, accessible to people from most backgrounds.

Instead, "You're Not Who You Think You Are" is primarily a memoir of Albert's personal struggles against the Baptist religion, against family members he despised, and against alcoholism. Albert presents his own personal biases VERY strongly. At one point he rails against the "stranglehold the Church has on the masses". On the other side he also sneers that "I think channelers are a questionable lot." So he's not fond of religion, but he's not fond of new agers either. He's very likely to drive away both ends of the spectrum with many parts of this book.

What *does* Albert believe in? He believes in reincarnation. He feels, amongst other personalities, that he was a French soldier, and a corrupt barrister in England. He believes a spiritual guide named "Paul" speaks to him through mental telepathy, and that he can even channel voices of dead people to speak. This is a little odd for someone who as mentioned states that channelers are "a questionable lot."

If you are very thick skinned and do not take offence at the various swipes made towards pretty much every group, there are some valuable lessons he learns along th eway. You need someone to ask hard questions about your life, to help you grow. You need to *accept* your ego (that in you which drives you to drink, gamble, etc.) but redirect its energies somewhere productive. In the same way, accept that you have a dark side, listen to its complaints and drives, and then set goals to help you address the issues it feeds on. You should meditate, keep a journal, and surround yourself with supportive friends to make healthy progress. "Nobody's going to make you happy but you."

But in with these pearls he's learned through his rough life, he has an equal number of questionable "discoveries". He feels if you have a nasty family that you should stay embroiled in their politics and call in a professional interventionist. In many cases I feel you NEED to get away from that environment before you can even start to take any other steps! A woman being molested by her father shouldn't be told to stay there and try to get help for him. She should get away, and then regroup. Similarly he states that whatever you get in life "you deserved it". What?? I find it VERY troubling to tell a 6 year old girl that she deserves to be repeatedly raped because of something she did in a past life. It would take me pages to go into all the reasons (free will, determination, etc) that I disagree strongly with this even if you DID start with a basis of "reincarnation and karma are the foundation of life."

So it's a challenge reading this book. First you have to get through his various attacks. Then you have to skip over the statements which seem at times quite harmful, while selecting out the parts which are helpful. Some images are helpful. For example, trying to work on your polishing while you have lots of old resentments simmering in you is like waxing a floor that's covered with grime and dirty. That's a beautiful visual!

He talks about journaling at length about all the people you have harmed in life - and also about the people who have harmed you. Get those emotions out in the open, let yourself sort through them. If it helps, with an issue you feel very strongly about, try burning the letter in a cleansing ceremony. If there is someone you have wronged, and it's possible, talk with them. Don't say empty phrases like "I'm sorry" or "I apologize" - be direct and say "I want to make amends". That person might not accept your offer. That is OK. The important part is that you honestly and openly made an effort.

Similarly, if you feel someone owes *you* amends, first think about your own part in the drama. Every conflict has two partners in it. If you entered into a relationship with someone who cheated, for example, and thought they'd be different "with you", then you cannot be TOO surprised if they cheat again ON you. You need to acknowledge that you held them to expectations that went against their basic nature. Then, that being said, learn to find a neutral point with the memory, and move forward. This isn't that you APPROVE of what they did - but you have to put it in your past. You can't let their actions harm you for the rest of your life.

Add into this mix of good and bad and ugly the fact that the book was poorly edited. There are various mistakes like using "towing the line" rather than "toeing the line". It's not that these are egregious errors, but given the other issues I've brought up, it is just one more thing to make the book feel like it was not quite finished properly.

So, how to summarize? The book does have some good points. But it also has several fairly harmful pieces of advice. It is hostile to both religion and new agers in turn, so there are few people who could read the book without feeling offended at some point. It rails against channelers while then claiming to be written BY a channeler. It talks about reducing ego, while boasting about a meeting of Sadat's wife and staying in her personal chambers (with detailed descriptions of the faux-gold fixtures). It talks about accepting your part in past tense situations while whining about a person on his Egyptian tour wanting (horrors of horrors) to switch rooms with him and how he had to fend her off.

With all the books out there which are STELLAR guides to resolving old issues and setting out a new path, I would highly recommend getting one of those versus dealing with the intricacies of this one. You shouldn't have to pick and choose in a book which suggestions are helpful, and which are harmful.

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