“You” are your own perception.
“You”—your sense of a personal self—is the reflection you see from your own inner-mind, in your mind, which you then project back onto the world as the person you refer to as, “I”. This is who you believe yourself to be.
But this “I” is nothing more than a subjective opinion you have of your “self”. A “self" that you become emotionally attached to, that you strive to manage and maintain, or that you feel you need to fix and improve, or whose mental image you want to become numb to and altogether forget.
Reject all such notions of yourself—they are not the real YOU, they are merely images and ideas in your mind’s eye that you mistakenly believe to be your true “I”. But this personal “I”, which you attach onto your every thought, is nothing more than a thought itself.
Awaken to your own self-perception—you are not who you appear to be! You are not what you think.
YOU are the Awareness who is perceiving—you are not the thought-object of your perception. The “I” that you constantly consider yourself as, refers only to the mind. But YOU are not your mind. YOU observe your mind.
You perceive yourself, just as you would any person on the street whom you've formed an opinion on, which is based solely on their various visual and behavioural cues. However, any such opinion is false and is not an accurate reflection of reality. Reality is immune to any opinion—this includes YOU.
In a similar manner, you perceive yourself through the image that’s reflected in your mirror.
You also perceive yourself through your family and friends. You perceive yourself through your work and the daily things you do. You perceive yourself through your memories, experiences, talents and skills. You perceive yourself through the thoughts you think and the feelings you feel, no matter if they’re loving, generous and kind, or if they're selfish, spiteful and mean.
Realize that any perception-of-self you have of yourself is entirely misguided.
Your true SELF is not a perception.
YOU remain unaffected by any limiting opinions you try place on yourself. No matter what you think of yourself, that thought is wrong. YOU cannot be bound by thought, for YOU are the presence of awareness that all thought is perceived within.
As long as you continue identify yourself with the activities of your body and mind then you will continue to define yourself by how things appear, and you will confine your SELF to the mind’s subjective experiences, rather than connecting with the underlying essence that is the very spark, energy and vitality of your being—your consciousness itself.
As long as you continue to identify your sense of self through the relative world that changes moment-to-moment, just like a flag that flaps in the wind, then you will continue to be emotionally swayed by all of the moody opinions you attach onto your every thought, memory and experience. You will become like the flag—weathered, battered, tired and torn.
As long as you continue to identify your inner SELF with the outside world that flaps around you, then you will continue to be lost in the illusion of its surface-level appearances, its impermanence, and its apparent chaos which you cannot control.
But in truth, your SELF is beyond any such worldly karma; that too is only a concept of mind. YOU are the observer within. The witness to the world that you’ve dreamed within your own consciousness! YOU are your own creation.
Hold no opinions of yourself—neither for, nor against. YOU are beyond language. YOU are beyond thought.
Turn your mind upon itself and inquire within. Locate your true Self—that which is forever unchanging and always present within you, because it is YOU—Pure Consciousness, Absolute Reality, Infinite Awareness— this is YOU.
This is the blissful and true essence of SELF that you connect with when you say, I AM.
Ultimately, whatever you allow your mind to identify itself with will be projected back to the world as your “self”. You are a reflection of the very reality you create, determined by how you dwell within your SELF.
When you realize your true SELF, you peacefully abide in the untethered happiness of pure being, and this presence of unbound bliss and happiness is then reflected back into the external world.
But as long as you continue to perceive yourself through your worldly perceptions and your flimsy, insubstantial, moody opinions, then your emotional well-being will continue to be subject to the often troubling laws of cause and effect.
Your true SELF is beyond the “I” of the mind.