The Tombstone Test can help you to live with confidence in your True Self. Your True Self is the person you would be if you were always living up to your best aspirations for yourself. It probably goes without saying that if you are living fully in your True Self, that you have a good sense of self-identity. True Self is who you would be if you could ‘get out of your own way.’ A life in True Self is a life with a sense of purpose and meaning.

Note that if you are living a life of purpose and meaning in a mindful way, you are living a life whose meaning you chose for yourself. Nobody else can assign your life meaning. Each person must choose their own reasons for living. Sometimes emotional aggression comes from allowing others to create our life purpose for us instead of doing it ourselves. Living in True Self in this case is taking back responsibility for our own destiny.

Confidence in True Self means having a good sense of self-identity. Confidence also means having the courage to avoid acts of emotional aggression. One way to do this is to realize that nobody else can ever tell us who we are or what we should be unless we give them that power, and there is no need to ever give anyone else that power.

Confidence and the Tombstone Test

I’m a history buff, so I can often be found looking at old buildings or roaming around in cemeteries. One day I was out in a particularly old cemetery doing some genealogical research when I started noticing the epitaphs. They all had something in common: There weren’t any that said, “Here lies Joe Smith. He had a two-story, five-bedroom house and a luxury car.”

Most of the tombstones I read there in the cemetery talked about how much the departed was loved and how much he or she would be missed. As I sat there reading all those tombstones full of kind words about the departed, I devised the Tombstone Test. The premise behind the Tombstone Test is to imagine yourself lying in your deathbed, looking back on your life. If you were doing that now, could you say you were truly happy with the way you lived?

The Tombstone Test will help you to clarify what your life means to you. When you are able to figure out your purpose in life you will be able to live confidently. You will be able to live a life of meaning from your True Self.

Imagine that you are lying on your deathbed, looking back on your life. What would you like to have written on your tombstone? What sort of legacy would you like to leave behind for your loved ones? The answers to these questions help you to determine your life’s meaning and purpose. When you have a purpose for your life, you are using the power of intention to live more fully in True Self as the person you were meant to be.

If you were on your deathbed looking back on your life, what would you like the overall theme of your life to be? What was your life’s meaning and purpose?

Think about some of the things that in the past have stressed you out and led you to act in emotionally aggressive ways. Now imagine that you are viewing these things from the perspective of someone who is looking back on their life. How important are those things from such a viewpoint? What could you change about the way you respond to such circumstances so that you could live a life of purpose in the future?

If your friends and family were going to give a eulogy at your funeral, what would you like them to say about you and the meaning of your life?

Imagine you could write out, in two or three paragraphs, your reason for being born and your purpose for living. What would you say in those paragraphs?

Think about your answers to these questions. Did the Tombstone Test give you the confidence to live more fully in your True Self?