FOR ME, FOR YOU
In my previous blog, I described my Inner Gollum and shared some of my tools for dealing with it so that I can break through to what I referred to as my “True Self.” In this blog, I’ll discuss my experience of my True Self.
As always, please take what you want…and never mind the rest. Your experience may be different than mine…and, after all, you are the glorious captain of your own glorious ship.
That said, it is always my sincere prayer that any insights I’ve had that have helped me, may also help you too. Of equal importance to me is to simply allow myself to have self-expression. For me, self-expression is not just a ‘nice idea,’ it’s vital.
So here’s where I’m at today on the topic of my True Self.
INTRODUCING THE “SOCIAL SELF” AND THE “ESSENTIAL SELF”
No discussion of my True Self would be complete without touching on some of the theories of Martha Beck, PhD, author extraordinaire, teacher and (as she describes it) the accidental inventor of the field of life coaching. Martha is one of the mentors in my life whose boldness and directness has felt the most gentle…and that is what I respond to the best…exploring truth in gentle ways. Add to that her great sense of humor and you have a truly delightful soul. If you haven’t yet treated yourself to some of her books, definitely do so soon. They’re just plain fun.
In her book “Finding Your Own North Star,” Martha talks about two parts of the self that we all share. These two selves are what she refers to as our “social self” and our “essential self.” To be sure, there are many, many more aspects to a person than just the essential self and the social self; however, as universal ambassadors to my (and possibly your) True Self, understanding a little bit about these two selves is fundamental.
According to Martha Beck, in a nutshell, social self behaviors are avoidance-based, conforming, imitative, predictable, planned and hardworking.
Behaviors of the essential self are attraction-based, unique, inventive, surprising, spontaneous and playful.
of Social Self
and Essential Self
As you can see, these two parts of ourselves can often times be at odds with each other. Talk about an internal tug-of-war?! I’m sure we’ve all felt it. The social self is primarily concerned with fitting into society, whereas the essential self is…um…joyfully and obliviously NOT!
For many of us, the social self can be a source of stressful and painful thoughts when we find we want to deviate from the societal norms that we grew up in. Put it this way, if you hear a loud voice in your head screaming things like, “Go…Do…Get…NOW!…You should…You have to…!!!” (Etc, etc, etc), it’s probably coming from your social self. (also, that same loud voice can be directed toward others, as in “They should!…They have to…”). On the other hand, when you get the sense that you’ve done enough and you are enough, or if you’ve ever experienced a warm hug from within of acceptance of yourself or others, you’ve just felt your essential self communicating with you.
Of course, just looking at the descriptions above, there are so many ways to compare each self to the other; however, in the extremes, the essential self is happy as a pig in poop to please itself in creative, fun and loving ways and the social self is hopelessly focused on pleasing and managing the opinions of others while stealthily eluding their disapproval.
Bottom line, however, in the long run both selves…I repeat…both selves are absolutely necessary to navigate our survival in this world. Both aspects of ourselves are needed to be able to contribute to society. It’s when the balance gets too out of whack that we have the most problems. While my essential self may stop to smell the flowers or gaze at the sunrise, my social self makes sure I get to the appointment on time. If, after stopping to smell the roses, I decide not to go in to work at all, a problem can develop! Or… let’s just say, if I realize that a certain associate’s behavior is repeatedly offensive to me but I choose to remain quiet about it and stay in the uncomfortable, yet completely voluntary, relationship for two years in order to avoid confrontation, a problem can develop! Clearly, balancing my social self and my essential self is best. When those two selves get out of whack, I feel like I am a character in a sitcom and I’m desperately trying to twist myself into a pretzel to fulfill the role…ouch!
Are we having fun yet?
MY TRUE SELF = A CALM, SECURE, CONNECTION WITHIN
For me, located somewhere beyond this perfect balance of my social and essential selves is what I refer to as my True Self. Martha Beck calls it the Stargazer in her book “Steering By Starlight.” Like Martha’s description, my True Self is a calm, secure, connected place within me.
Yet what does that connection provide for me? Being connected to my True Self provides me access to a wonderful inner realm where the wisest forms of love and truth exist…It provides access to an inner, intelligent, beyond-my-comprehension source of benevolence, to freedom, to humanity, to compassion (including self compassion) and to the place in me that’s not scared…at all. It provides me with access to my “I AM,” to my place of calm in the eye of any storm…and to an indefinable spring within me of freedom-producing guidance.
My True Self is totally devoid of any struggle or force of any kind.
I access this calm connection to wisest love through total acceptance of reality and taking total inner responsibility for myself. Interestingly, when I operate from awareness of this connection, the dictates of my heart seem to come forward with little effort on my part. The more reality I can accept and the more responsibility I can take for myself, the more I am partnering with my True Self. The more I partner with my True Self, the more I seem to be able to allow my heart’s desires to come forward (instead of force them). The more I experience a life filled with my heart’s desires, the more empowerment I experience in my life. The more empowerment I experience, the more I am operating from my True Self and, consequently, the more I benefit others. It just happens that way. For I have learned the hard way that if I’m walking around as a jumbling ball of fear, I can be of less service to myself and the people around me, compared to when I’m operating from a place of security and connection.
Accepting Reality and Taking Inner Responsibility…Dang Girl?!!!
For the record, I’d like to clarify that my connection to my True Self is a constant. It’s my awareness of that connection that has to be brought back online each and every day (sometimes many times a day). That’s my real work. Luckily, there are many, many ways of doing that!
Regarding my awareness, I know I’ve moved away from awareness of my connection to True Self when I am acting co-dependent, other-focused, worried, fretful, anxious and…well…Gollum-like. It happens all the time…yet it’s nothing to shame myself about. I am, after all, only human. Besides maintaining 100% awareness of connection to my True Self all the time is not the goal. Consistently (and even joyfully) resuming awareness, WHEN I see I’ve gone off-line, is the real aim. And like you, I have some good tools in my toolbox to help me do that…When I can’t pick up my tools though, I reach out to a trusted coach.
On the other hand, I know I’ve become more aware of my connection to my True Self when I feel currents of calmness, confidence, and security running through my body. Many times, there will also be a concurrent flow of joy and happiness even though my outside circumstances haven’t changed?!
I imagine these same empowering energies most certainly guided some of the famous women of history that I look up to: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Madame Curie, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Florence Nightingale, Mae West, etc., etc., etc…the list of my historic female role models goes on and on, believe me! How about you?…Who are your role models (past or present)? It’s my belief that these women and many others who have served society knew how to tap into their awareness of their connection to their True Selves…and on those days that they couldn’t pick up their tools, there were other women there to help them get their awareness back. I have no doubt.
My True Self knows that although some of my day-to-day problems may appear to have your name on them, all of my solutions have my own name on them. My True Self inherently knows the power of taking full responsibility for myself and my reactions to life. My True Self knows that other people or circumstances are never the real problem. My True Self knows this and would have it no other way! And I like that.
My personal goal is to nurture my relationship with and awareness of my connection to my True Self because…bottom line…it not only feels really good, it makes me more useful in the world.
Do you have a sense of a self beyond your social self and your essential self…possibly of your True Self? How does it feel?
With love and gratitude,
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