Friday, May 3, 2019

Day 14 - True Self

A few posts ago, I wrote about self-care.  An entire book could be written on that topic alone.  And I might just do that.  But today, I am going to address, what I think is the foundation from which true self-care must be built.
Identifying and connecting with our "True Self."
Many different terms have been used when speaking of the concept of the "True Self."
Authentic self
Solid self (Bowen,  Human relationship systems theory)
Real self
Original self
Essential nature
Regardless of the term used,  the consensus seems to be that when we are in touch with this part of ourselves, we tend to exhibit the following characteristics more often then not.
  • Having clearly defined personal values.
  • Owning our own moral compass.
  • Openness to advice from others, but ultimately holding ourselves accountable for decisions and actions.
  • Owning a distinct set of principles.
  • Being able to identify personal needs and desires.
  • Being able to use our voice.
The opposite of our "True self" can also have many names : co-dependant, pseudo self, false self...etc.
The pseudo self (Bowen, 1976) seeks validation and approval.  It basically, will merge and enmesh with whomever, in order to justify it's existent and create an identity.
Some of it's go to questions are : "Who do You need and want to be?" "What should I do?" "What should I believe?" "How can you make me happy?"
I strongly believe that we are born with an essential nature.  But from very early childhood our environment molds us and we can easily lose touch with that part of ourselves.
Whether intentionally or not, our families, friends, religion, society etc.... influence our perceptions and beliefs.  These, filters can sway our sense of identity. And if we are not careful, we can start seeing ourselves as others see, or want to see us, instead of going inwards for that clarity and understanding.
In some situations, these influences can be quite damaging. Others do not always have our best interest at heart.  For example, individuals raised by controlling and/or abusive parents will often completely mesh their sense of self with the needs and wants of their abusers.  
But in the end, all of us can get caught up in the web of approval and validation.  Our responsibility, is to identify to what extent we our living from a place of authenticity or not, and how this might be impacting our well being.
We can only attend to our emotional, financial, mental, physical, social and spiritual needs if we have clearly identified what those needs are.  Our "True Self" is our source of guidance and insight into what we need in order to be strong, resilient, courageous and empowered. 
Here are some questions that might help in gaining some clarity around connecting with your authentic self.  There are many others, for sure, but I think these will give you a good starting point. 
  • In what ways was I encouraged to speak my truth? In what ways was I discouraged?
  • What are my values?  Are they my own or have I simply accepted the values of those closest to me without questioning their relevance?
  • Do I take responsibility for my life or do I often blame others for my problems?
  • How comfortable do I feel expressing my thoughts, needs and desires?
  • What are those needs and desires?
"To care for must first know thyself."  :)

Create an awesome day!


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