In my coach training, I was taught the concept of social and essential selves as a way to imagine and describe our individual nature, characteristics and behaviours. Our social-selves develop in response to our environment. We learn from our culture, family and peers expected behaviours and attitudes. The more we adhere to these ‘rules’ the more it appears’ we are accepted. Our essential-selves are the parts of us that come naturally. The characteristics, likes, dislikes and inherent habits that are core to us, no matter who or what or where we are raised. This ‘self’ tends to be silenced or edited by all the big ‘social’ noise that goes on around us and by our huge need to belong and be accepted.
But,(a Big But, which reminds me of a joke - only trust people who like big butts, because they cannot lie! anyhoo, sorry, I digress) But, our essential-selves are very clever and will only stay silent for so long. You may not be aware of it, however, your essential-self will get the attention it needs,(uh hum, like mine did, just there!) to steer you into the life where you are the most, best YOU. Some examples of these essential-self tricks, patterns and strategies:
1) Energy Crisis – you are plain old tired. All the time.
2) Sick, Sick, Sick – recurring maladies. You seem to get everything that goes around. Or once-a-month, like me. Or before/after a big event (think Christmas!)
3) Forgetting – no matter how hard you try, there is just some information you cannot retain.
4) Bundles o’ Blunders – you trip yourself up.
5) Social Suicide – you don’t act like yourself – lack confidence and behave or speak in a way that embarrasses you.
6) Fight or Flight – you are easily angered,defensive, pick fights or you retreat and don’t participate.
7) Addiction – stuffing emotions with substances or risky behaviours.
8) Moody Blues – a general lack of enthusiasm. Bouts of depression or anxiety that seem unexplained.
PAY ATTENTION. They are clues. These are all signs that you are heading away from your essential-self. Your essential-self hijacks your social-self so that it can no longer just plough ahead.
We may ‘use’ these strategies to get out of what we don’t want to do, instead of facing up or speaking out. The essential self does not communicate in words. It is a signs and symbols type of being.
Maybe I don’t suffer monthly any more because my hormones balanced out, or because of my age, or any number of other reasons, but I do know I have less sickness in general since I started paying attention to my essential self needs and wants and then using my social self skills and understanding to honour those needs and wants.
What are your clues?