Editor’s Note: We launched the first Sense-of-Self Help Online course in Fall of 2014. The online course is our attempt to give people an experience of working through the Sense of Self Method. The online course is based on the book, Healthy Sense of Self — How to be true to your Self and make your world a better place! by Founder, Antoinetta Vogels. The nine week course walks participants through a process of peeling back the layers of one’s personal onion–revealing the answers and insights to an essential 3-part question we like to ask. What do you do and why do you do it and also, what does it do to you?
When we are young we learn how to manage in the world. As we grow older and wiser in the rational sense, we may forget the memories of youth that shaped how we navigate life as an adult.
Leighah Roni Beadle-Darcy of Kingston upon Hull in the UK found the HealthySenseOfSelf site and has become a fan of us as much as we have become a fan of her. As a group facilitator and professional counselor, she appreciates the Theory and the Method. When I asked her to guest blog for us about her experience of the online course, she said yes. We are thrilled to share her first offering.
I had been working my way through The Sense-of-Self Help Course with relative ease as part of my extracurricular studies and then I encountered the activity in Unit 6 of the series of 9. Let me explain.
In a previous unit, I was asked to create a list of things that I do every day that I feel I MUST do and explain why I think I do these things, as well as how long I have done them. Easy enough. But then comes unit 6, which looks at how the need-to-feel- good-about self can be compulsive. Now, I’ll be exploring what might truly be going on beneath these subtle and mundane activities. The question: In the light of being introduced to this idea of feeling compelled to feel-good-about-self, do I even realize that this is the case at first?
I looked at ‘activities that cause me to feel highly self-conscious’ in the light of activities on the list in Unit 1. The one that stood out for me was going out of my house without make-up. I can go out with a little make-up at times where a more substantially made-up face isn’t warranted, but to go out bare-faced seems difficult. I had a good idea of why this was, but I wanted to work with it further and to experiment as suggested by the activity in Unit 6. Here is one thing I wrote:
‘I am pretty compulsive about applying make-up, because I use it as an Ego-reference of ‘I must/need to be attractive, because my Hidden Goal is to be appreciated for my beauty, to attract. I will try and do this differently for a week ( a day, a few hours, few minutes) and exercise my awareness of why I actually do that thing’.
I began to notice that I felt able to be home on a ‘pyjama day’ without make-up, no problem. But to go out, even to the local shop with a coat over my pyjamas, the bottoms of which look like yoga pants, I felt the need to put on a little make-up, which I removed when I got home. On work days or going out with friends, etc., I wore more make-up, the full artistic works to suit my style. I realized that a main issue was that I did not like the dark shadows I sometimes get under my eyes. I already knew this, but I saw it even more clearly. My eyes can be slightly darker underneath than many people’s, even though I sleep well, because of my colouring/heritage.
Also it had once or twice been mentioned in my past, and these words stuck with me. I have bought many creams and concealers over the years to fade and cover them. They probably don’t look as bad as I imagine. I began to experiment with going to the local shops with just some eye cream rubbed in under my eyes but no concealer and no other make-up. I felt a bit insecure. But I realized it became easier as the days went on.
Does this mean I always have to go without make-up to maintain a Healthy Sense of Self? Of course not! I have a CHOICE. What I do know now, though, is that it is not so big a deal if I even went to something more important than the local shop without my make-up on.
I would not choose to do this usually, but I know that if I were really short of time, or was for whatever reason in a position where I had no make-up with me and needed to be somewhere, that although a bit uncomfortable, it would not be that bad. I still need to think a bit more about the issues of my under-eye shadows: there is nothing wrong with wanting to eliminate them, but the key is to realize I am not as unattractive with them as I think!
I have merely scratched the surface of the issue of attractiveness, beauty, etc. I intend to write more on this over time, as it relates to Modern Western Society and some of the extremes that are used these days in the name of being ‘attractive’. I want to explore what might be going on, how it impacts so many of us, why it is hard to escape, and how this links to our sense of self.
A Final Comment from the Editor: Is every area of your life and are all your relationships working as you wish they were? The Online Course is a way to gently reveal what ELSE might be going on behind the actions that guide your life.
We truly appreciate the Friends of HealthySenseOfSelf, who said yes to working through this first online course and who also are sharing their experience with us.