Science has a very specific way of studying matters and it has given us a tremendous edge in terms of our living conditions compared to how things were during the natural state of the human species. Getting more insight into the workings of things has resulted in science branching out into an ever-evolving web of specialties and fields of expertise. But the scientific approach used to magnify and study these details more in depth should not become an end-goal in and of itself. What matters most is that what we learn ultimately serves people to achieve more well-being. If we lose sight of this bigger, over-arching goal, all the insight in the world is not going to help us gain a better quality of life.This particular category is written to reach out to the scientific community in the hopes of starting a mutually beneficial dialog. I would like to invite professionals in the distinctive scientific fields of psychology and human behavior to familiarize themselves with the Sense of Self (SoS) Theory and Method. We at HEALTHYSENSEOFSELF need your expertise to enhance credibility of our charitable mission; science might also need us to bring together under one umbrella all its valuable, detailed information and to find out how many aspects of the human condition are related to the presence or the absence of a person’s Sense of Self.
Research needs to be done to verify my findings, especially because they have been generated by a nonacademic person like myself, whose formal training was in the art and science of music. Forced by a vitality-sucking insomnia, I had to work my way through all the layers of my Self and face my truth so I could heal from the debilitating condition that I have named “a Lack of Sense of Self.” For over twenty-five years I have made it my mission to study and analyze my Self while taking part in various therapies. Eventually I was able to label the root cause of my difficulty to get a good night’s sleep and feel well rested the next day, which led to the SoS Method.
I hope my findings contribute to gaining more insight about what the overarching condition is that makes a person happy and healthy. It is my dream that this theory will be taken seriously, especially by people who are in the right position to test, experiment, and measure its statements. With scientific help, the SoS Method can eventually be of benefit to all those people, who, like me, feel something is off but they do not quite know what it is, while therapists and doctors are unable to put their fingers on it either.
Studying the number and nature of factors a person is influenced by over the course of a lifetime, as well as the directions in which those influences are active, is like solving a complex puzzle. Each person brings along a myriad of factors from their personal background that influence or determine their health and well-being. Those factors include but are not limited to an individual’s intrinsic temperament, character, and inclinations as well as other, more outward conditions. A person’s flexibility and adaptability to life are among those factors as well.
Everybody’s specific circumstances vary a great deal and therefore people’s lives play out in many very different ways. A person with a Lack of SoS gets her virtual backbone from validation and/or approval, especially from the primary caregiver. The great variety of ways this process manifest in the world of things and people can be as numerous as there are people. This could be the reason why the simple overarching daily condition of being in need of approval is never recognized as being correlated to certain unwanted behavior, and to what we commonly define as “character flaws,” or even as the cause of disease or dysfunction.
It is not in fact WHAT we do on a daily basis that is the big question, but WHY we do what we do. What is it that motivates us to behave certain ways or take certain steps? Are we even present to what we are doing? Are we making conscious decisions, thinking for ourselves, or are we functioning on automatic pilot? Are we slaves to formerly implemented strategies that have never been rethought? And ultimately, why are we often unable to be there for ourselves, and consequently for others—even for our children?
The SoS Method states that a lot of human suffering is caused by the absence of a (healthy) Sense of Self and offers the tools to help people to restore their Sense of Self. We at HEALTHYSENSEOFSELF have witnessed symptoms disappear in the process as a person (re-)gains a healthy Sense of him or her Self. The ultimate question each of us has to ask ourselves is: “Do I have what it takes to be mySelf?”
In my book: Healthy Sense of Self, How to be true to yourself and make your world a better place!, I distinguish two basic types of people: people with a Healthy Sense of Self, and people with a Lack of Sense of Self.
People with a Lack of Sense of Self have not been acknowledged for the person they are. They haven’t been truly “seen” as a unique human being who is separate from the caregiver. Instead of developing a sense of being their own person, they tend to become dependent on—or even addicted to—approval. This process then functions as a substitute for the (missing) Sense of Self. Doing what it takes to gain a Substitute Sense of Self becomes a person’s Hidden Goal and achieving this goal feels like their life’s purpose.
The SSoS takes on a form that is unique in each person but the way it is realized is universal: through validation and approval. If, for example, “becoming good at something” leads to approval, it’ll make the person “Feel-good-about-himself,” which then functions as a SSoS. Each person has a different setup for what leads him or her to gain approval as it basically depends on the caregivers’ characteristics.
As these circumstances and characteristics are hard to describe in a general way, it can be tricky to recognize their effects as the cause of something that is invisible as well: a Lack of Sense of Self. So we have a situation here in which both the cause and its effects are not recognized because of their nature of being invisible. That does not mean they are nonexistent. I would like to invite you to consider the absence of a Healthy Sense of Self as the umbrella for a great number of diseases and dysfunctions in people’s lives.
Recognizing the condition of dependency on a SSoS is a crucial point in the theory, because the very presence of a SSoS—next to being a result of a Lack of Sense of Self—is the root cause of numerous aspects of psycho-emotional and physical human suffering because of the enormous levels of stress and mental and emotional depletion that are the immediate result of the need to sustain this condition.
The moment a Lack of Sense of Self can be diagnosed as a disorder, treatments can be provided to help people heal from the dramatic condition of not being present to themselves and consequently not living their own lives. If parents do not have a Healthy Sense of Self, their children are at risk of following in their footsteps. But if this issue can be identified early on, the children can be assisted in developing their own (Natural) Sense of Self. This will bring about a huge change in their condition, and with that a change in the world for the better.
* I, Antoinetta Vogels, author of Healthy Sense of Self and creator of the Sense of Self Method, am neither a medical doctor, nor a psychologist, but I share my SoS Method with you as it has helped me to greatly improve my own life and that of my family; it can do the same for you.
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