Reclaiming a Sense of Self takes time. But it is worth it.

To all the people along the way who hurt me, lied to me, betrayed me, disappointed me…you taught me more than you could ever take from me. Your lesson was a blessing and for that I thank you. (~The Social Butterfly)

I dedicate this post to all the people who have “family” and have still managed to develop and can stay in touch with their Sense of Self in the worst of circumstances. Yes, we are in a big club with membership on the rise annually!

What family or relationship doesn’t have its moments of discontent? It is the nature of the human condition.

Can you though imagine saying this statement to the people in your life? How about with openness and acceptance and like you really mean it? I think I could on my best days. I’d like to think I could even on a bad day. On more than one occasion recently, I have said this in my way.

In my own history and by my “biased” memory, there are seemingly more people (family) who have in one way or another “let me down” or wanted to control me, than those who have been unconditional in their support and nurturing of me. Don’t worry, I have my champions too!

Imagine how my Sense of Self developed from childhood forward (or didn’t or was impacted). And, imagine coming to a place of peace that transcends that history. It is possible and it’s been a lot of work on my part. It is a work in progress always. I accept that too.

We all are works of wholeness in a state of evolution and we do right by ourselves to become independent and autonomous and accepting of ourselves for the Self we are.

According to the Method of Healthy Sense of Self: Where a Natural Sense of Self is not allowed to develop unhindered, a Substitute Sense of Self becomes the focus of a developing person. We become devoted to the idea of doing what we must to feel good about Self (but really it is about pleasing someone else first.)

I see how that played out in my youth. I bet you can see how it played out in yours if you honestly consider your timeline.

What motivated me? With benefit of counsel, I determined in my twenties, I had a driving need to be acknowledged and approved of. I wanted to be wanted above all else and in some ways, that is as true today as it was to me at age seven, eleven, sixteen and even after I was regarded as an adult.

I am even aware of how irrational an expectation this is, but I still want it deep inside when those “old tapes” run in my mind.

From the outside looking in, I know I still had a good childhood. Basic needs were taken care of and clearly I had enough positive support to balance out or cancel out the setbacks. Of course, I wished my parents had been more available, more present; but for a variety of reasons they would not be. So, I started making decisions about who I wanted to be rather early.

From my head, I was thinking I was calling all the shots. In truth I was completely mostly unaware of the forces driving me to become the accommodating and generous helper I still am today–with healthier boundaries now!

It occurs to me that I may need to practice saying this again to myself, to acknowledge that I have not been my own best friend all the days of my life. And to remind the “wise Self” I know is with me too that:

Even the tough moments in life are gifts to learn from that help us discover our Sense of Self–when we are open to the learning.






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  1. Antoinetta Vogels on September 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you very much Deborah. You are so right when you say that the conflicts we experience are opportunities to bring us closer to the values we have developed authentically rather than filtering them through the inherited voices in our heads that keep us still in a state of confusion. When we finally are able to really use our own criteria we are at home in ourselves and at peace. A healthy or restored sense of self is a prerequisite for that.

  2. Deborah Drake - Authentic Writing Provokes on September 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm


    The more I study and consider and embrace the method as described by you, evaluating my own experiences, the more I am changed for the better, as me, my Self and “I.”

    I find myself curious as to how many people can claim they have a healthy, natural or even a restored natural sense of them Self. Our world doesn’t feel set up to allow for that “organically.”

    I’d love to see that change and love doing my part!

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