Unit 6 – The need to “Feel-good-about-self” can be compulsive.
Is “Feeling-good-about-self” (Fgas) a State, a Thought or a Feeling?
In traditional psychology, thoughts are not to be confused with feelings. I learned this when going over the Sense of Self Method with Dr. Hal Dibner. The more I thought about that, the clearer it became to me how the “Feel-good-about-self” state was actually more a thinking good about oneself. It is basically a positive self-judgment that, based on the SSoS-oriented System criteria, is taken for feeling (sensing) the Self.
Over time during childhood, this feeling or state of judging oneself based on the fulfillment of certain conditions becomes a Substitute (unnatural, unhealthy) way of Sensing the Self. This state of judging oneself to have complied with the (self-)imposed conditions, and therefore being OK, functions as the ultimate goal in life and leads to compulsive behavior.
For those of us with a Substitute Sense of Self, life consists of mere moments of “Feeling-good-about-ourselves,” like puddle jumping for children playing in the street, the dry pavement parts being the Fgas moments. The puddles need to be seen as the lapses of time spent on working hard to get the required positive outcomes and during which no Self is experienced. There is just an identification with the task at hand. Experiencing their Fgas state is their only reference to a self as it is their only way to avoid feeling annihilated. Because of this, they perceive reaching this state as a matter of life or death. Because this state results from actions or achievements that produce approval, they cannot stop trying to get the best-possible version of their action or achievement. This leads to “over” doing actions and achievements: They over-practice, overachieve, over-care, and so on.
The Role of the “Feel-good-about-self” State in the SSoS-oriented System
The Fgas state plays a crucial role in the structure of the psyche of a human being who has a Substitute Sense of Self. When I first set out to identify the importance it played in my life, I was still far from seeing the whole of this Method. I was not even aware that the only “feelings” I experienced were those related to my Hidden Goal and my SSoS-oriented System. The only feelings I was capable of were based on anxiety of not being able and/or in a position to make my Hidden Goal come true: being acknowledged as a valuable person in my mother’s/parent’s life and thereby getting a “virtual backbone.” I experienced anger and desperation about possibly being thwarted or disabled in this process and I experienced fear that the Fgas state was always disappearing too fast.
These emotions were so violent and dominating that there was no room for anything that “stirs the heart”; no frequency was available on which this could occur. I always lived with the vague impression that something squashed my true (natural) range of feelings—that that something continuously squeezed out of my heart all the juices so I could not really feel something.
I thought that “Feeling-good-about-myself,” which only happened when I fulfilled the conditions, was an exception, that it was really a feeling. Even working on fulfilling the conditions gave me an experience that simulated the Fgas state by anticipating it. So I was only relatively at ease when actively working on these conditions (Ego-References). Anything else that needed to be done or even anything else that was meant to be fun was experienced as anxiety provoking and interfering with my actual goal.