If I didn’t have a strong sense of self for life challenges, I’d be functioning at a different level. And without the Sense of Self (SoS) Method, I would not be in a good place right now. Life could be making me feel very sad, and I could be feeling depressed and devastated about what recently happened in my life.
Life sure puts us on the spot in unpredictable ways sometimes, doesn’t it?
I was finally getting a good night’s sleep almost every night and had, with difficulty, adjusted to certain requirements in my personal constellation. I just finished writing my book about overcoming insomnia and was hoping to experience that freedom to enjoy life when my world collapsed.
At first, I was unable to conceive it, believe it and, truthfully, I am still very much shaken. The reason for it all is not relevant for what I want to share here . . . and it’s all still very raw. But I will say that I’ve never been so heartbroken in my life.
My Sudden Onset of Insomnia
My first daughter was born some 30 years ago. When it was time to return to work, a sudden onset of what turned out to be severe insomnia was what caused me to change my career path in the long run.
At the time I was a classical musician in a renowned Symphony Orchestra in the Netherlands. I had been employed already for some 15 years when my daughter was born and I stopped sleeping from one night to the next.
The pattern of not sleeping.
Some nights I would just lie between the sheets, tossing and turning, desperately hankering for sleep to come. If I was lucky, I would finally fall asleep when the light of dawn already appeared at the horizon. Other times, I would fall asleep only for a short 5 minutes.
After that, I would feel ready to jump out of bed, but that of course, was only an illusion. As a new mom, who had to prepare for a demanding job every day and spend quite some time in traffic, commuting, there was reason enough to fall into an abyss of sleep. But NO! I stayed awake, eyes wide open, and ready for action.
It also could happen that I would fall asleep the moment my head touched the pillow but then I would wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. and not be able to doze off again.
Seeking help, trying to continue my life . . .
I went to the doctor and the psychologist but getting through to the root cause of this problem is time-consuming and expensive too. At this day and age, there may be a whole lot more known about the background of sleeping problems but some 30 years ago you were pretty much on your own with figuring out how to deal with it, especially when you don’t agree to numb yourself out with drugs, masking the problems that cause it in the first place.
Lack of SoS and Indirect Motivation
I had to quit my wonderful orchestra job and spend time figuring out what created this condition. Little did I suspect that this quest was going to take me 25 long years before I was able to effectively interpret my thoughts and behavior patterns and get the whole picture: I diagnosed myself as having a Lack of Sense of Self.
By studying the behavior of others and especially by comparing their motivation with what used to play in my mind as a reason for doing or avoiding things, I increased my insight.
People who have a healthy sense of Self are prone to do the things for healthy, straight forward reasons and to get things done or because it brings us joy. I call that incentive Direct Motivation.
However, if you have not been fortunate enough to develop that sense of yourself that is healthy and serves you well, your motivation is unhealthy and serves the Hidden Agenda of getting your caregiver’s approval, which then functions as a Substitute for your missing Sense of Self.
In a healthy situation that is your Sense of Self; when that’s missing you become dependent on other people’s approval to feel good about yourself, which is a state you take (Substitute Sense of Self). Living up to the conditions that are needed to get that approval becomes a matter of life and death.
Restore Your Sense of Self
The above situation gives rise to a myriad of problems. Physical exhaustion results in a lowered immune system to stress-related, neurological consequences, and psychological and emotional malfunctioning. You can look at all these ailments as independently existing symptoms of a disease . . . but what if they all fall under the umbrella of being the immediate result of the compensation for a Lack of Sense of Self?
Restoring your sense of Self is all about figuring out how to develop a strong sense of self for life challenges.
Reconditioning Prompts to Get You Started
Ask yourself the question: “Why do I do what I do?”
To gain full benefits of the method you need to be brutally honest with yourself when answering it. Investigating what your motives are for what you do, want, or avoid is key and will be highly revealing.
With a Lack of Sense of Self, these supposedly given facts turn out to be experienced in unhealthy ways–leading to sleep problems and depression.
1. My life and my body are mine.
Seems a common statement but are you actually living it?
Are you in touch with your body, are you really being your body or do you just use (and abuse) it on your quest to what really motivates you? Is your life really yours, or has your power ended up in the hands of someone else who sits in your mind and has taken over the steering wheel of your life?
2. I experience myself directly.
Are you truly present to yourself because you possess this inner knowing that you exist as your own independent and unique person? Or do you depend on achievements or other people’s validation to make you feel good about yourself, taking that for your proof of existence? If so, try touching something while fully aware of your ability to experience touch. Take a few deep breaths while following the air filling your lungs and experience how it prompts this sense of:
3. I am alive and being me.
You Can Always Count on Your Sense of Self for Life Challenges
Creating the Sense of Self Method has been therapeutic for me as well as for my family. It has helped me in many ways, including reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
When my anger subsided, I was able to restore my sleeping pattern to normal and get a good night’s sleep most of the time, and I was able to become the parent for my children I wanted to be.
And even now, so many years later, a strong sense of self enables me to deal with this current, difficult situation. I tend to think that this approach can help so many others as well.
Feel like reading more about how I overcame insomnia all by myself? CLICK HERE to download the first chapter of my forthcoming book for free. Here’s to getting a good night’s sleep no matter what!