The least-honored–and most powerful path to self-love
Ken Page L.C.S.W. Ken Page L.C.S.W.
“The great psychoanalytic theorist Donald Winnicot said, “Only the true self can be creative and only the true self can feel real.” I would add that only the true self can bear the risk of deep intimacy.
Every time we face the choice to share our deeper self, we stand at a precipice. Often, it’s just too scary to take the step forward.
Imagine taking a pet you love and putting it in a yard with an invisible electric fence. When it moves outside its allowed space, it gets stunned by an unexpected shock. It will only take a few jolts before your pet gets the message: if it goes too far, punishment will be instantaneous. In a short period of time, your pet won’t act as if the borders even exist; it will simply avoid them. If pushed closer to the danger zone, it will exhibit increasing signs of anxiety. The world outside the fence just isn’t worth the pain.
Now imagine turning off the charge from the invisible fence, and then placing a bowl of food outside its perimeter. Your pet might be starving, but it will still be terrified to enter into the newly free space. And when it finally crosses the line, it does so with trembling; anticipating the pain of new shocks. It is the same with us; even though we yearn for the freedom of our true self, some deep reflexive instinct still tries to protect us from being hurt again.”
It isn’t easy to find your “authentic self”. When you have experiences that have hurt you and caused you pain, it is not easy to just forget them. When you were yourself and that wasn’t good enough, you change. You start acting different because you may be trying to protect yourself from that pain you felt in the past.
It takes determination and practice to focus on the self. Life will teach us along the way if we are not being true to ourselves. You will feel forced and it will cause as Dr. Phil says an imbalance.
Now I’m not saying it is easy because I know that in order for me to be true to myself I have to constantly be hyperaware of what i’m feeling and how i’m acting. If I feel uncomfortable in a situation, I need to question whether I want to be there or not.
After being hurt, I created the thickest walls imaginable which helped protect me, at least I thought. It was very hard for me to let anyone in and to trust. I’m still a work in progress but I am very aware of how my thick walls have alienated me at times. I am so thankful to those that are around me that have had patience with me.
Getting to know ourselves and improving areas of our lives that we tend to avoid, is part of our development. It is easy to get distracted with other things when we are trying to ignore or avoid our own weaknesses in certain areas. We can obsess over a hobby or become a workaholic or even create bad habits that help us distract ourselves from our issues. In addition, sometimes we focus so much on other people’s issues so that we don’t focus on our very own issues.
We have to get real good at embracing those areas in our lives where we are weak and need to develop more.
I recognize that when I feel uncomfortable with a situation, I run. I run by making some excuse as to why I don’t want to do something. I even justify my reasoning to avoid it. It is the story I tell myself which is all part of my protection. It is my brains way of saying “you felt pain or got hurt in the past by putting yourself in a situation that was similar so let’s avoid it”. The only problem is that the more we avoid situations where we are uncomfortable, the more underdeveloped we are in those areas.
My goal and my journey is to develop my weak areas. Those areas that I avoid. To not be in denial of my issues and to go head on to improve them.
Join me in this journey if you feel the same.
“Your life has a root core that, once understood, unlocks a powerful force to create the life you want. Key questions and an amazingly clear “map” are now at your fingertips so you can “live by design”.
In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Phil challenges you to find your “authentic self”: that person you have always wanted to be, but were too distracted, busy, or scared to become. Instead, you have created a “fictional self”, taking on the identity of who you believe you are supposed be. The incongruence between these two selves is what leads you to feel that your life is incomplete, unbalanced, and more difficult than it should be.
In Self Matters, Dr. Phil helps you to demystify your self-concept and learn how to reclaim your authentic self. You can learn to think beyond the excuses and fears that have masked the person you want to be. By facing the cards life has dealt you, you can relearn how to best react to them.
Self Matters is one of the most forward-thinking works on self-concept and self-esteem ever published. We get only one chance in this world. Dr. Phil tells us all how to make the most of it.” (audible.com)
I think this is a great book because it is quite interesting how sometimes we believe that we are all good. Everyone has as Debbie Ford explains in this book a light and dark side. Understanding this is very important so that people don’t feel they are alone.
I remember buying this book and reading some of it but now that I know there is an audible version, I am totally going to listen to the entire thing.
“Why Good People Do Bad Things exposes the pervasive and often hidden impulses that influence our everyday decisions. The headlines are full of stories of good people gone astray. They show up on the evening news and are splashed across the weekly tabloids.
In many ways, these sad stories have become a national obsession. Yet countless other acts of self-destruction and sabotage take place in our families, in our communities, in our circle of friends. Despite good intentions, “good people” do very bad things – often without understanding why.
New York Times best-selling author Debbie Ford guides us into the heart of the duality that unknowingly operates within each one of us: the force that compels us to live by our values, give and receive love, and be a contributing member of the community; and the force that holds us back, sabotages our efforts, and repeatedly steers us toward bad choices.
Ford begins with an examination of what she calls the Beach-Ball Effect – the way in which suppressed emotions eventually rise to the surface – revealing the origins of self-destructive behavior. By describing the never-ending battle between our light and dark sides and then identifying the signposts for potential disaster, Ford helps us understand how we end up damaging the lives we’ve worked so hard to create. She then breaks new ground by helping us recognize the masks we wear to protect ourselves, including the People Pleaser, the Victim, the Bully, Mister Cool, and the Jokester. Understanding these masks and what they cover up allows us to go beneath the surface, wake up from denial, and become the person we always intended to be.
With Why Good People Do Bad Things Ford has created her most enduring, expansive, and powerful work to date. Providing the tools to unlock the patterns of self-sabotage, Ford ultimately knocks down the facade of the false self and shows us how to heal the split between light and dark and live the authentic life…” (audible.com)