So, out of curiosity, do you ever self sabotage? Do you frequently miss the bus by just a few seconds? Completely forget about something until it’s the last minute and then have to rush around like a lunatic! An interesting theory that I have come across is the question
‘Is the behaviour really self sabotage or is it actually in harmony with the desires of our authentic self?’
Allow me to introduce you to the two selves…
The social self is that part of you that has been influenced by your culture, your environment, your peers, your family and society as you have grown up and throughout your life. It has taught you to value the same or similar things to most other people in your circle such as stable job, being financially secure, owning your own home, meeting a partner, having a family, having a pension, looking after your parents – being a ‘good girl’ shall we say!
The authentic self is the part of you that knows your preferences for everything; it knows what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about, what brings you joy and what you love to do. The authentic self knows that you want to order dessert in the restaurant whereas the social self will tell you not to be a piggy as no one else is having anything! The authentic self is that part of you that is spontaneous, curious, fascinated with the world and playful.
Having a well developed social self can be a great asset, however when it is too dominant, it can essentially cut us off from our authentic self who has all the information that we need to discover our true purpose and our true desires.
The metaphor I use for this is that the social self is the car but the authentic self is the destination. The car might work perfectly but if we don’t know the destination, it means we’re wasting a lot of time driving around in circles. The feelings that we have of feeling down and sad are not just us the fact that we’re unhappy in our careers or in our lives, our authentic self is actually mourning the loss of our life’s purpose and true desires.
Now, in saying this the social self and the authentic self can work beautifully together when they are both in sync however this is not the case for the majority of women in their 20’s & 30’s in today’s society. A lot of us, without realising it, have put others in charge of directing our paths in life. (Be it from ‘going with the flow’ and seeing what happens as to whether we get a promotion to asking anyone and everyone what they think we should do!). We very rarely consult with our inner selves and most of the time we steer our lives based on the instructions of other people (who most of the time do have our best interests at heart) but who really have no idea what we’re passionate about and therefore they have no idea how to help us find our true desires or purpose. As a result, naturally we end up driving in the wrong direction. But there is one word that the authentic self has to get back on track – that word is No!
Do you remember the word no? It was one of the most wonderful discoveries of your early childhood! My nephew Jamie is two now and he goes crazy for the word no. He uses it constantly and very loudly. He has no problem whatsoever telling me and anyone else within a 5 mile radius what he does and doesn’t like. The problem here is that according to the adults and experts around, Jamie is going through the ‘terrible two’s’- you see we think it’s terrible because as adults, it’s our job to socialise children and that doesn’t work very well when Jamie is running around like a mad thing shouting no all the time. He’s doing the opposite of what society in general wants him to do- socialisation basically means learning to say yes to all cultural demands whether you want not to or not. Girls especially are trained to be pleasers and have good manners etc.
So, if you take the age you are right now and subtract two– that’s the number of years you have been forcing yourself to say yes when your authentic self might have really wanted to say no. Think about it, school, family, friends, work, all of those times when there was expectations and pressure on you to behave in a certain way, make certain choices and decisions and lead a certain kind of life. My point is that your social self no longer knows what you want or need or desire, its main focus is getting you to fit in! Scary eh?
The most basic way to reconnect your two selves is to pay attention! Notice how you feel in certain situations and around certain people. Teach your social self to pay attention to when your authentic self says no! By doing this, you begin to rewire the inner guidance system that can lead you toward your best life by making decisions that are actually in alignment with who you really are and what you really want!
I hope you enjoyed this issue of progress!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please drop me a line!
Until next week,