Guest post by AmyK Hutchens
Debbie* is brilliantly creative. She leads the public relations campaigns for one of the largest healthcare facilities in the United States, but she yearns to be her own boss, brave the entrepreneurial path, and reinvent the long forgotten power of the written word. Jill* is an intellectual, with a brain that moves at warp speed. She has advanced degrees in education and worked as an elementary school principal while writing her doctoral thesis. As her mind mulled over the complex issue of praising children for their results or their efforts, her soul asked if it could go outside, sit under a tree and write fiction.
These two smart, savvy and socially adept women were successfully climbing a career ladder, until their essential selves essentially threw a tantrum. Socially, these women earned top marks. They were accepted by friends, family, and society for being wonderful pillars of social order, but their inner knowing, their essential self, was tired of pleasing everybody else, tired of playing the game, tired of repressing deeper feelings and real dreams.
Who are these two opposing elements that reside within the same bodily domicile and why must they struggle? And… is it okay that you hear these different voices? First, every individual has a social self and an essential self. The social self is the persona which conforms to the demands of family, friends, community, and society and which an individual generally develops for acceptance or for protection. The essential self is an individual's true Self and expresses the individual's thoughts, feelings, desires, needs, and inner purpose. The essential self may also be referred to as your essence, the aspects of yourself that remain when your limiting beliefs, fears, stories, roles, history, and ego have dropped away.
Whenever we use our native capacities and talents to their greatest extent, we attain greater happiness because our essential selves are being fulfilled. Whenever we ignore our inner voice, the one that knows our true purpose on this planet, we create inner discord and resentment. Our essential self may not speak up in the moment, allowing our social self to go with the flow, but when enough-is-enough and the pain too great, our essential selves will roar, quite loudly, and if we’re not willing to jump down from that pillar of social acceptance that we sit upon, it will simply knock us down.
Your essential self, comprised of your innate talents, desires, preferences and involuntary physiological responses, come together to form your intrinsic identity. Your social self, on the other hand, is the extrinsic identity you developed in response to pressures from the people around you, including but not limited to everyone in your family, your childhood mates, your past loves, and your last boss.
The social self often runs in opposition to the essential self in order to avoid ruffling the feathers of those around you, or to keep the status-quo. Your social self is geared to be avoidance-based, conforming, predictable, and hardworking. Your essential self is wired to be attraction-based, unique, surprising, and playful. How can two juxtaposed selves reside in the same place? Not easily. In fact, most days they are in conflict, but when they do agree to work together, it’s bliss. Literally.
The language of your essential self:
- Energy. Your essential self has lots and lots of energy! Feeling lethargic, drained, or even exhausted is a sign that your social self has ruled too long. It’s time for a revolution. Take note of the activities that drain you and the activities that revive your energy levels. Where you’re peppy and full of zip is where your essential self resides.
- Health. Your essential self keeps you healthy! Every stressful experience causes a physiological response in the body within seventy-two hours. Frustrating encounters with colleagues lead to headaches, neck pain, and an over-burdened immune system. You may not even realize your social self is ruling you until you drop an activity, a job, or a mate and suddenly see yourself looking and feeling better.
- Memory. Your essential self is a sponge not a sieve! Where lies your passion, lies your memory. Ever try to learn information that was boring? When you feel apathetic, or are downright disinterested your brain has a heck of a time hanging onto bits of data. However, when you are genuinely motivated or passionate about a topic, the smallest bits of trivia are valued like gold nuggets.
- Time flies. Your essential self cannot tell time! If the second hand on the clock has stopped moving, your essential self is gasping for air. When you lose track of time, absorbed in an activity that has drastically increased your attention span, your essential self is fully engaged.
- High. A natural one. Your essential self puts you in a good mood! When your social self is tempted to be scared, but you’re essential self is feeling exhilarated, you’ll float, having found such inner peace that even bitter, nasty, social self driven individuals will not be able to burst your balloon of happiness.
When you reconnect and start speaking the language of your essential self, you thrive. When you are feeling cynical, have doubts, or experience fear, thank your social self for wanting to keep you safe, and then sweetly ask it to be quiet. Pain, self-sacrifice, suffocation or numbness of your spirit are not helping you reach your fullest potential, nor helping you offer your greatest good to the world.
Debbie just finished assembling 250 of the most gorgeous wedding invitations. The bride and groom are socially tickled and Debbie is essentially ecstatic with the results. Jill just completed a series of children’s books about the most adorably curious boy and his imaginary adventures. Her essential self will give every child who reads her stories the gift of discovering their own greatest potential. Go on, get high…naturally. It’s essential. *All names have been changed.*
AmyK Hutchens, Founder and Intelligence Activist, AmyK International, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and business strategist. With over 800 presentations around the globe to more than 20,000 executives on leadership and sales, AmyK and her team teach executives how to lead and sales teams how to sell…successfully. Follow AmyK on Twitter @AmyKinc or visit www.amyk.com