Sunday, April 10, 2011
Finding Your Essential Self
“You are the best destination you could possibly imagine or experience.”
- Martha Beck
When I was younger, I’d hear people speak of “finding themselves,” though I hadn’t the faintest idea what they were talking about… It made me wonder, “How can you find what is not lost?”
Now, having gone through some things, I understand better. If we’re not careful, it’s easy to get “lost” in the day-to-day routines that life requires, which leave little to no time to consider whether we’re on the right path, or what direction to take in order to experience true happiness. To that end, I recently completed a book called Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck. Best $15 I’ve ever spent… In her own unique style of humor, compassion and intellect, Ms. Beck uses the North Star to symbolize the way to find the “right life” that awaits each of us – if we’re open to it. The journey begins by identifying and understanding the two selves that each of us possess: the social self and the essential self.
The social self is shaped by culture and norms, plays by the rules, and is concerned with what everyone thinks. Conversely, the essential self remains constant over time, houses your heart’s desires, and does what feels right in your soul – regardless of others’ opinions. The two are frequently in conflict, as we consider what we should do versus what we truly want to do. But when they are in sync, that is where true happiness is found.
The author does not suggest following the advice of the essential self exclusively – society mandates some social-self rules simply to keep order. However, she does recommend that to fully realize the potential for happiness, we must live the life we were meant to, which is unique for every individual. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complex. We’re constantly bombarded with messages about who and what we should be. But if you take a minute and REALLY listen to your essential self, and notice your own natural inclinations, you’ll find that the answers lie inside of you.
Have you ever been in a situation that just didn’t feel right… but you continued with it anyway? I’m not speaking of things that are simply challenging, but being with people, in places, doing things that you KNOW you shouldn’t – though you can’t quite put your finger on why...
I’ll give you a minute.
Now, consider a time when you’ve been with someone who truly understands you as a person, in a place that you feel completely comfortable, doing things that excite you. That’s when you know you’re on the right path.
If you have ever wondered how to discover that which is uniquely “you,” I highly recommend Finding Your Own North Star. Before long, you’ll be on the path toward what is essentially right for you.
Your comments are welcome.