A few years ago, I constantly struggled with feeling restless all the time.
Sometimes I would just sit on my bed and cry out of frustration.
Yes, I’m embarrassed to tell you this but honestly, I had no idea what else to do.
I felt like I was on the edge of something but I was too afraid to jump.
I knew I wanted to do more and see more but I felt trapped in my mind and thoughts.
I Constantly Felt “Off”
I don’t know how to describe it but if you’ve felt it, you know what I mean.
I tossed and turned at night. I suffered from many years of insomnia and I was always tired.
In an attempt to feel better, I started reading a lot of self-help books, started meditating, and tried everything I could to understand why this was happening to me.
On the outside, I seemed fine. No one could tell there was something wrong besides my boyfriend at the time, but even he couldn’t really understand it.
Life just felt like a blur, every day was the same. I felt like I was losing my mind and I had to do something about it.
The Essential Self vs. The Social Self
During this time, I came across a book called, Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. She introduced me to the concept of the “essential self” and the “social self.”
- The essential self is basically who we are at the core. The part of us that thinks of things that we are too afraid to say aloud, the part that has crazy dreams, and the part that’s just waiting to burst out.
- The social self is the well-behaved us. The part that tells us we need to act a certain way in life because there are rules.
- Your essential self would say, “Let’s go on a trip!” and your social self would say, “No, we need to save money first.”
Both parts are necessary to have a balanced life, but the problem with most adults is that our social selves tend to take over our essential selves as we get older.
We become afraid to try new things, we don’t follow our instincts and instead, we put ourselves into rigid routines that don’t bring us any joy.
How I Used This
After learning this concept, I started paying attention to both sides of myself. How I would react to certain situations, whether it was my essential self or social self acting, and I discovered I listened to my social self way more.
Whenever I had good ideas, I would shut them down and dismiss them as silly. But once I became aware of this, I was able to slowly change my thought process and eventually, my actions too.
Whenever my social self knocked down an idea, I would catch myself and say “Wait a minute” and give myself a second chance.
Eventually, I got pretty good at this. That’s how I was able to start tackling all the things on my bucket list including starting this blog.
Is Your Social Self Overriding Your Essential Self?
If you’re constantly feeling “restless,” “empty,” “lost, or “numb,” your essential self might be trying to tell you something. Maybe its a dream that you’ve dismissed or an idea that you’re trying to forget.
Whatever it is, you ignoring it is not working which is why you have these feelings in the first place. And the only way you’ll be able to get rid of this feeling is to pay attention to it. I know because I did.
Since I started listening to my essential self more, my life has become richer and I feel much more confident in my choices.
If you want to keep telling yourself everything is alright, that is up to you but I hope one day you’ll have the courage to look inside.