Acknowledging self is a process of regarding the impact that events have on you on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level. Events that are traumatic can become too much for the self to bear and this is when the self disappears. What gets replaced is often blind acceptance or checking out. The action of processing what has happened does not take place. You don’t ask yourself the question – do I like this or not? And why? The self has likes, dislikes, and feelings. If something happens and you have no opinion about it, chances are that you haven’t really processed it through the self. Processing thoughts and feelings can be learned. This is part of the reason that therapy is useful.
Looking at how events impact us on an emotional level is an important part of finding and reclaiming the self. A lot of us did not grow up in environments where our thoughts and feelings were considered important. There is a lot of energy stored away in the psyche – spinning around in a closed system. Just because one cannot see thoughts and feelings it is clear that they are there and impacting everything that we do.
Sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person is one way to build self. At first the sharing may come out very rough around the edges. We are often angry, pent-up, misunderstood. Having been dismissed for most of our lives, these feelings do not know how to be subtle. When intense feelings are not paid attention to, then how can subtle feelings ever even be a blip on the radar? But, as we become more used to sharing our feelings and having them being received and heard in a manner that is helpful and welcoming rather than being aggressively shut down and discouraged, then the self can learn to bear more weight.
As we become accustomed to being heard and trust that the other wants to hear what is going on inside of us, then we do not have to shout to be heard or withdraw completely for lack of hope of ever being understood. For many, the simple idea that someone else wants to see and know your inner self can be a minor miracle.
We feel that there is more below the surface, but the act of looking inward was not learned and so even our own view of our inner selves is cloudy and out of focus. You know there are fish down there, suspect they may even be beautiful, with radiant colors and strong, svelte shapes, but the pond is murky and nobody has ever gone there to confirm that the pond is indeed well-stocked with fish.
Getting in contact with your own thoughts and feelings is the first step in that dynamic process. Therapy can be a useful part of that dialectic by having another person help you reflect and discover what is really going on inside.