A big part of Radical Self-Forgiveness is knowing who you are. As I have said before, if knowledge is power, then self-knowledge is wisdom. When we wake up and look back, we begin to see how we created separation within ourselves, and who we have become as a result. This really helps us to do the Self-Forgiveness work.
When I was creating the Online Radical Self-Forgiveness and Self-Acceptance program, I realized that we were not just one singular self, but a composite made up of a whole variety of selves. I mentioned previously that we have an entire community of characters, all of whom come forward at different moments in our lives and demand to be heard. But I also found that our selves are differentiated in another way.
The primary differentiation is, of course, between the human self (ego) and the I Am Self (the soul). But there is a further differentiation within the human self created by the life experience.
In the beginning, there was your true authentic self – your basic character, if you will. Then, as a result of your interactions with others over time, you developed what I call a socially modified self. This is the person you may have become after shutting down, trading away or modifying some essential parts of yourself in order to be accepted. Sometimes this occurs as you strive to be the person others have wanted you to be. Or perhaps you needed to become this person in order to survive in a severely dysfunctional family.
The extent to which you modified your true self in order to survive, please others, gain acceptance and be okay, is the extent to which you will have become co-dependent, hating yourself at a very deep level. It’s a Faustian bargain. You gave yourself away in order to gain acceptance and fit in. The cost was high.
I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but as Lawrence LeShan showed in this book, Cancer As a Turning Point, almost all his patients had done this by coming to believe the following:
“If I show up as who I am, no one will love me. Therefore, in order to be loved, I have to be someone I am not.”
A big part of the Radical Self-Forgiveness/Self-Acceptance process – and a cornerstone of the Online Radical Self-Forgiveness Program – is to reclaim those parts of yourself that you have traded away, shut down or failed to develop. I call these the lost selves, and as part of cleaning up the time-line of your life, I strongly suggest you look very carefully at the selves you may have abandoned.
Now that you have awakened, forgive those who withheld love as a way to make you conform, change or become who you are not, and forgive yourself for needing that approval. Now you know that it was all part of your plan to create separation. From this point on be who you are and if people don’t like it, know that it’s their problem, not yours.
In the next blog I will talk about the upside and downside of having an ideal self and an inferred self.