It is wonderful to be connected to others, but there is also a price we must pay. Our social aspect may sometimes accommodate others too much, causing us to lose connection to our "true self." When this happens, we squelch or mask our own emotions and desires, leaving us unable to determine how we really feel. Our wish to please others can leave us disconnected from our own dreams and goals. As our true self and feelings become inaccessible and lost, we may become unknown –- strangers, even to ourselves.
No matter how rewarding relationships are, being unable to access or experience your own true feelings causes problems. This can happen early in life or later as an adult. Losing connection to your true self can leave you feeling unnecessarily deprived - and angry. Unceasing efforts to accommodate others can backfire, leading you to be dissatisfied in the very relationships you have tried so desperately to protect. Resentment can build from the frustration of your unexpressed feelings, thoughts and wishes, and from self-deprivation. This can result in a sense of emptiness, despair and, ironically, of loneliness.
How can you get what you want and need if you don’t experience (or honor) your own emotional signals, desires or longings? It’s like navigating life without a compass or, worse still, like following someone else’s GPS that is set to lead you to a destination different from your own.
Get to know your own emotional compass, so that you can feel out and plot your own inner topography.
Start looking for your own “true north.”
Reconnecting to yourself takes energy, but it is time well spent.
- Attend to your dreams and write them down
- Pay more attention to your fleeting thoughts and feelings
- Share more of your true self with people you trust – not necessarily someone embedded in your daily life
- Write in a journal about your longings, aspirations, hopes, and goals – anything that lives deep in one’s own true self - literally making space for your self
- Write also about your pains – little and small – including “unthinkable”, guilt-inducing, or shameful thoughts
- Consider what you really want before you automatically respond to others
All of this will help you begin to take more shape in your own mind, restoring more of a connection to your true self.