Whenever I begin a blog, I first think of something that is relevant to me personally and then I start by stating the definition of the title of my blog. This week's blog post is about ' 'self’, in relation to my 7 months sober and my ever growing understanding of ‘self’.
The definition of self ‘a person's essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.’
Over the years my idea of ‘self’ was defined by my behaviour on the surface, my behaviours contradicted my inner values therefore I deemed myself lost. Seemingly lost, but in reality numbed out, as I chose to do anything I could to escape the reality of who I was appearing to be on the surface. The concept of ‘self’ never really crossed my mind, I have always had a sense of feeling lost, but I guess with my newly found clearer mindset I know, I wasn't really lost I just didn't have a sense of ‘self.
For over a year and half I have been regularly seeing a therapist, where recently they spoke to me about different levels of self, in relation to my sobriety. There is the basic self, that wants what it wants when it wants it, with little awareness of unconscious needs and fears, or values and beliefs. Then you have the rational and sometimes emotional self, for me this came in the form of justifying my drinking, finding ways to give my addiction an excuse- “If I can go one day without drinking I don't have a problem”. Last but definitely not least, the concept of the higher self, this is when you start to ask yourself questions, really listening to your unconscious values and beliefs and bringing awareness to your needs and fears.
“When people speak about their higher selves they are referring to the knowing or awakened aspects of themselves. It is through your higher self that the deepest truths and hidden knowledge is accessed.”- Who is My Higher Self? (learnreligions.com)
Since the work I have been doing in therapy, and accepting my relationship with alcohol was more harmful to my sense of self than helpful, I have found a new connection to my higher self. This journey has not been easy, through exploring this concept in my art projects, and finding healthy ways to manage my ever changing emotions, I have got to a stage where in this present day I feel more connected to ‘self’ than ever before. I guess 7 months without poisoning myself with a mind numbing and altering drug would have that effect, and it has eventually. Along the way to where I am today, I have had to sit with my basic self thoughts of wanting to drink, give up on this sobriety, by sitting with these thoughts and emotions around drinking I have more awareness now that I was never in control of alcohol, alcohol was in control of me. And still is to some degree, as I take it day by day, listening to my higher self by staying true to my values and beliefs and searching for the positive intention of the negative self-talk and beliefs I have. Some negative beliefs I have had on my journey, are ‘I can't do this, I need a drink’, ‘a drink would make this much more fun’, ‘a bottle would surely make this pain more bearable’- all of which have the positive intention to motivate me to not drink, as the darker the thoughts, the clearer the addiction to alcohol seemed to me.
With this awareness of ‘self, comes sadness, it's about learning to sit with my sadness, understand that anger and rage is sadness, and with this I am able to find acceptance of my past. No longer am I fearful of the bad days, I know they have a lesson for me, I am learning and growing each day. Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing concepts around the aware ego, authentic self and how these concepts are relatable to my future plans for SKART.
When thinking about the concept of your own ‘self’, find acceptance that your basic self is still a part of you, it is your behaviour on the surface that makes you who you are, then the thoughts in your mind, giving you logical reason and emotional responses to your behaviour that may or may not be true. However when these thoughts appear try asking yourself, is this going to be or has this been helpful or harmful to myself? What fears and needs are present for me right now? And how does this align with my values and beliefs about myself?. These questions helped me, as everyone is on their own unique journey each person's questions to finding that inner higher self voice will probably differ. I also find exploring colours that relate to each aspect of ‘self’ gives me the space to express how I feel about each part of myself onto a blank canvas, creating something beautiful. Overall the basic, the emotional and rational and the higher ‘self’ are all me. From this newly found acceptance of my past, and awareness of my values, my needs and my fears it has given me a new sense of connection to myself and to others.
Once upon a time there was a lost girl... No....Once upon a time there was a girl, unaware of who she was and who she was going to be, unaware that one day she would feel free from notions of finding herself and free to create herself to be whoever she chose to be.
“Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself” George Bernard Shaw