The Most Precious Part of You

When did you begin to lose a sense of "your self?" When did you start to give up parts of you for another? The first time was when you were very small. At that time, your caretaker (whether mother, father or some relative) expected (or even demanded) that you be a certain way for them to provide you with the most basic survival things like food, attention, warmth on any level, etc. Even though you gave up whatever they demanded of you to let go of, did you actually get what you were searching for from them? Think about that. You were so eager to "please" that you gave away essential parts of you in order to receive what you felt was essential. I find that so many people I work with aren't even aware that they did that. It was a process that took a few early years to do but the effects are still unconsciously pulling at them to continue doing – afraid that whatever might befall them is still possible.
You must take time to examine what you just might have given up very early in your life and it is still alive in you. Let's say that you had to forget tuning in to anything that you might want to have, do or say. Instead, you were careful to modify it to be sure that the "other" would not scold you or even ignore you. Now, here you are at this time in your life and you are still acting out these behaviors with friends, lovers, spouses, authority figures of any kind.
I have one person who has been in several long term relationships with their lovers and is finding that he was unhappy, but not able to figure out the reasons. As we have been working together in psychotherapy for several months, he is beginning to understand that he is reenacting exactly how he learned to be at one year old, two years old, and on to now in his thirties. He has no idea who he is apart from this behavior.
When he began to exert a little of who he is (after many weeks of two times a week therapy) , he is discovering that his lover doesn't like this new man. "Where is the man who just wanted to please me? " she asks frequently. "Where is the man who never exerted his own needs into the relationship but totally focused on me?" This new "man" in her life is creating conflict after conflict. That's understandable given he presented a year ago another persona he had learned very early in life.
The most essential part of you is your Essence. Do you even know how to describe that Essence? Write a paper on who you are at the Core of you – what are your likes, what are your passions, what do you do "in secret" that you would not dare do with an important person in your life for fear they would not approve of it? You may not even know who that Essence is – many don't.
Then what must you do? Begin to explore ways of being that very tuned in to you, find even small passions that you have. See how you are with yourself when you are alone or with someone you feel totally safe with. Are you freer? Do you find that you are different when you have time alone?
Start the process of discovering this Core of you, even it if means separating from "the other" for a period of time. Otherwise, you will start resenting this person and not even know what is happening. In fact, you may already be angry at times that seem peculiar to you. You must begin now, don't wait until a more convenient time. You'll regret not starting as early as you were introduced to this concept – like today.
Start, there is no time to waste. Life is for you, not for living someone else's life, no matter how important they are to you.