Touching Our Essence
“Dear Drissia, just to tell you that yesterday went super well! Can you imagine that at a certain point I felt my essence while talking and watching the room?”
This heartwarming note may not mean much to you, but it was a huge breakthrough for this client! It was the moment she started to feel herself at a deeper level with her soul and heart, beneath the noise of her insecurities. She sensed for the first time that she could be someone else, another version of her that was palpable for her and visible to others. Not fake, but authentic and natural, acting from deep inside of her to the outside.
The way she showed up that day was so unusual that she still needed some time to get used to the new “her”. But in reality, it was the true her that could finally show up. It had been there all the time, hidden and covered by the layers of insecurities, misunderstandings, and self-judgments that she collected over the years and innocently mistook for herself.
-I could see the spark in her eyes, and I was so happy for her. I could deeply relate to her experience; I have been there myself.-
Clients come to me with all sorts of wishes, goals, and challenges. The presenting subjects they put forward in our first conversation are as diverse as life can be.
-We all have our dreams, strengths, and challenges. We all have aspects of our lives that flow naturally and fresh, like a river in spring, and other areas that we seem not to see very clearly or struggle with painfully. We all have things outside of us that we think are the cause of our discomfort.-
We talk in our sessions about what the clients want and why they want it, who they think they are, how they show up when they are at their best or have insecure thoughts, what they have been through et. But, even if it sounds like a lot already, we don’t stay there.
We go further and to a deeper place where one aspect of being human is way more critical and often overlooked since it gets covered by our life experience, and our thoughts. It is where our true potential lies and is usually a big blind spot for most of us.
Our personal life experiences, the memories, and the beliefs we attach to them build only the first layer of what we can see about ourselves and life. We all have them; the experiences and stories we tell ourselves about who we are, about others, or our past, present, and future.
They are what makes us human. They are made of perceptions, interpretations, and life lessons we grasp in our journey, and they shape our human experience and behaviours to give them their unique, distinctive form, colour, and flavour.
We start creating those stories, memories, and beliefs very early in our lives and then carry those thoughts in our personal baggage everywhere, sometimes for decades, without knowing that they play such a crucial role.
They serve consciously or unconsciously as our tour guides throughout our lives and feel natural and solid. Unmovable and unshakable, like an essential part of us. We think we would feel naked without them. Don’t we say that our life experiences make us who we are? Yes, in a way, but only at the surface. They are not the whole story of what life is.
They are the waves on the sea, the visible part of our human experience, and the made to measure goggles that we carry on our noses without noticing that we have them. We don’t always see how much they unconsciously influence our lives.
Therefore, one of the first exercises we need to do is to notice that they exist.
When I listen to my clients, they like to use sentences and words like “I am like that” or “This is how I am”. I am shy, critical, sad, angry, insecure or self-confident. I am introvert or extravert. I am strong or weak. I am this, or I am that. We all do that!
The stronger the statement and the more solid it feels to the client, the more I think it needs to be challenged. -No worry, I do it with lots of love-. Not for the sake of challenging a human being in their beliefs, but because those statements are a sign to me that they are limiting themselves unnecessarily and that there is something about their true nature that they are not seeing.
There is in us a deeper layer of who we are that is way more interesting than our experiences, labels and memories!
When I work with clients, I want to remind them of who they are and point them to their essence; to this part of them, they often don’t even know they are.
This part of them is part of all of us. It is where the potential for our transformation lies.
The expression “being ourselves” can sometimes be misunderstood because whatever sense of self we have developed in our heads based on our personal history and memories, we often mistake that for who we are.
In reality, we are not the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, nor how we show up or behave, nor what others (or tests) tell us we are.
Who we are, in our essence, is not impacted by our experiences or our thoughts .
In our core, we have never changed, been hurt or damaged in any way, and will never be.
Since the day we were born, our essence has always stayed the same. It cannot disappear because it has no form. Opinions or labels do not impact it, nor our life lessons. It is not our self-concept, ego, or the ideas of past, present or future we create in our heads about us. It is not who we want to become or who we used to be. It doesn’t have a name or a place, and still, it is always there. If we didn´t have it we would not be able to observe the world or experience anything.
It is the genuine source of our resilience, our strength, our innate well-being and our potential. It is where our wisdom, peace, happiness and creativity come from. It is what enables us to stand next to ourselves, observe what we are doing and thinking, and surprise ourselves.
It is a safe space in us we can experience anytime, our true home so to say.
Who we are -the core of us, our essence- is formless. It is us before thought. The source of everything. It is the “I” that creates the perception, the word, the thought, the feeling, and the action. Some call it awareness or consciousness or “I am”… I like to call it our essence…
When we start to get a glance of our essence and connect with it more often, we get a whole different life experience. It is healing, freeing, peaceful and pure.
Feeling our true Self, our essence so to say, is amazing. From there, we can recreate ourselves and do anything.
“And in this game of life, we all search for ourselves. When I say selves, I mean inner selves, the thing that created life in the first place. Now consciously, most of us are not aware of this. But if you’re searching for happiness; if you’re searching for tranquillity; if you’re searching just to have a nice, peaceful, loving, understanding life… in actual fact, your searching for your inner self.” Sydney Banks
We think we are the only ones to get caught up in insecure thoughts, but insecurities are one of the most spread psychological misunderstandings. Young, old, men, women… It’s where we meet in our shared humanness, and we all have that. But they don't really matter as much as we think. They come and go. If only we didn’t identify with them so much!
We think the pain we sometimes have to go through in life changes us fundamentally, but it isn´t true, it impacts our psychological experience of life, not our very core. In our essence, nothing ever changes. Our essence stays as pure as it has always been. We can experience the pain, remember it, feel it, hold on to it, but we are not the pain. We are way more than that. This is where our true strength comes from.
Imagine if everybody in the world knew that! If we were all more often in contact with our true self, with our essence: in our lives, in our families, at school, at work, in politics, in communities. Imagine the natural and healthy confidence and resilience humanity would experience from that — no need to defend or protect ourselves, no need to fake strength, to feel big, no need to envy or attack anybody. Just being our true self would be enough.
Imagine we would all know that! What a difference it would make to the world.
#transformativeconversations #whoweare #wisdom #consciousness #selfconfidence #humanness #essence
Drissia Schroeder-Hohenwarth is a Psychologist and a Transformative Coach for Leaders, Teams, and Organisations with a fascination for the endless potential of the mind.