The Lower Self is one-third of your entire Self. It is also the repository for your anger, rage, despair, apathy, and other negative emotions. If you are dealing with irrational, explosive emotions that your rational mind knows are way out of context for the situation, you’re dealing with your Lower Self. When you’re blocked, or find yourself repeating unhelpful patterns, you’re probably also dealing with your Lower Self. It is the ugly stepchild of the psyche, and it will act the part if you shun it.
According to the Core Energetics Model, the self is divided into three parts: The Lower Self, the Mask, and the Higher Self (or, Core Self). Simply put, the Higher Self is the truth of who you are, the Mask is who you want to be perceived as, and the Lower Self is where you hold the pain you experience when the Higher Self and the Mask work against one another. Understanding the Lower Self will unlock valuable information and resources for you.
Exploring your Lower Self is like jumping into a deep swimming pool at night — risky, daunting, and maybe a little creepy. The goal is the contentment you’ll experience as you float on that dark surface, confident in your understanding of the relationship between your body and the water that surrounds it! But know that before you float, you’re going to have to swim, so make sure you know how, and bring a lifeguard.
Here are a few things to remember, as you take the plunge:
Remember that honesty is more important than neatness:
The Lower Self is messy. Rage and despair do not make for good dinner guests. Do not let the honesty of your experience be overshadowed by the havoc that confronting these feelings might cause you. The Lower Self is SO MUCH more honest and real than the Mask.
Find ways to express the Lower Self that are safe and contained:
Dealing with the Lower Self is work to do in an environment of support; inside sessions or a program. These are difficult emotions. As always, acknowledge your own limitations and boundaries, and take care of yourself along the way. Equip yourself for the task at hand, and rely on the resources around you. The point is to transform the Lower Self, not to get lost in it.
Acknowledge the validity and the transience of your emotions:
Know that the chaos you might be feelings is temporary, but important. Acknowledge your emotions and their validity. Without being dismissive, recognize that they are just emotions. If you allow yourself to feel them and be curious about what they are telling you, they may pass even faster and have even more positive benefit.
Your Lower Self is worth getting to know. When you have the strength and courage to descend into the darkness, you will find the pathway to joy and the gift of your vitality.