I previously discussed ways to identify and reclaim your hidden and lost self. This article seeks to explain ways to identify and reclaim your denied self which is the third component of the Missing Self. Because our denied self (split off parts of ourselves) are deeply embedded in our unconscious we will need to seek the co-operation of people that are known to us to help us bring them to our consciousness. We cannot reclaim those split off parts until we allow ourselves to at first acknowledge them. The Denied Self is a part of yourself that you have a hard time accepting; Below are initial steps that you can take to begin to uncover them:-
- On a blank sheet of paper, draw a large circle and divide it in half horizontally. Mark the top of the circle with a plus sign and the bottom with a minus sign. Using adjectives to describe yourself, list your positive traits in the top of the circle, and the negative traits you see in yourself on the bottom. Do this thoughtfully and thoroughly.
- Draw the circle diagram as above on five or more additional sheets of blank paper. Ask at least five people you know, including at least two with whom you have had an intimate relationship (ie an ex-lover or partner) to describe you, using the same method as above.
- When you have collected all the responses, underline each description, whether positive or negative, that is identical or similar to an adjective you used to describe yourself. Circle the positive and negative ones that were not on your list.
- Draw another circle identical to the ones above, but divide this circle vertically as well, so that it is quartered. • Transfer the positive underlined adjectives that were mentioned more than once to the top left quarter of the circle and write next to each one the number of times it was mentioned.• Transfer the underlined negatives that were mentioned more than once to the bottom left quarter of the circle.• Transfer the positive circled adjectives that were mentioned more than once to the top right quadrant of the circle in the same manner,• and the negative circled adjectives that were repeated to the lower right quadrant.
- Write “Traits Known by Me and Others” on the left side of the circle. Label the right side “Traits Unknown by Me but Known by Others”.• The adjectives in the right half of the circle describe your Denied Self. Although people who know you well see the positive qualities, you may be embarrassed or fearful of owning them. For instance, you may downplay your sharp mind if your parents thought that “women should be seen and not heard” or if you unconsciously believe that “men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses”. Or you may still downplay the artistic nature that your teenage friends thought was wimpy.• The most troublesome part of your Denied Self, however, is the negative qualities that you disown but that you are likely to project onto others. You may have experienced these aspects of yourself in times of stress or crisis and thought, “That’s not like me”. You may have suddenly exploded with anger and then thought “I don’t know what came over me”.If you have completed the exercises in my previous article you now have a rather complete picture of your Missing Self (hidden self, lost self and denied self).In my next article I will describe ways to assist you in integrating all these disowned aspects. All your missing traits must be embraced and integrated, and some must be changed, for you to become whole. In a relationship with an intimate other, any integrated self parts will tend to be projected upon your partner and may result in destructive conflict. You will have a more constructive relationship with this knowledge available to your conscious mind, and it will not be the source of conflict between you and your partner.If you are currently single you may choose to do the work of identifying and reclaiming your missing self and embracing your shadow which will unconsciously affect who you next attract in your life.