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The Second Pivot: Self

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Let's continue our walk through A liberated Mind by Steven C. Hayes with Pivot Two.

"The Self requires pivoting from allegiance to a conceptualized sense of self, or our ego, to a perspective-taking self; redirects the yearning for belonging and connection. In the simplest sense, what I mean when I'm talking about your conceptualized self is your ego - your stories about who you are and who others are in relation to you. Inside our stories, we note what is special about us (our special skills; our special needs, and we hope this will earn us a place in the group. We all have these stories, and held lightly, they can even be helpful. However, when we hold tightly to them it becomes difficult to be honest with ourselves or to make room for other thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that would benefit others and ourselves but that don't fit the story. In this event, the conceptualized self leads us to defend these stories as if our life depends on it, which creates alienation, not true connection.

The alternative is to connect more deeply with a perspective-taking self - a sense of observing, witnessing, or purely being aware. This sense of self allows us to see that we are more than the stories we tell ourselves, more than what our minds says. We also see that we are connected in consciousness to all of humanity - we belong not because we are special, but because we are human. Some people think of this as a transcendent or a spiritual sense of self....

Research shows that when people focus on building, protecting, and maintaining self-esteem, they can become less able to focus on what they really value. They are more likely to feel pressured, stressed, and anxious and to be less resilient when facing challenges....Genuine self-esteem is soft and open to our flaws; the kind built on pretense is rigid, defended, and rejecting of self-honesty. The difference is fusion with our conceptualized stories.

The Self pivot takes the healthy energy of yearning to belong and swings it in the direction of reconnecting with our transcendent I/here/now sense of awareness, allowing that awareness alone to be at the core of what we take ourselves to be. This allows us to relate to others, and to ourselves, in a way not dominated by the distortions of the ego and its self-story."

Try it on.

Separating awareness and the content of awareness can be tricky. Yet, they are not the same. When you are finding yourself getting lost in the fog of content, when you can't distinguish yourself from thoughts - try this on multiple times a day for several days.

I am aware of [ state content].


I am not [state content].


I contain awareness of [state content].


I am aware of a memory of being broken up with.

I am not a memory.

I contain awareness of being broken up with.

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