The self and “self”-protection….

by Rod Smith

The deepest recess, where soul, spirit, body, intellect collide and connect and have their enduring party

The deepest recess, where soul, spirit, body, intellect collide and connect and have their enduring party


One failure of the so-called dysfunctional family (I prefer “higher” or “lower” functioning family) is a family’s inability to protect the emerging self (the sense of self, soul, spirit, inner being, heart) of persons in the family.

Characteristics of the self:
1. It is beautiful (created by God as the unique expression of who you are to the world). Even the “worst” person has, hidden beneath it all, a beautiful self.
2. It is relational (naturally wants to relate and engage). Every act – think about it – is an act of relationship.
3. It is sexual (naturally wants to procreate, build and nurture something larger than its-self). Nothing can be done to escape our gender; it is inextricably woven deeply within and finds expression in everything we do.
4. It naturally desires to engage in worship (naturally wants to ascribe greatness). This explains why BMWs, children, houses are “worshiped.”
5. It is enduring (it doesn’t change much in a lifetime). Parents say things like, “From the day he could walk he’s been a determined person.”
6. It is regenerative (naturally seeks to mend and heal). Like the body is always in a state of regeneration, so is the self.
7. It is resilient (can tolerate and survive enormous pain and suffering). Humans have endured untold horror when it has been inflicted upon them.
8. It is creative (naturally thinks outside its-self) and resourceful. It is the powerhouse (engine room) within every person.
9. It can be fed, trained, encouraged (one person can take better care of a self than another) and can grow.
10. Unfortunately, it can be starved, neglected (can wilt away without nurturing) and can give up the fight.
11. It is the place from within which people are able to want, to express desire; it is the center of desire within us.

Take Up Your Life

Take Up Your Life

Although the self within us all usually has a huge repertoire of protection mechanisms, when and if it is damaged, it is usually slow in healing. While the self is difficult to damage, considering its incredible resilience, it can be damaged. A damaged self displays the impacts of hurt and trauma most vividly in relational difficulties, in matters of closeness and intimacy. The effects of damage and trauma to a self can apparently leave a person quite unaffected regarding distant or impersonal encounters. It is in intimacy, in close friendships, that the damage most vividly reveals its presence. When in relationship, a person with a damaged self will find himself unable to “be him-self.”

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