The Ups and Downs of Working on a Positive Self-Image: Feel Good About Yourself Naturally (Series 2 of 3)

14 07 2011

Here is the long-awaited sequel to the original articles by guest blogger Jeffrey. This series helped me through some transformations. My wish is that it will help you as well. Namaste, Mrs. Scott

Article Summary: This article has three parts. Part One looks at the typical strategies used for working on a positive self-image and why suffering or always feeling like you are falling short is inevitable. Part Two discusses the source of feeling good that is already within you. Part Three outlines a simple and practical process for naturally drawing from your Soul to feel whole and complete. This is part 2.

Part Two: Leaving the Ego to Become Whole

Instead of trying to maintain positive thoughts, using behavior modification or any other treatment designed to “fix” or “get rid” of a self-image problem, simply allow “growing” to occur.

Change from “growing” arises from the soil of the Soul. Soul is the experience of yourself as something more profound than a mental/emotional identity built from historical impressions. Psychological focus is on repairing and forming a healthy ego or self-image. Soul experiences reveal the limitations of this approach. Psychology does not recognize the role of ego as a temporary stage that leads to something greater. The need for an ego is only a stepping-stone in the unfolding maturation of what it means to be human. To suffer from a sense of inadequacy, then to feel more adequate through psychological treatment and/or other manipulations leaves us incomplete. True adequacy comes from experiencing yourself as Soul in which degrees of adequacy are irrelevant to the completeness and fullness that arises from simply being. By experiencing your Soul, you begin to separate from the illusion of yourself as a self-image or ego belief.

Consider the wisdom of the Parable of the mustard seed and the yeast [Matthew 13:31, 33]:

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in the field. The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

This Parable teaches there is a way of feeling good about yourself that once begun or given intent, works on it’s own- like a seed and without human effort like yeast works to leaven bread. There is something within you that spreads its life force outwards. It is change from the inside out. Your previous efforts at change have most likely been approached from the outside inward to improve your sense of self.

Instead, think of yourself as a gardener of your Soul. Mother Mary is one example. As with her, there is a seed within you that is growing and inevitably shows itself. She surrenders her ego to something larger even though she does not understand how it came to be. It happens on its own or through Grace. You are only to cultivate It’s growth. How? Primarily by making room, making space for It to grow into your consciousness. Asking, “What is my Soul experiencing?” throughout the day is one way. At the same time, add to the soil of your being trust and faith: trust in your self and faith that the deepest part of you knows the way. Trust in the life force within you to take you where you need to go and have faith that it will come once freed from the ego’s need to control.

Feeing good is no longer obtained from a narcissistic ego wanting to attain an ideal self-image but from the Soul. It occurs not as a result of gain, needs met or manipulation of externals to satisfy yourself. It does not require effort. It is simply a way of being. Transformation is a self-actualizing response to Soul consciousness. The unfoldment is not under personal control. As with a seed in nature, things occur on their own, feed from life itself. As this occurs, new realizations and new learning automatically arise within you that reinforce the process.

Individual Soul consciousness arises from a ground swell deep within a life-creating ocean of inner life. Instead of identifying with a wave or self-image that is apart from the whole, you experience yourself as the ocean. This is a self not centered in a separate “I”. It simply feels unnatural and therefore suffering results. This is a self that arises from a deep current of silent life force and moves to the surface where the world of form is then created.

It can be no other way and suffering is here to remind us of this truth:

“So long as you regard yourself as a part only, a small finite something… so long as you are limited: you are impaired, you are cut, you are divided, you are not whole, not healthy, not strong. If you separate a small particle of water from the sea, it will become putrid, it will become stagnant. The very moment that you dispel your finite consciousness and feel that you are all, then you become whole.” Swami Rama Tirtha

Jeffrey Douglass, MSW, CSW, author of Living From Your Soul, has been a licensed psychotherapist integrating psychology and spirituality for 33 years. Jeffery offers individual and couples counseling (also available by phone), as well as retreats, workplace coaching, and telecourses. To purchase the book, or for further information, please visit the website:, email  jeffrey@ or call 208-667-8387.

Read Part 1 of the series here.




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