Self is defined as: The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual. Or as: The essential qualities distinguishing one person from another; individuality
Identity is defined as: The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known. Or as: The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.
Each person has two identities. One is the Ego (defined as: In psychoanalysis, the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality. ). This is the external mask we wear and the facade we project to other people to fit into our world. Most of the time, though, this facade is either only a singular piece of who we are, or a false impression all together.
The second identity is usually kept hidden from the world because it is the vulnerable side, our True Selves. It is the suppressed aspects of ourselves which we feel ashamed of, afraid to express them to anyone out of a deep seeded fear of being ostracized and shunned by our intimate community. This aspect of ourselves is filled not only with fears and apprehension, but also with our darker qualities, our depravity, our sins, and our confusion.
Often times people are so busy externalizing their world (this is not just an Empathic trait) that they forget who they truly are. They lose that deep connection with themselves. And once its lost, they become afraid of what they might find when they open that door.
This is a particular down side to being an Empath. We not only have our own facades to deal with, but also those of others as well, as though they were our own. In all of that confusion, its hard to even imagine meeting our true selves because we are capable of seeing the inner depths of others, both their dark and light sides.
But to truly become healthy Empaths, we must not only overcome our fear and meet our true selves. We must also embrace that true self for all that it is, both good and bad, both light and dark. Because all of those feelings, qualities, and traits offer a unique perspective that is otherwise denied through societies censorship and expectations. They are all beautiful expressions of your individuality, even the harshest of emotions.
Bringing them into the light also allows one to deal with unresolved issues which have been long suppressed. Traumas of the past, resentments long left festering, self recriminations of inadequacies, fears, sadness, pain......and the list goes on.
The initial step into this realm of self discovery is like being hit with a sledge hammer. It is one filled with doubt, fear, and uncertainty. It is one filled with questions with no easy answers readily available. And the natural inclination is to run away from it because it is the unknown. But stepping beyond that fear will bring forth a person who is strong, confident, and assured of themselves and of their place in this world. So facing that fear and moving forward, even when in doubt, is imperative.
You certainly won't like everything you find. But you won't hate everything that is there, either. And as you get to know yourself, bit by bit, you will develop a deeper appreciation for others, as well. You will see their flaws as you see their light, and understand it on a much more profound level, because you understand and accept yourself at that same level.
Strengthening your connection with yourself, directly and indirectly strengthens your connection with others. It makes the gifts and abilities of an Empath easier to deal with, while at the same time, making the whole process make alot more sense.
I can say this over and over again. I can ask the questions. But no one can truly do this for you. No one can stand over you and hold your hand as you walk this path. On this journey, you truly are alone with yourself. Will the person, you, who sits beside you be your best friend or your worst enemy? Will you fight yourself until the day you draw your last breath? Or will you embrace that which you are, for all that you are, both good and bad?
Balance lays within your hands. It is your choice. ^_^ But no matter who and what you are, you are still unique and beautiful. So have faith in yourselves.
"No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true." ---Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
"This above all,--to thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." ---William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
"Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem." ---W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence