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Making a Difference:
A Balanced Sense of Self

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Recently I needed to make a business appointment with a new acquaintance. I suggested various dates and times for the appointment, none of which seemed possible. Finally, the woman opened her calendar, which offered proof that virtually every millisecond of her time was scheduled.

I asked her (in a mild tone, I assure you) why she was so busy, and got a frank and fascinating answer. She said that she uses her behavior to create a self. "I need to feel that I'm accomplishing something," she said. "I have to feel that I'm important." When she wasn't running around frantically she felt insignificant.

Some people fill in their time in order to feel that they are worth something; with others, the fundamental feeling of insignificance gets acted out in other ways, as in the examples below (names and details changed to protect me.)

Lorraine makes promises to many people, none of which she keeps. Though her excuse is that she forgot or that something more important came up, her deepest belief is that her word doesn't matter because she doesn't.

Fred's way of feeling important is to tell everyone that he is. When he lacks an audience he becomes his own best listener, carrying on imaginary conversations in which he makes his point of view (and Fred is always right) clear to invisible listeners.

Harriet may not always be right, but no one tells her what to do. She views the mildest suggestion as an order against which she must rebel with all her might. She would rebel most forcefully against the suggestion that she is defending herself against the belief that her being and integrity aren't worth defending.

Rafael, on the other hand, has abandoned such defense. Consciously aware of his feelings of insignificance, he will do whatever people tell him to do. He gives in fully to the feeling that he doesn't make a difference.

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The Human Dilemma

The feeling that one doesn't make a difference is a uniquely human condition. No animal, plant, or stone questions its right to be. Each is secure in its purpose and place in the universe; each knows itself to be part of the greater picture of All That Is.

When we first come into this world we, too, share the animals' sense of both individuality and connection. We have, on the soul level, a thorough understanding of who we are, and what our purpose is for entering physical reality. As very small children we both rejoice in our uniqueness and feel our connection to all of life. We live, each of us, in a magical world where our desire for self-expression is fulfilled.

Sooner or later, however, our humanness catches up with us, for we incarnate into a species whose sense of oneness, though innate on the deepest level of being has been forgotten on the level of conscious awareness. This conscious awareness makes us different from other creatures. Our mistake is to believe that different means better, and to separate ourselves from other life forms and from the oneness of all creation.

Our sense of self then becomes based on separation, which is somewhat like building one's house on sand. Without a sense of belonging and of a larger purpose for our being, our sense of our selves has no context, no arena in which we can make our unique contributions.

As separate beings we are without the opportunity to be enriched by joyful interactions with other species of physical and nonphysical consciousness, and without the ability to draw on the great wellsprings of love which animate the universe. We lose the sense of feeling valued and protected by this love.

As children growing up in an environment in which self is as fragile and rootless as a cut flower we are bound to get cut off from the feeling of both uniqueness and oneness with which we entered this world. Some adult, lacking a positive sense of his or her self will let us know that we're not lovable and adorable just as we are. Life from then on consists of attempting to find strategies and behavior which will restore us to grace.

These strategies are ultimately not very successful. While Lorraine will be appreciated by the clients and causes to which she gives every second of her time her family and friend may be less appreciative. Rafael, because he gives in so easily, will find little conflict in his life; he will probably also have little self-respect. Those who are in Harry's conversational range will likely not appreciate him; nor will anyone be so rash as to make a suggestion to Harriet.

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Coming Home

Exhausting and ultimately unproductive as these various strategies are, it seems at first far more difficult to believe that we are worthy simply because we are. We are so accustomed to doing that it may be a little frightening to think that being is the answer. What, for example, would we do with all the hours and energies which we've used until now in demonstrating our worth?

What happens to this time can be transformation. The writer who writes in order to gain approval will still write--but now for the love of it, now enjoying the act of writing as much or even more than the reward of completion. Relationships deadened by a sense of duty might come alive with love. Those who have entered into careers out of a need to be impressive might find themselves free to act out their hearts' desires, and perhaps discover their reason for being.

That is the ultimate gift of being: the comfort of knowing we each have our unique place in the universe, and the faith that our selves cannot be violated.

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Crystal Beings

Citrine is the crystal for having a balanced sense of self in which one feels neither insignificant nor compensates for lack of self-esteem by developing an inflated sense of self-importance.

Rose Quartz, the crystal for self-love, helps us to realize that being important is no substitute for loving ourselves.

A crystal whose name means sea water, aquamarine is one of the best stones for helping us to release all the stress caused by the need to be significant. Its energy is that of sitting by the sea and becoming part of its rhythm.

Clear quartz helps us to realize that each of us is a unique part of the greater whole. Clusters are especially helpful for this.

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Flowering Selves

Larch (Bach) is in many ways the flower essence most similar to Citrine. It is especially effective in handling feelings of incompetence.

Goldenrod (FES) is recommended for those who need to develop a deep inner sense of themselves. Without this they have trouble keeping their word because they don't feel that they make a difference.

Elm (Bach) is an excellent flower essence for those who allow themselves to become so overwhelmed by all they have to do that overwhelm becomes a reason not to relate to others.

Like Rose Quartz, Holly (Bach) is very helpful when people want to feel important because they essentially feel unloved.

Beyond the Rainbow
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