The Intrinsic Self : How Defining Yourself And Your Worth By Your Achievements And Usefulness Is Undermining Your Happiness And Serenity, is about redefining self-worth outside of achievements and social and family expectations, and should be required reading for anyone seeking to develop self-affirmation rather than defining success by the standards of others. Through identifying and challenging core assumptions about life and one's role in it to developing better boundaries and coping methods for stress, Dennis Portnoy's thirty-some years as a psychotherapist lends to wisdom gained not just from life experience, but from many of the shared struggles and journeys of his clients. From choosing to pursue excellence over perfectionism (there is a difference!) to many special problems experienced by males, who are taught to equate their self-esteem with physical strengths and abilities, The Intrinsic Self goes beyond simply increasing self-esteem –it reveals how the very ways that we define ourselves is often the source of our unhappiness. It probes the foundations of life pursuits gone awry, suggests remedies for the dysfunctional or false perceptions that thwart true strength, and tackles common erroneous core assumptions that develop from both childhood and adult experience. Case history examples permeate Portnoy's words of wisdom, linking psychological, philosophical, and social objectives to real-life experience. Many books seek to help readers develop authenticity and inner resilience and strength and build a more purposeful life. The Intrinsic Self provides a focus in keeping with these goals, but delves deeper into psychological and personal growth process to pinpoint common misperceptions stemming even from altruism and apparent success. Unhappiness comes from many levels and in different forms. The Intrinsic Self offers the kinds of insights that promote self-examination and growth. It's a highly recommended pick for anyone who would consider embracing different values, tackling long-held assumptions and redefining core purposes and perceptions during the process. D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
TIP SHEET Focus on what’s best for you Putting everyone else before you is a major obstacle to implementing self-care, and staying true to yourself. When you are too focused outwardly you become overly accommodating. Remember that your needs are as important as everyone else’s needs. Enlightened self-interest is not about being selfish. Learn to receive as much as you give Being able to ask for and receive support, and having supportive people in your life are essential aspects of self-care. Without this, life becomes unbalanced and you become susceptible to burnout. When you over-identifying with your strengths you often view your vulnerability as a sign of weakness and failure. Equating your worth with what you provide to others causes you to have difficultly asking for support. Listen to your internal compass Too often we allow outside influences such as society, parents and peer expectations to guide our decisions. When you turn your attention inward and sense your subtle bodily and emotion reactions, you can access what is best for you in the moment and in general. Your inner world will tell you what it is right for you, whether it be about making an important choice, needing to reach out for support, or knowing when to seek solitude and quiet. Recognize your true value When your self-concept revolves around how others perceive you, being productive, or from the good you do for others, you will always have to please others and feel useful in order to feel worthwhile. It is crucial to learn how to self-validate by affirming your inner qualities as the true source of your worth. Write a list of qualities that make you a worthwhile person, and omit anything that relates to achievements or the good you do for others. Read the list out loud beginning with the words “What makes me worthwhile is (example: my resourcefulness) and this is the real source of my worth”. This exercise may seem foolish and even phony. If you practice it on a regular basis it can be transformative over time. Embrace your limitations Are you self-critical when you don’t measure up to your own, or others standards? When you are outwardly focused your choices are based on family, societal, family and peer expectations, and approval, rather than on your core values. Your values may not even be based on your own criteria. Cultivate compassion toward your shortcomings. Remember that the pursuit of excellence is different from perfection. When you aren’t able to live up to your ideal you don’t feel deficient. Connecting the dots In what ways did you act when you were younger that increased your chances of being acknowledged, accepted and getting approval from peers, parents and authority figures? Were you helpful, hyper self-reliant or compliant in order to minimize disapproval, humiliation or decrease family tension? Picture your self as a youngster not behaving in these ways. How do imagine family members and others would respond to you?