Unconditionally loving and perfectly imperfect, without shame, unique, real, precious, one-of-a-kind, genuine, spontaneous, worthy, vulnerable, accepting of who I am, expressive of needs and wants and able to be in the moment. 

By Mike Finecey, MA, LPC, LISAC

The Original Self is the title given to the person I was born to be. The child I am at birth — unconditionally loving and nearly perfect. There are many words that can be used to describe the Original Self; unique, real, precious, one-of-a-kind, genuine.
The Original Self is who I was before I had to figure out what to do in the big conditional world. The world where I had to experience, understand and figure out what to do with negative emotions. Before that part of my life took hold, I’m able to be spoiled; wanting what I want when I want it. My emotional expression can and will be both appropriate and inappropriate as I express all feelings. I’m vulnerable and can’t survive without the nurturing and attention of another. I must rely on others to create a world that is safe, secure, consistent, and stable where I can have some control over my own environment.

Original Self Emerges
The way I have control over my environment doesn’t always have words when I’m little. I can cry and someone will pick me up, feed me or know its nap time. I put my arms out and someone will hold me. I can point and someone will know what I want. Later I learn to ask for what I want, especially if it’s at the check-out counter at the grocery store. At two, I practice saying ‘no’, just to make sure I belong. I know I’m worthy of my existence and I’m pretty much accepting of everyone. This is a time when I’m fully capable to express my needs and wants. I can say, mommy, mommy, mommy a thousand times, I can even get it myself, sometimes without spilling. I live in the moment. I spend each day being me. I’ve forgotten yesterday and don’t know what tomorrow means. I can play with pots and pans or put on a pillow case and be superman. I can dress up in mommy’s clothes and even wear her make-up. I can sleep anywhere just because I want to. After all, I am the Original Self I was born to be!

Where Did the Original Self Go?
My Original Self is who I am for the first five or so years of my life. At five or six, I enter into a phase of my life where I learn to emote what my feelings are and to have empathy and sympathy for others. Once I start school and all of a sudden there’s a new adult in town; my teacher. He or she tells me where to sit and when I’m going to have cookies. They even tell me when its nap time. The worst thing is there are a lot of other spoiled little kids; one of them takes my toy from me and when I cry they don’t give it back. At home, I’m being told to pick up my stuff and use a fork when I eat. My learning to cope with my negative emotions has begun. Ah, to be three again! In a healthy family, I will be taught and learn what to do with my new exposure to negative emotions. At the same time, I will learn how to maintain my Original Self as part of who I am.
In an unhealthy family, I may not make it to five before I begin to experience my negative emotions or I don’t have anyone to teach me what to do with them. Often times, the person who is to help me learn is the person who is causing the pain. As I grow older, I will often times lose my ability to be original, spontaneous and vulnerable. I may even take on the belief that I’m unworthy.

Reclaiming Your Original Self
In recovery, I hear statements like; “Let Go and Let God”, “One Day at a Time”, and “Stay in the Moment.” From each of these statements, I learn how to do life again as my Original Self. Letting go and letting God, reminds me to be unconditionally loving of myself and to release that which I cannot control — mainly people, places and things. One day at a time and stay in the moment, I did that when I was three.
Learning to bring the Original Self back into my adultness is all about learning to understand the person who I was always intended to be. As I’m reminded in Step 3, making a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God is to allow myself to re-parent the person I was born to be. Unconditionally loving and perfectly imperfect, without shame, unique, real, precious, one-of-a-kind, genuine, spontaneous, worthy, vulnerable, accepting of who I am, expressive of needs and wants and able to be in the moment. To laugh, giggle and play, appropriately, as the Original Self — I was born to be.

Michael is the co-founder and Clinical Director of North Pointe Counseling Center. Michael holds a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling, and a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering and Technologies. Visit www.npccaz.com/