Are Parts of You Missing?

by Steven Kessler

Do you feel like you're not enough somehow?

  • Not attractive enough?
  • Not smart enough?
  • Not good enough?
  • Not ________ enough?

What do you do about it?

  • Do you try to accomplish something or improve yourself externally to make up for it?
  • Or do you identify with it, saying “that's just who I am,” and feeling deficient?

Both these solutions are a mistake. You misunderstand the problem, so you're applying the wrong solution.

It's not that you're missing something and need to get it, it's that you're disconnected from a deep part of yourself inside, so you no longer feel it as a part of you.

To understand this, we need to think about the fact that you have both a real self and a false self. The term real self refers to your spirit or essence, while the false self refers to your ego and your personality. The basic idea is that your real self, your essence, cannot be hurt or damaged in any way, so it is always whole, perfect, and completely present. However, as you go through the struggles of childhood and your personality and ego structures develop, they gradually obscure your essence. They mask it and make you less and less aware of it, until you begin to think you are your ego and personality, instead of your essence. (This idea comes from “The Theory of Holes” developed by A. H. Almaas, the founder of the Diamond Heart meditation school. For his description of it, see Diamond Heart, Book 1, by A. H. Almaas, Chapter 2.)

Everyone's essence has certain qualities, and they are the qualities that we all like and want – qualities such as goodness, value, love, strength, courage, brilliance, beauty, kindness, and so on. And the reason we all like and want these qualities is that they are the qualities of our real self, our true self. They are part of who we really are, so not feeling them seems somehow wrong. Think about it this way: if being stupid was part of who you really are, being called stupid would not hurt. You would not feel insulted. You would feel seen, and you would say, “Yes, that's right. Thank you for seeing me.” But that's not what happens, is it? When someone calls you stupid, it hurts. Why does it hurt? Because it is not who you really are, not your true self. Your true self is brilliant, so being called stupid feels wrong. And this is true even if your false self (your personality) does feel stupid.

And the same is true for all the other qualities of your essence. Feeling ugly feels bad because your true self, your essence, is beautiful. Feeling weak feels bad because your true self, your essence, is strong. Feeling worthless feels bad because, in reality, you are value (not just valuable, but value itself). Feeling unloved feels bad because, in reality, you are love, and again, not just loved or loving, but love itself. When you feel who you (in your essence) really are, it feels good. It feels right. Not being able to feel a part of who you really are feels bad. It feels like something's wrong or missing because you have lost contact with a part of the real you. So, instead of feeling that part of your essence, you feel a lack.

When we feel the lack of one of those qualities inside us, we either try to create it externally or we use the feeling of lack as our identity. Ultimately, however, neither of these solutions works.  Better clothing and make-up will not replace an inner feeling of beauty. External achievements and success will not replace an inner feeling of inherent value. And popularity will not replace knowing that you are made of Love. Likewise, collapsing into your sense of deficiency and saying “I'm not enough” may provide an explanation for your pain, but it does not heal it.

The good news is that the apparently missing part of you is not actually gone. You have simply lost your connection to it. Your personality and ego structure are masking it, making you unable to consciously experience it. Your false self has lost its connection to that part of your real self. You then experience this loss of connection as something missing in you, as as a lack, or even as a hole in your body.

So what's the real solution? The real solution is to connect with that quality of your essence, so that you once again experience it as you. To do that, you have to both stop identifying with the hole and stop trying to fill it with something external. Instead, you have to go into the hole. You have to relax into the feeling of lack until you pop through it and reconnect with that quality of your essence.  This is why accepting the current situation is the first step in all healing.

However, sitting into a deeply distressing feeling is not easy to do. During my 16 years in the Diamond Heart School, I spent an a whole year sitting into a feeling of terror that was running my life at the time. With the support and guidance of my teacher, I sat with it for an hour every week for a solid year until I popped through the hole of my terror into a state of uncaused well-being. And that inner state of uncaused well-being is still with me today. But getting there wasn't easy.

Luckily, we now have a tool to make sitting through a hole much, much easier and faster. Since the disconnection was originally caused by trauma, and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) dissolves trauma, we can use EFT to ease and speed the healing process. We just identify the raw sensation of the lack or the trauma and tap on it until it dissolves so completely that you pop through the hole and reconnect with the missing quality of your essence. In working with my clients, I have seen this happen in as little as two or three sessions, even with complex trauma. 

If you are an EFT practitioner, you will probably find it very helpful to re-frame your client's problem as a disconnection from essence, instead of as a deficiency. If they say, “I'm not enough” or “I'm not worthy,” they are probably experiencing the hole of Value. If they say, “I'm not lovable,” they are probably experiencing the hole of Love. If they say, “I'm bad,” they are probably experiencing the hole of Goodness. Using this understanding, you can re-frame their problem to make it much less daunting for them, because it is not actually a deficiency in their real self, but only a disconnection from it.

If you are a client, you may find that re-framing your complaint in this way finally allows you to find your way to a real solution, to a lasting inner experience of exactly what you've been missing, not something added externally to try to make up for an inherent lack.

I hope you find this way of looking at your problems useful. Please feel free to comment below.

  • Absolutely brilliant, useful and appreciated.Thanks so much. It really gives me a direction for the EFT practice I’m developing. I’ve had a hard time looking for words that describe whatever the core beliefs are, but I know the feelings very clearly. Grateful in Oceanside, JiMi

  • Very Timely read. I’ve a performance management review this afternoon. There is a lot to this work that is relevant to creatives in the Arts. Thank you for sharing. Just a bit mindblowing :^)

  • Great article. I agree with it all.
    When dealing with a client with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – what hole is she experiencing? Safety, perhaps? Or does it depend?

  • I’m wondering what hole/disconnection a belief around “not being pretty enough” would be indicative of. It’s a hyper-fixation that’s haunted me despite not feeling strongly influenced by societal beauty standards. I did have high people pleasing in my family of origin and could see that being related to appearance and caring too much about my image. I’m not quite sure what to tap on in this area and would appreciate any tips or insights.

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