Summary of “Make Peace With Your Unlived Life”

The idea of a “True self” and a “False” or “Shadow” self has long preoccupied psychologists.
Donald Winnicott elaborated on the idea of the “True self” and “False self.” He explained that beginning in infancy, all of us, in response to perceived threats to our well-being, develop a defensive structure that may evolve into a “False self.” He suggests that if our basic needs are not acknowledged-not mirrored back to us by our parents-we may presume they are unimportant.
In our efforts to please others, we hide and deny our “True self,” which in turn leads to self-estrangement.
If that’s the case, the “False self” will get the upper hand.
If there is too great a discrepancy between the “True” and the “False” self, it will make for a vulnerable sense of identity.
In her case, the tension between “False self” and “True self” came to a head, contributing to a renewal of the confusion she had experienced at an earlier stage of life.
Not living a full, complete life-not integrating these other parts of herself, call it her shadow or negative identity-turned out to be extremely draining, contributing to life choices that didn’t accommodate her real needs.
Although a person might view these parts of herself as a representation of her unlived life, a delayed identity crisis can also contain the seeds of psychological renewal-the motivation to enter new directions in life.

The orginal article.