How to Make Healthy Choices When Core Hurts Are Triggered: The ME Model

Carolyn Rexius's picture

This blog post discusses the “ME Model”. This is a model that I have been working on for years from my work and observations at CAFA.  We have been covering this Model in our Marriage Class, but it has great application for individuals in any stage of life as they understand their sense of self and how they react to events in life.


Me Model I from Sandy Silverthorne on Vimeo.

How We Develop: When a baby comes home from the hospital he or she is not unlike a puzzle waiting to be put together.  Children discover who they are through interactions in relationships with others.  In an ideal situation, it is the parents who initially put together the pieces and discover both the strengths and weaknesses of the child and the way God has made him or her to be.  This happens when parents make a study of the child. They listen, observe and spend time figuring out who the child is, where they have weaknesses, what their strengths are and what they enjoy doing. The better the parents are able to know their child and accurately define them, the more fully the child will develop a sense of self.  Children with a greater sense of self can navigate the world with more resources and tools as they address the experience of living. They will end up feeling a sense of competency, a sense of safety, an experience of being known and a sense of mastery in knowing how to build relationships and to solve life’s problems.

Well Developed Sense of Self vs. Low Sense of Self:

The development of self continues throughout life. It is never too late to discover your giftedness, your strengths, your weaknesses and how you were made to contribute to others. As days spent in relationship and being exposed to life’s problems pass, one continues the process of being equipped for successful living.  Thus when a problem occurs, one will be better able to use their knowledge, skills and giftedness as well as their resources to help face the problem and even grow from it. These resources can include: faith, family and friends and their knowledge,

giftedness and skills. When a problem occurs and a person does not seem to have the answer or resources and is at a loss to know how to deal with the situation, there is a backup system to slow things down and prevent wrong choices. We have been made with an ability to stand outside ourselves and think about our lives and our problems. We can call this; “an objective observing ego”. When stymied by a situation, our mind can STOP and think about it. This EGO is for the purpose of protecting the self. It is possible for the EGO to make poor choices that create a new problem. These choices might include trying to solve the feelings of discomfort with anger, violence, drugs or alcohol. However, we can take the time to let the “objective observing ego” or just EGO do its job to come up with a better solution. Sometimes a good night’s sleep, sometimes a good meal or some type of exercise will allow us better access to knowledge of the answer or resources needed to solve a problem. We can pray about it, go see a person with expertise in the problem or just calm down and gain perspective before we address trying to solve the problem. Unfortunately, a lot of us were not raised in ideal situations where parents accurately defined us and explored our weaknesses and abilities. When people are not treated with respect and a correct definition, they can develop a weaker sense of self.  If this was the case for you, the good news is that you can improve your sense of self. The stronger the knowledge of self, the better equipped for living one is. This results in more time spent in the “enjoyable FLOW” of living and the less time spent in the EGO. Living in the FLOW is as good as it gets in enjoyable living. 

How Can You Improve?

The best way to improve your sense of self is to enter into relationships with “safe” people who respect you and define you accurately.  Therapy with a trained counselor can be extremely effective for people because the therapist can help you identify your strengths and define you more accurately.  You also might try entering into healthy friendships, church groups, or volunteer groups that can help you grow your personhood and be known.  You will start to notice that as problems come, you will have a greater recognition of resources available and a better sense of mastery to solve them. Check out this short presentation.  You’ll learn that the pieces that we need to make us whole and complete are put into place in the context of our relationships. If some pieces are missing or damaged we sometimes default into making poor choices. Taking time out in your EGO, which is there to defend and protect you, can help.