Essential Self/Social Self

In this fun video, Martha shares the difference between your “social self” and your “essential self”.

[Can’t see the video above? Watch it online!]

56 replies
  1. Diane Deshong
    Diane Deshong says:

    Hello Martha,

    Thank you for your intelligent inspiration every day, particularly the video diaires. I love your books, your articles(and funny antics), you help bring the joy back into my day.

    I hope many more people discover you..
    Lots of love

  2. Savvy Pacer
    Savvy Pacer says:

    You brought so many smiles to me with your video. I just love the humor and how you “make fun” of yourself and you are just YOU. Thanks for being you and no one else! I do so look forward to meeting with you this year. I will create that happening–not sure how–yet it will happen. I am a life coach in training–thru my life experiences, and enjoy helping others. Let’s have a blast!

  3. Becky
    Becky says:

    I needed this video today! I have been struggling with my two selves. My essential self seems to “win” more lately and then my social self feels unproductive and guilty. I get nothing done. Perhaps communication and working with my essential self is the key! Thank you!

  4. Kelly Montes
    Kelly Montes says:


    You hit the nail on the head! That is exactly what is going on in my world and after seeing you explain it so clearly, I can move forward.

    Thank you! And very well done, humor always makes swallowing a self recognizing pill so much easier.

    Now, I just have to decide what magic to create with my essential self:)


  5. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    Hi Martha,
    I like the video blog entry, it’s fun and personal…
    Hope to see more! I duel with my essential and social self in the same manner…I give myself time limits for doing the work needing to get done and I always reward my essential self with an activity that I know she gets tremendous enjoyment out of. You are right on the mark with this one…it really works and it’s what has kept me in a thriving business!
    Peace and Love, Maggie 🙂

  6. Judi
    Judi says:

    Martha, we may never meet but I have to tell you … i read your books, and as a resultbecome a star gazer. Your writing has changed my life for the better….heading to best….won’t stop till i get there. thank you !…..for sharing your talent, advise and optimism… is contagious.

  7. Kololia
    Kololia says:

    What a darling video. This made my morning. So much better than reading the depressing headlines.

    Btw, the image that came to mind when I thought of my essential self was a chubby 9 year old girl burying her body with sand and sunning herself like a fat seal on the beach.

    Thank you for all.

  8. Katy
    Katy says:

    I have talked with myself before but wonder if what I hear is just my social self making up the conversation and I am not really hearing my essential self. How can I tell the difference ?

    • Editor
      Editor says:

      Hi Katy – I can tell it’s my essential self when it feels, at first, a little thrilling — maybe a little scary, but good — and then peaceful. Social self stuff feels heavy, with a little bit of obligation or dread. My social self tends to be a bit more logical and sometimes a touch mean or demanding. Try being playful and noticing with something that you know appeals to your essential self versus your social self – how does it feel in your body? Then try doing it with something you are a bit uncertain about. Notice it in your body. What was your first reaction to what you heard? If it felt like peace or love before your social self stomped on it, you’ll know. It just takes a bit of practice and calibration! xo

      • Katy
        Katy says:

        Thank you so much for your reply. I will try the exercise and notice more. This site has really helped me.

  9. Marie-Josée Parent
    Marie-Josée Parent says:

    Love. it. Love. what and how and why you do all this great work. Love. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  10. Nathalie
    Nathalie says:

    Martha you are so funny and so right to the point at the same time. I love both of your selves take continue to take care of them because they do a darn good job!

  11. Marianne
    Marianne says:

    Love it – this is SO ME! Funny how I have some of these internal dialogues – and my essential self continues to win out and bully the social self into the corner. I love the “let’s make a deal” attitude you’ve adopted with your essential self. I will try to do more of that!

  12. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    I love this video!!!! Or I should say I AND my essential self LOVE this great visual affirmation!!! So great to be reminded that I am not alone in this conversation/ deal making with the part of me that just wants to be in nature and commune with animals and make stuff and LOVE!!!
    Thank you SO MUCH Martha for your awesome insight and your off the charts ability to put it out there.

  13. Susan
    Susan says:

    Martha…Martha…Martha. I love you.
    I think we came down on the same golden thread to this universe. Finally someone that GETS me…the creative soul that I am. Thank you for this blog. I feel like I have forgiven myself for beating myself up and hug and nurture my essential self.
    …I’m digging on the frog hate too. See you in line at Starbuck’s. 🙂

  14. Laura Havlick
    Laura Havlick says:

    Thank you, Martha! Once again, you have put a new slant on a common problem — inner dialogue that can easily get conflicted when one part or the other gets into demand. For me it’s usually the Social Self (or how I usually see it, the Parent). I have a hard time letting the Essential Self out, and when she does come out it looks like stalling, procrastinating, avoiding, sulking, denying, etc. I have spent lots of time working with these two selves and I know them well. Your take on it — with lots of humor, insight, and innovation — gives me new hope. I will try what you demonstrated. Please keep doing these videos. Thanks again!

  15. Linda Mair
    Linda Mair says:

    I think we were cloned at birth and I feel very clever that I cottoned on to the concept of bribing myself to do things that bore me or scare me. Thanks Martha. It’s fun to laugh at you AND myself.

  16. Joy
    Joy says:

    Oh Martha, I just had to send a comment to say how much this delighted me and how much your work has meant to me, over the years.

    I will long carry the vision of your Essential Self happily gazing around the room (and thanks for reminding me of the beautiful music that accompanied her). My E.S. wants to paint and have a play date.
    Thanks so so much!

  17. Mandy
    Mandy says:

    This is too cute! It reminds me of me so much, especially when I have school work to do. College really takes it out of me sometimes. Thanks for sharing Martha. I enjoyed it, and I also plan on sharing it with one of my classes I am taking this semester. It’s one of those classes that teaches us how to be successful in college, and I think this video is right up our alley.

  18. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Martha – seeing your inner conversation made me realize this is what I have been doing all month, except my essential self has been trying to get my social self to BACK DOWN!
    My social self has taken over lately, worrying solely about what needs to get done and not about the toll this is taking on my spirit. Luckily, my essential self finally shut down enough to make the point and we (the selves) are taking off in the middle of the week (gasp) to go to a neighboring town and see a softball double header (a fine substitute for meditation if you ask me).
    Love your work and thank you as always for your insight.

  19. Katie
    Katie says:

    You are so witty and wise, I wish I could go to Starbucks with you guys!
    What if you social self is really disorganized as well as you essential self? Both of me seem to get sidetracked really easily, and ideas?

  20. Kerry Bray
    Kerry Bray says:

    Just want to add, as part of my life coach training we read your book, following your own north star. It actually helped to give me a wake up call, a lot of my life I have been guided by my essential self, not following what was expected of me, choosing what would be viewed as a non-conventional life style, but I often felt that not being seen as “successful” in terms of a worldly view point,like I had failed. When I read your book, it was the first time I felt I had actually lived very much from my essential self, and it was the social self that had made this distinction and all of the words as innovative, creative, inspired, freedom were some of my favourite words and for the first time on the course I felt I could be open and express who I am, that I needn’t be ashamed for not having succeeded in business or financially but that I had bathed in rivers, I had experienced thunder storms and these had been the times I had felt most alive and myself. I realised I wanted to work in helping others connect with their essential selves. Thanks for your quirky style for all of us that do not fit the box!!! Kerry

  21. Ariane
    Ariane says:

    Exactly!! I slip into my essential self daily and it is a way to stay stress free. Life saving even. But I do it with OTHERS too. My mom hates that about me. What do I do when others are exasperated when meeting my essential self?

  22. CathD
    CathD says:

    Very funny Martha and totally inspirational! Now am wondering how I could do a video blog.. this is my social self speaking to my essential self who is very interested but not sure about how to do it technically…
    Again Thank You Martha! I love your work!

  23. Julie
    Julie says:

    Martha, you validate my essential self, and my Starbucks habit! Ooh shiny – sorry, what? Oh my turn: Thank you. xoxo

  24. Karen
    Karen says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! I’ve read about the essential self in your books, but seeing that video made it all so clear, because that’s pretty much how the conversation goes. Now I understand the need for rewards better. Thanks for the inspiration.

  25. Terry
    Terry says:

    This is so funny – and inspiring! I thought something must be wrong with my essential self, but this brought home that even the most successful people put up with what I have to. I’m not alone; I’m just not patient!

  26. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    This was hilarious. I sure can relate. And I totally agree. Being pushed around will not be accepted by my essential self either. We must negotiate. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Ursula Rudd
    Ursula Rudd says:

    This is AWESOME and hilarious! You’ve convinced me to give myself a regular break!

  28. Reah Castilia
    Reah Castilia says:

    I have often used this technique in dealing with children. Now that they are adults they still respond to this give and take. However, I have only learned to use this technique with myself since “meeting” you. It is a definitely “duhh what took you so long” moment. Thank you for all you do. You are an inspiration and shining light that I will continue to follow. “follow that flamingo hat.”.

  29. john mangan
    john mangan says:

    Martha transmittted to me gigt of faith…and now a relationship with my essential authentic self not the one that is always correct

  30. Laurie
    Laurie says:

    I’m glad I took the time to watch this. Loved the dramatization of the two selves. I have an essential self that is always dragging me into Starbucks, as well!

  31. Donna
    Donna says:

    Well, finally found a friend to play with! Honestly, it’s been just like this every day if my life. Thank you for helping me know I am not alone. And, now with earbuds and Iphones , we don’t look any crazier than everyone else talking to ourselves!

  32. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    You are hilarious and brilliant all at once. Thank you for that entertaining yet very clear message.

  33. Ruby
    Ruby says:

    Loved the video blog. It’s perfect — and I can relate to it. It’s the same conversational thread I have with myself every day, right down to the trip to Starbuck’s. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one having these conversations with myself. Now I have names for “my peeps”. Thank you again for being you — which helps me to understand me a bit better.

  34. paashi
    paashi says:

    Thank you for this episode of Vblog: will try the humorous touch to lighten the internal dialogue of the ES and SS and bring efficiency to daily tasks. It’s like being a stand up comedian for oneself.

  35. Sylvie Thiffault
    Sylvie Thiffault says:

    Dear Martha,
    I got that! your video ignited my energy , I am starting my day steering in a different direction, paying attention to the “pull” of my own essential with a lot more fun and less seriousness.
    Got to go – time to go write and eat an orange at the same time.
    Please keep being in touch like this and every other way ( books, magazine article, daily inspiration) you help me live.

  36. Mary
    Mary says:

    This was one of the first things my daughter your master coach Alexis from Lake Tahoe taught me. What fun to revisit it and see you giving it such life five or six years after I was first introduced. You have instilled so much in my life with your teachings. Thanks and be well.
    Love, Mary

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