The “Real Self” is a term first used by Karen Horney, a post-Freudian psychoanalyst. She is also considered a Humanist, because of her belief in our innate, inner wisdom. In her book, Neurosis and Human Growth, she defines the Real Self as “…that central inner force, common to all human beings and yet unique in each, which is the deep source of growth.” Basically, our Real Self is who we would be if we grew up and lived under relatively optimal circumstances, which would allow our natural self to emerge. I often refer to the Real self as the natural self, because it comes into our consciousness when we are acting from a natural and spontaneous sense in the world. Most of us move away from our Real Self when we experience “basic anxiety, ” which is created by threats to our physical, emotional or psychological safety. We defend against basic anxiety through the use of compensatory strategies, like being aloof with others, being self-effacing, and/or being aggressive with others. When we move away from our Real Self, we move away from our natural being and inner wisdom about what is life-affirming for us. In future blog posts, I will expand on these ideas, and begin to integrate spirituality into the discussion.