What Is Your Essence?

If you weren’t molded by your parents

during the first three to four years of your life,

who would you be today?

 

If you ponder this vital question—and answer it with just one word—you will find your essence.

The answer is not that you were pure and perfect before your were influenced by others. The answer is in recognizing that regardless of who raised you, or what happened to you, there is something that would be true about you no matter what?

What is that?

If you have trouble doing this, write a comment below and I’ll assist you.

If you find your essence, please consider sharing it with us by writing a comment below.

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82 Responses to What Is Your Essence?

  1. Ciah Banks December 22, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    My essence, would be, if I had to sum it up in just one word;
    Sensitive; which can be a good or bad thing, but it’s what I know to be the truth about myself and I know everyone who knows me would definitely say this about me as well.

    • Jake Eagle December 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

      Ciah—
      I smile when I read your response, because my answer is the same word. It may mean different things to us, but when I think of my essence, “sensitivity” is the word and sensation that comes to me.
      I no longer think of being sensitive as “good or bad,” but rather as a way of experiencing myself that has at times made my life challenging, but more often than not has resulted in my life and relationships feeling very rewarding.
      Thank you for your comment.

    • Denise Piper January 17, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

      Perseverance

  2. Mari December 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    I do have trouble finding my essence. Assist me, please

    • Jake Eagle December 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

      Mari—
      What do you sense to be true about yourself? Regardless of circumstances . . . good times bad times . . . is there something that is consistently true for you?
      The idea of asking, “Who would you be if your parents didn’t mold you?” is to remove their influence from the way you think about yourself.
      Many people find it helpful to “feel” into this question. The answer often is not an intellectual one, but rather a sense you may have, a visceral sense of yourself.
      When you wake in the morning, before you are fully awake, what sense do you have of yourself?
      Please share more of what you discover.

      • Mari December 29, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

        I feel deeply for others in pain, so I am over sensitive,I am genuine and passionate about honesty, sincerity, and fairness.

  3. Jon Cobrda December 23, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    —if I honestly closed my eyes and listened to my heart and felt what it said every morning I wake up, I think I would have to go with, versatile.

    • Jake Eagle December 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      Hi versatile,
      This sounds quite relaxing or comforting. It reminds me a bit of “resilience,” but what I like about “versatile” is that I think of it as preceding events, instead of being in response to events.
      Thanks for sharing this.

      • Jon Cobrda January 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

        Thank you for your response as well— it warms my heart to read such organic and uplifting words. I like to think of the versatility in me as resilient too, because as you said perfectly, when there are walls, or demons, or obstacles presenting themselves in daily life instead of being in the seat of response to them it’s almost as though I welcome them all in and exercise them on my own accord. Have a happy New Years.

  4. Bonnie Reaves December 23, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Good Morning! I immediately thought of the word “sensitive.” I am sensitive to insects, garbagemen and prisoners. But when I investigate this further, the core of my sensitivity comes from a belief in justice for everything. The majority of the time I am asking myself, “is this fair, is this just?” I enjoy being just.
    Bonnie

    • Jake Eagle December 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      Hi Bonnie—
      I appreciate the way you went deeper into yourself to find a more meaningful essence. The deeper I go into myself, the truer truth I find.
      I understand your essence to be “justice.”

  5. zoe December 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    ME

  6. April December 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    I would have to say inquiring. I still approach life with the sometimes playful attitude that I am always learning.

  7. Chiara December 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Spirited

  8. Linda Compton December 29, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    My essence has been and is nurturing. The profession I chose or fell into? forty years ago requires me to be harsh and judgmental at times, bringing finality and closure to difficult situations, yet my most true interactions where I feel most deeply that I have made a difference in someone’s life come from my nurturing essence. I see a part of me in working through this question that I had not seen clearly before. I read the question many days ago and saddened myself in seeking my essence in this way. I frustrated myself in not having an answer to the question come into my consciousness. I saw the post this morning from Jake and Hannah and intrigued myself to see what others in me found to be their essence. I read the comments offered here by the others in me and unfroze the ice block inside me. I have not valued the importance of nurturing in what I do. I use a lot of energy to toughen myself against my emotional reactions. I suppress my “instinct” to nurture. I aware me now of this internal conflict I make for myself between going by the book for consistency purposes and the times my preference is to relax into a situation and simply be there for someone as a nurturer, being present with them as we are for each other in the circle at our retreats. Sometimes I will still need to be a fixer- upper and problem-solver as this is also a strength I bring. I broaden for myself my choices now in my behavior. I have down-played the nurturing me in favor of the decisive me. I grateful me for this question about our essence. I hopeful myself that with my new awareness I will conflict me less and authentic myself more as I own and embrace this essence of me.

  9. Hannah Eagle December 29, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I believe my essence is courage. I recently read a description of courage. It went something like this: “Courage is not the lack of fear but the willingness to take action in the face of fear.” I resonate with this definition and see this as how I have lived much of my life.

  10. Sabine December 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    CONTINUATION . all continues, even if all ends . I continue to be , since my birth . Every single day, and every single day different , I continue being, living, experiencing many facets of this life-journey, despite and because of all lows and highs. If I feel stuck and helpless, tired and ‘at the end of the rope’, I nonetheless CONTINUE … Even if I would consider killing myself, I would CONTINUE – as an eternal nonphysical essence …. While I post me here, I deepen myself – ALL is ever CONTINUATION really – in me. – wow –

  11. Bruce Taylor December 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    This was David Hawkins definition of Essence:
    “The Self knows, by virtue of its Essence, all that exists beyond time and therefore beyond memory.
    Ego/mind thinks,
    Field (Consciousness) knows,
    and
    Self is.”

    We are all the stuff of which stars are made:

    “Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.”
    – Lawrence Krauss

  12. Bruce Taylor December 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Now to respond within the intended context, the essence of the heart. It has taken me a long time to discover and nurture what I have come to accept as my essence, but arises in me more powerfully over time: empathy and compassion. These are what call to me to live into. And as I age and mature emotionally, these are where my mind naturally travels to. Sometimes translating this Essence into Action in the practicality of daily life is a struggle for me, but it is a worthy struggle to consciously face in me.

  13. Beks January 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    My essence would be: Belief. In myself to accomplish limitless things. In others to not hurt me. In the morning I am always the most hopeful as it is a new day and a new opportunity to believe this will be a good day. Too bad my parents ruined that essence and now I must fight for it as much as my energy allows. How do you ignore the programming of the early years and become your authentic self?

    • Jake Eagle January 24, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

      “How do you ignore the programming of the early years and become your authentic self?” Well, you don’t ignore the programming…that’s denial. You really become aware of the programming and recognize how it has impacted you.

      And then, you realize you are now an adult and no longer a victim of the programming. You now have the ability to individuate from your parents, to cut the cord, to adopt your own beliefs, to set your own boundaries. As you do this, you re-parent yourself.

      By taking responsibility for what you are doing with the early programming—because your parents are no longer doing it to you—you can free yourself from those old reactive patterns.

      If your essence is really “belief in yourself,” what would you need to do to live your life that way? Your parents didn’t ruin you, not if you’re still alive and asking these questions.

  14. Randy January 28, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    Human.

  15. Niko January 30, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    Some blend between curiosity and freedom. Can`t put it one word.

  16. Y. June 3, 2013 at 3:20 am #

    I have difficulty with answering this question to myself. When I think about it I just feel loneliness. Is not having essense could be the essense?

    • Jake Eagle June 3, 2013 at 3:34 am #

      I think of essence as something that exists, not the lack of something, but this is a very personal thing, so maybe for you essence is a lack of anything.

      Why not say your essence is loneliness or aloneness?

    • Joel January 3, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

      For me, I think essence equates to a purpose. I think what also exist for me is that essence seems to be something more divine as if there is a pre notion of what my essence is. Essence resembles in each one of as truth. Truth with oneself, understanding the true nature of being. The reason I feel this is worth living for as it allows oneself to step into the realm of truly living to the fullest being in the moment.

      • Jake and Hannah Eagle January 4, 2016 at 7:18 am #

        Thank you, Joel. I hope you are living according to your essence. Reading what you wrote . . . it sounds to me like it would be very rewarding.

  17. Sylvia August 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Love

  18. P R August 3, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    I find this question about what is my essence difficulyt to answer as the word that come to mind is sensitive.

    I know that I am intuitive, integrate thoughts of a team into solutions, love to see people become all they can be and now learning to accept that all; go at their rhythm can go faster than one can walk.

    Sometimes I wonder if I did not come to earth to learn about the power of emotions as if I was somekind of Vulcan. I know that at some point I shut down my emotions not to be hurt as a child and now time to unite with my self.

    Wish you well.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle August 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      I think this is the opportunity we all have, to realize we are no longer the child who was hurt, but we are adults and we are safe and we can find mature and healthy ways to express ourselves.

  19. Pantel Corp September 23, 2014 at 4:19 am #

    I have to show my affection for your kind-heartedness giving support to persons who actually need assistance with this important area of interest.

    Your very own commitment to passing the message throughout ended up being especially useful and have surely permitted women just
    like me to reach their pursuits. Your own invaluable tips and hints indicates so much a person like me and even further
    to my fellow workers. Warm regards; from all of us.

  20. Bahnanas September 25, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I don’t know! I’m sitting here trying to figure out who I would be today if I weren’t molded by my parents during my first 5 years of life….hmmmm…so many things come to mind. I would like to say strong, confident, happy, loving….fearless…but stll not sure. can you help me.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle September 25, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Bahnanas, you can say all of those things: strong, confident, happy, loving, fearless. But if you had to pick one thing that you believe is almost always true about you, what would that be? What quality about you is most reliable? And if you don’t know . . . then say more about how you are holding yourself back from knowing this. I need more information to be helpful. But I’m happy to explore this with you.
      Jake

  21. Bahnanas September 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    thank you for your response. So I will say “strong”.

  22. Rosa January 4, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    Ok, so, help me out?

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle January 4, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

      Well . . . what is your most natural way of being in the world? What is true about you regardless of circumstances? What is your basic response to most events? Are you cautious or courageous? What is really unique about you? What makes you feel like you are different from most other people? What is it about you that seems to be true almost no matter what’s going on around you? If you think about your answers to these questions . . . you may find your essence.

  23. Rosa January 4, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    Ok, I would say courageous. Or creative..or adventuresome..In tough situations, I say, there is ALWAYS a solution. I tend to go towards chaos not run from it, to bring order. I wake up, and wonder what might be around the next corner. I have been told I can make things from scratch, and actually sometimes CREATE the scratch first, lol. And that is way more than one word.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle January 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      Actually . . . it’s several very cool words from which to choose. Courageous is my wife’s essence. It works well for her.

  24. Alia October 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    could rebellious be an essence ?!
    thank you 🙂

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle October 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

      Absolutely. And if I said “No,” you’d probably rebel at that 🙂

  25. awakened November 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    Yep. Awakened

  26. Katie January 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    “Free”

  27. Victoria March 17, 2016 at 7:24 am #

    My essence would be a healer. Since I was little, I’ve wanted to heal whoever was broken.

    • jake Eagle March 17, 2016 at 7:35 am #

      Wonderful, Victoria. My only comment is that I believe we can be better healers when we don’t view or label the people we are working with as “broken.” I see people as sometimes stuck or unclear, but never broken. Let me know if you find this idea helpful.

      Jake

  28. karen April 12, 2016 at 4:20 am #

    Artist?

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle April 12, 2016 at 9:48 am #

      Karen . . . what do you need to do so that you can remove the question mark?

  29. Romi May 11, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    when I thought of this question, I immediately began to think that I would be more sexual, as in free with my body. If my parents did not raise/condition me for the first 4 years of my life. I would wear very revealing clothes, if any. (my parents arent even really strict about sex, actually, but when i think of this question this is what comes to mind) i would be more open to people and friendships and life. I would be more free. I would probably cry without feeling any type of way about it. So I guess if I had to narrow it down to one word, I would say VULNERABLE.

  30. Robert June 29, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    As I look back on my life and try to pick one consistent thing out, I think the one word description would be “logical”.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle June 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      Well, Robert, that sounds logical 🙂 I think you’re the first person to use that word. Thanks for responding…

  31. rah August 2, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    Love. I closed my eyes & asked the question. That was the response.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle August 2, 2016 at 10:55 am #

      How very fortunate!

  32. Waqef August 8, 2016 at 5:32 am #

    Best Greetings To You Spiritual Teacher!

    I have read all comments that our friends posted about their ESSENCEs; so what now?
    What can they do by realizing their essence, how can they use their essence to brighten their life and live with love?

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle August 8, 2016 at 7:51 am #

      I will suggest that becoming aware of our essence, and maybe our intentions as they relate to our essence, is an initial step. How to brighten our lives and live with love? —— well, this is what so many of our blog posts, articles, and retreats are aimed at.

      What I do is the following. I become aware of my essence. I set my intentions every day so that they are congruent with my essence—they feed it. Then I pay attention throughout my day to see if I am living according to the intention I set. At night, when I prepare to sleep I take time for reflection to notice ways I lived according to my intentions and ways I did not. I become aware if there is anything I need to REDO (A concept we have written about elsewhere). Finally, the next day I make time to express myself if any sort of REDO is necessary. So: intention, attention, reflection, expression.

  33. Jean October 11, 2016 at 4:36 am #

    Good day
    Please help me put it all together and find my essence.
    I see myself as the following person

    Loving
    Caring
    Exciting
    Expressing

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle October 11, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      Jean…thanks for sharing your thoughts. If you were to consolidate these qualities into one overarching character trait, what would you call that? “Enthusiastic” is one word that comes to my mind——addressing “exciting” and “expressing,” but it doesn’t cover “loving” and “caring.” I wonder if your essence is that you are an “enthusiastic giver”? Let me know if my comments stimulate any more ideas.
      Warmly,
      Jake

  34. Thunt October 19, 2016 at 1:02 am #

    Ever since I was young I’ve always had this fear of being alone. I’ve always tried very hard to get people to like me. And realized more and more I need to like me. I think my word would with be gentle

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle October 19, 2016 at 7:42 am #

      Tyler, I appreciate what you shared. My guess is that as you allow yourself to be more gentle, more people may like you. And maybe “more” people isn’t the key, maybe it’s a few people who like you more.

  35. Zaggner October 23, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

    Seeker.

  36. sarah October 26, 2016 at 1:57 am #

    Hello,

    I am intrigue by this. Is being honest my essence? I am always told my honesty is refreshing and always called upon because of it.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle October 26, 2016 at 7:22 am #

      Hello Sarah . . . yes, I think a person’s essence could be being honest. I perceive it as a powerful——and a somewhat rare characteristic these days. You might also think about the quality of your honesty. That might further your exploration of your essence. Is your honesty: incisive, compassionate, unbiased? I guess you said it’s “refreshing.” I find that refreshing . . .

  37. Zakariya Gayle December 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi there. Thank you for this post.

    I’ve thought about it and felt about it, and I would say my one word would be ‘Curious’.

    Initially i’ve always wanted to find out, about people, their feelings, why they do or think or feel certain ways. I would always get into trouble at work for being to talkative with the staff and asking too many questions. Whenever I go anywhere if something catches my eye i need to know what’s down this alley way or over here. What is over the wall!! I am curious about history, life and the world and all of the whys. It’s why I am on this page.

    I was going to say creative but, naturally i create as a result of what i’ve discovered and want to deal with various issues i’ve come across. It’s the driving force behind my creativity and also why people may consider me friendly because I’ll always ask questions about you. Just because.

    I also like the other meanings of it which is ‘strange, off beat, funny.’ I consider myself these things as a curious person who is unorthodox. It pretty much does sum me up. Curiosity is why I do anything I enjoy.

    I really appreciate this post. This has given me some much needed insight.

  38. Mike January 31, 2017 at 1:19 am #

    I’d like to thank you for this posting. Until tonight, I gave this topic very little thought. So if I had to choose one word it would be Harmonious.

    Deep down what soothes my soul is people caring for one another because they feel it in their heart and soul. To love and be loved in that way, unconditionally is my wellspring.

  39. Maeve February 20, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

    I’m at peace with this existence. So I’m saying my essence is peace.

  40. Joan February 24, 2017 at 6:07 am #

    WOW JAKE! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for this outstanding article! It strikes a cord within, realising who we all truly are ever since a kid is our true Essence as a being. Personally, I feel ‘Radiance’ is my Essence. I recall how my dear mamma would proclaim proudly on how I was so cheerful and how I loved to smile, ever since I was a few days old! Strangers would stop and praise her, telling her how beautiful her baby is!

    Besides, my parents brought me along, travelling around the world extensively ever since I was born. And wherever I went, whatever I saw and everything I got to experience in reality, made me feel so Boundless and infinite within. I revelled in the intricate mesh of human connection, feeling the subtle, underlying exchange of energies that is occurring in every moment. I feel so free, complete and liberated in my Being, knowing that somehow, subconsciously within, we as a mankind are All one.

    Once again, thank you so sincerely for this enlightening article. This really connected me back to what truly Matters in life. And in living authentically, we would feel Whole, and complete within.

    God bless, and take care!

  41. Ritu April 6, 2017 at 1:38 am #

    Please help me find my essence.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle April 6, 2017 at 7:11 am #

      You’ll need to give me something to work with. Start the process. See where you find yourself. Answer the questions presented in the article. Then, if you need more help I’ll share suggestions with you.

  42. Hans December 12, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    Hi Jake, thank you for this article. I wonder, could ‘Sensual’ be my Essence?
    Since I was little, my deepest yearning has been to Feel the world, to feel and to immerse myself in every moment deeply, and be one with whoever or where ever I am. In all these moments, I would feel pure bliss, joy and peace. I feel Whole. Could this be it?

    Thank you!

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle December 12, 2017 at 10:00 am #

      Absolutely! I encourage you to honor your essence and I imagine that doing so will be very rewarding.

  43. Cinthia December 28, 2017 at 9:58 pm #

    Hi Jake. After reading your post and thinking about this I have concluded that my essence is passion. Now my question is what do I do with this knowledge

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle December 28, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

      Cinthia——you live your life by honoring your essence, which means using “passion” as a criteria when you make decisions. You may not always be able to use “passion” as your guide, but I encourage you to let it be a beacon for your journey.

  44. Destiny March 9, 2018 at 8:28 pm #

    I guess I would have to use the word Quiet. I use this word because as far back as I can remember and what I have been told I was always okay with just being by my self sitting quietly or ready etc.
    But my question is , If my essence is quiet then how is that going to help me and guide me in my life ? I live NYC so quiet is not on high abundance here .

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle March 9, 2018 at 9:36 pm #

      Hi Destiny, I would say that if “Quiet” is your essence, you might want to look for ways to a) find quiet within you, regardless of what’s going on outside of you, and b) I wonder if you will help yourself by being with people who appreciate quiet.

  45. ML March 27, 2018 at 7:54 am #

    This is very difficult for me. I have depression and an extreme disconnect from my emotions, so when asked to do things like this I draw a complete blank. Emotions are foreign to me and escape my comprehension. How can I find my essence?

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle March 27, 2018 at 1:13 pm #

      Hello ML—— How do you know you are depressed? I assume you have some sensation or feeling that leads you to the conclusion that you are depressed. So I guess that you do have the ability to connect with how you feel, it just may be a narrow range of feelings that you have learned to identify. I suggest you ask the question, “What would I like my life to look like and how would I like to feel?” Give yourself room to explore the possibilities, even if you only imagine them. After you answer the question about how you would like your life to look, ask yourself another question, “If my life looked that way, what would it feed in me?” In other words, why do you want that life that you imagine? This may help you get closer to identifying your essence. If you can’t connect with it in the present, maybe you can connect with it as you imagine an ideal future.

  46. Prudence June 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi Jake, I am feeling deep within myself and I am wondering, could ‘Healing’ be my essence? It feels almost flowing and healing like a water, and I have a deep strive within to better and heal my patients that I come into contact with everyday. Thank you for this enlightening article, and God bless you.

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle June 25, 2018 at 5:41 pm #

      Hello Prudence, I can imagine that “healing” could be your essence. How fortunate!

  47. Patty September 16, 2018 at 11:38 am #

    Survivor.

  48. Amanda October 15, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

    Hi Jake I have always been this kind, sweet, loving person who is forever considerate of others, I find joy in helping others and feel uncomfortable whenever I have to be selfish or unkind. I also tend to put others before myself and in my relationships I am the fixer who is attracted to conflicted souls, the person who wants to save everybody. How would you sum this up if I were to use one word?

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle October 15, 2018 at 1:28 pm #

      Hi Amanda,

      Well, I’m not sure. But you might try on some words to see if they fit. For example: Selfless. Caretaker. Sacrificial. I’m curious if you feel good about this quality. Do you like this about yourself? If so, find a word that helps you celebrate this quality. Let me know what you come up wth…
      Warmly
      Jake

  49. Doris December 6, 2018 at 7:36 am #

    Hello Jake and Hannah. I’ve been wrestling with the question. I come up with seduction, appreciation, curiosity… Seduction sounds manipulative, so it cannot be that… I probably developed seduction as a way of being liked/chosen. Essence could be a blind spot that only others can see? When I step into a room, I am told I command attention but I also put everyone at ease… I see value and possibility in everyone… those appearing to be very ‘ordinary’. Can you help me capture this in one word? With appreciation, Doris

    • Jake and Hannah Eagle December 6, 2018 at 10:19 pm #

      Hi Doris, If “seduction” feels close, you might consider changing the word to “desirable.” If you emphasize your tendency to command attention, you might consider the word, “presence.” I like to hear how you see value and possibility in everyone. This makes me think you make a “contribution,” maybe that is another word to try on. See what feels right to you. I hope this helps. Jake

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