Fessing: Through a Systematic Consideration for Self-empowerment


The concept of self evokes a multitude of perceptions in the nature of our state of being. Ultimately, in the final analysis, all these perceptions lead to the notion of identity. Furthermore, our realization of such identity is in relation to others, also with that same realization. As Erik H. Erikson states, “The conscious feeling of having a personal identity is based on two simultaneous observations: the immediate perception of one’s and continuity in time; and the simultaneous perception of the fact that others recognize one’s sameness and continuity.”[1]

Nonetheless, no matter what we think or how we view this being, we must have a ground upon which to present this self. In other words, a mean of recognizing this self, and make it known to others. Through eons of evolution, we have come to realize this platform as mind, sometimes referred to as consciousness, self-consciousness, or states of awareness. Here, I must admit that Erikson does make a distinction between personal identity and ego identity. However, if we are to accept that the ego, as put forward by Freud, is the conscious’s aspect, represented by the rational I, which in turn is the mind. Then I see no distinction between personal identity and ego identity. And I further asset that personal identity is merely a reflection in the quality and characteristic of the nature of mind. In other words, one cannot claim to have an identity without first having a mind. Thus the relation between identity and mind is comparable to looking at your reflection in a mirror. Your awareness of the reflection is mind, and the reflection is identity. Although this is a physical comparison with an abstract concept, all our experiences, of cognition and sensation, are realized by mean of that physical body.

“Mind is the instrument by which man advances, and by which each advance is secured and made the vantage ground for new advances. (….) Mental power is, therefore, the motor of progress, and men tend to advance in proportion to the mental power expended in progression—the mental power which is devoted to the extension of knowledge, the improvement of methods, and the betterment of social condition.”[2]

If mind is the instrument by which we advance, therefore the more mental power we posses, the greater will be our progress. However, by what mean do we acquire such mental power? It is in that notion of progress through mental power that the process of Fessing finds its root.

The idea for this process derives from the many questions I have received from friends, relatives, associates, and friends of friends that; at the core of their concerns, is an Issue that dominates the present condition of their lives. It appears that, what stood in their way of finding solution, was the lack of full understanding in the circumstances of their experiences.

Fortunately, most of the questions asked, were easily solved; simply by attentive listening and careful observation. But the greater discovery is that after exploring an issue, in most cases, the person realizes that they could have resolved the difficulties themselves; if only they had devoted a moment of internal dialogue on the Issue. Following my approach, some took matter into their own hands, and explore their Issues. Consequently, these individuals got better and called me less. However, for a few others, no matter what, they were still confronted with issues. And too often, it would be the same difficulty in different issues. For these individuals it was necessary to have dissected an Issue into its different emotional and rational components, before some understanding to arrive at a possible solution.

It is out of these situations that I recognize the need for a systematic approach by which one can explore the difficulties in their psyche, so that they could maximize their potential for greater enjoyment in life. Hence after years of attentive listening and careful observation of others and myself, as well as studying and researching, through psychology, religion, philosophy and other disciplines, comes the insight that gives birth to the process of Fessing. Through my observation, I realized there were certain key concepts that keep surfacing again and again, usually, with an attitude. To formulate this process, I then select 10 categories (Apology, Blessing, Confession, Forgiveness, Hate, Love, Regrets, Thank you, Wishes, My-fess) that seem to be the path through which most Issues could be resolved, and fashioned them with a style of attitude, that represent the level and type of awareness in the Issue.

While most self-help books tend to focus on the notion of success with financial gain as a measure, the process of Fessing does not make that promise. However, it contends that the benefits derive from this approach is a priceless human capital that is far more valuable than any amount of financial gains. For through this process you acquire the mental capacity and become the master of circumstances in your daily life.

What is Fessing?

For most of us, there is an internal dialogue going on in our psyche, daily, concerning the activities of our lives. However, we hardly take any notice of them. Nonetheless, once in a while, questions will arise concerning an experience from the past, and prevent us from giving full attention to activities of the present moment. What prompts us to ponder on a past experience? One could argue that there is a degree of unresolved satisfaction. Yet still, from where do those questions originate? To answer this question requires that we enter into an exploration on the nature and contents of our experiences. This is the aim of Fessing. Through the process of Fessing, one is provided a concrete, practical approach to explore the unsettling questions in our lives. For this consideration, Fessing recognizes two possible sources as origin for our concern. One is the voice of intuition, which garnered experiences, of a concrete nature, through the physical body, by mean of the senses. The other is the voice of conscience, which is cultivated through abstract reasoning by the rational mind and acquired information of a logical nature. When these two components, our emotions and our faculty to reason, are not in synch, we then fall within this internal conflict with the very nature of what we call self. On the other hand, “Holding the mind to a subject is like holding a ship to its course; it implies constant change of place combined with unity of direction.”[3] While exploring the circumstances of their experiences through Fessing, one learns to cultivate that ability, and hold the mind focused on the activity of the present moment.

In Fessing, the moment in which we become aware that an experience from the past interferes with enjoyment of our present activities is referred to as the Present-Present, and in that instant moment of awareness, we also recognizes that we have been dwelling on an experience from the past. This moment that we spend dwelling on the past is called the Present-Past. And the idea that surfaces from that past experience is referred to as an Issue. Rectifying the conflict of our past experiences is the focus of Fessing, with the aim of achieving an integral structure in the nature of self.

In consideration of an Issue from the Present-Past, Fessing recognizes four different characteristics of the present. These four qualities serves as a platform upon which we can better viewed the activities of our psyche.

The four different characteristics of the present are:

The Present-Present is that instant moment of awareness in the condition of having been in the Present-Past.

The Present-Past is a moment of awareness dwelling on an activity from the past.

The Present-Now is a sustainable moment of awareness with physical or mental activities without interference from issues of the past.

The Present-Future is a moment of awareness, in the idea, for an event that is to become the Present-Now.

Note that the Present-Past appears to be the same as the Present-Present. However, they are very different. In the Present-Past, one can go for days dwelling on an issue and not be aware of that condition. Where as, the Present-Present is very sudden. It is that instant, in which the individual recognizes that they have been dwelling on that issue from the past. That moment (the Present-Present) does not last. Once the person has that awakening, they would either take action to move forward into the Present-Now, or continues to dwell on the Present-Past. At its very best, the Present-Past, through nostalgia, can become the Present-Now.

Thus, Fessing is a process that facilitates the opportunity for a person to move from the Present-Past to the Present-Now, without any fuss.


 In Fessing, there is no fussing.

An Issue: (In Fessing)

An Issue is an idea or thought you have on your mind, which interferes with your full attention for an activity of the present moment; but you do not yet understand why – such interference. Basically, this is the content of an experience, stored in the subconscious. An idea that comes up 3 times is to be considered an Issue. Note that depending on the nature of the Issue, the frequency of it surfacing could be as little as 7 days to as long as a year.

For the process of Fessing there are two types of Issues: a Soft-Passive Issue and a Hard-Active Issue.

1 – The Soft-Passive Issue is one that concerns only the individual who is Fessing. In this instant, you do not need to enlist the opinions of another person.

2 – The Hard-Active Issue involves at least one other person. To fully understand and clear the disturbance in that Issue, you may have to engage in a conversation with that other person. This may be just as simple as saying, to the other person, I am sorry for such and such. Or it could be a dialogue focusing on that Issue, to better understand the circumstances of its nature.

Finally, it helps to understand the difference between difficulties of the Present-Past, and those you may encounter in the Present-Now. While the Present-Past is known as an Issue; the difficulties of the Present-Now are referred to as Situations. For those difficulties, in the Present-Now, since you have not lived all the circumstances, you have not gain the full experience to acquire the quantity and quality of attitude in awareness for the ten categories assigned in taking care of an Issue.

The ten faces of Fessing, with their characteristics attribute: 

(These cards [faces of Fessing], with their styles were designed for the purpose of direct Fessing on the website — i-fess.com) They will be available for direct Fessing, in hard copy. For the hard copy journal, they are intended as guides, of the styles in your exploration of an Issue.

Apology: Here, the (i) bows down to the (e), because it recognizes a need to make amend for a more peaceful life.

Here the (i) recognizes that the (e) has done a good deed beyond normal conditions and acknowledges that deed through an expression of blessing.

 In confession, the (i) surrenders for having realized a wrong doing; and the e acknowledges that understanding by embracing the (i).

 In forgiveness, the (i) and the (e) see each other head to head and do their best to reintegrate with each other.

Hate:In hate the (i) turns itself against the e, and because it cannot function without the (e), that forces the (e) to cast a shadow on the other side.

Love:In love, the (i) looses its identity and becomes a reflection of the (e). It is not so much that the (i) is not present to ask questions, but that most of the necessary questions can be understood through self-reflection.

 In my-fess, the (i) sees things its way and tries to force its views upon the (e); this then turns the (e) upside down. However, the (e), as the voice of conscience, is far more powerful than the (I). As a result, the e then absorbs the (i) into itself. Consequently, any Fessing done in this category is fully realized by the self.

 In regrets, there is not only the awareness of wrongdoing but that the issue under consideration should not have taken place. Therefore, the (i) turns itself away from the (e).

Thank You:
 In Thank you, the i makes an offering to the (e), through the gesture of sharing the dot above its head.

 Here, because the things wished for are not easily acquired, the (i) is caught in the quagmire of desire. As a result, it finds itself acting as a juggler, which forces the (e) to look in both directions.

The 3 styles of attitude with their values and attributes

In Fessing, attitude is a subtle facial expression that reveals or indicates an unstated belief of an idea, event or condition. An attitude is always instant and in the present. Note that in Fessing, there is always room for improvement; therefore, the value 10 that would be considered perfect does not exist, in the process.

(See Table of Awareness, for a graphic depiction of factors of awareness within the values and attributes.)

The values of awareness within the styles (quantity):

Funky Style (1 – 3)
In the funky style, the reason for Fessing is of an instinctual nature, through the emotions. It is primarily an emotional discomfort or malaise, felt through the body, of something that should have been good, is bad. In this style, the person focuses primarily on the comfort of the physical body. The funky style has a value from 1 to 3.

Elegant Style (4 – 6)
In the elegant style, the reason for Fessing derives from logical reasoning, through abstract concepts of right and wrong. However, this awareness is grounded in moral consideration through cultural, political, social, religious beliefs as well as peer pressure. Consequently, the consideration in this style is full with emotions and not always objective. Nonetheless, satisfaction is gained by conforming within a certain perimeter of expectation. The elegant style has a value from 4 to 6.

Classical Style (7 – 9)
Awareness in the classic style indicates that the person is certain in the realization for Fessing. Here the person’s motive for questioning comes from an ethical consideration, and goes beyond cultural norms to include others, who may not share their beliefs. The evaluation in that style is through the just and unjust nature of that Issue. The classical style has a value of 7 to 9.

The attributes of awareness within the styles (quality):

Funky: Good / bad – physical / instinctual — (emotional), I feel.
(Awareness derives from physical activities / instinctual nature)

Elegant: Right / wrong – emotional / mental — (reasoning / logic), I understand.
(Awareness derives from cultural practices / moral beliefs)

Classic: Just / unjust – mental / phenomenal — (perception), I realize.
(Awareness derives from ethical cultivation – apprehension) 


table of awareness

Factors of Awareness

In consideration of attitudes:

The notion of attitudes is at the very core of an Issue. It is manifested from a genuine belief in a condition or event. More precisely, an attitude serves as a form of evaluation of our thoughts and feelings. If we could see our thoughts, we probably would refer to attitudes as the colors of beliefs in those thoughts. For example, one might visualize a strong belief as maroon and a weak belief as pale yellow. For that reason, we need to pay close attention to the attitudes in the consideration of an Issue.

The research that has been done on the subject tells us that an attitude serves four basic functions. In his essay, The Functional Bases of Attitudes, Daniel Katz indicates four basic functions that attitudes perform in the life of the individual. Here, I will only provide a brief description of these four functions, as presented by Mr. Katz.

  1. “The instrumental, adjustive, or utilitarian function: Essentially this function is a recognition of the fact that people strive to maximize the rewards in their external environment and to minimize the penalties.”
  2. “The ego defensive function: in which the person protects himself from acknowledging the basic truths about himself or the harsh realities in his external world.”
  3. “The value expressive function: in which the individual derives satisfactions from expressing attitudes appropriate to his personal values and to his concept of himself.”
  4. “The knowledge function: based upon the individual need to give adequate structure to his universe.”

Mr. Katz further states, “If an understanding of the nature of attitudes and the conditions for their change depend upon a knowledge of their functional bases, then it becomes of first importance to identify the underlying motivational patterns.”[4] As can be deduced by these functions, they revolve around the notion of presentation of self. Thus attitudes reflect a type or kind of consideration within awareness of self. Here, then is the reason for the need to explore the content of experiences within awareness through the consideration of attitudes.

THE SELF: in Fessing

“The actual evolution of the individual psyche is a result of the interaction between the individual and the outer universe.”[5] Through that notion of interaction between the individual and the outer universe, in fessing, self is the realization within awareness that I am a human being with emotions and a rational mind to think freely; and that there are other human beings, with these same qualities of emotions and rational mind, with whom I enter into relationships with, on many levels for varied reasons. However, because of our freethinking ability, we are very different from each other, and recognize the distinguished quality of our unique self.

Empowerment: in Fessing

For the process of Fessing, empowerment is acquiring maturity of mind, that harmonious synthesis between the emotions and logic. This is made possible through Fessing by developing the capacity to sustain the Present-Now (duration of an activity), without interference from the Present-Past.

Why Fessing?

The desire to have more enjoyable moments in your life is reason enough to engage in Fessing. Through the systematic approach, in the process, you can gain control over your emotions as well as developing the potential of your cognitive ability, to better understand the circumstances that shape your daily experiences. Imbedded in the process, is a triple-actions-effect that reverses the insidious nature of negative habits. Ultimately, one achieves maturity of mind; that harmonious synthesis between the emotional aspect and the rational mind.

“A cardinal characteristic of maturity is emotional stability.”[6] Through this new synthesis, the power of the mind strengthens and one develops the capacity to sustain awareness in the Present-Now. Consequently, the rational mind (the ego) becomes a better observant of our behaviors, which are expressions of the emotions (subconscious), in the physical body. In these behaviors are to be found the attitudes within an Issue; in addition the person becomes humble, patient, and thus a more receptive listener to others.

“Only when we are willing to bear the brunt can we approximate the ideal of being the captain of our ship.”[7] By engaging in Fessing on a regular basis, the new acquired maturity of mind would lead to the path of wisdom, that innate ability to perceive beyond the ordinary, and decipher hidden possibilities. The person, then, becomes self-empowered and the master of circumstances, for a more fruitful and enjoyable life. At the very least, clearing of an Issue helps to eliminate worries that can lead to stress, and tension that may exist between you and another person.

The three actions, in the triple-actions-effect are:

First, Fessing helps to transform the emotions from negative to positive, and develops a greater understanding of the information, in the psyche.

Second, Through transforming the emotions, and understanding of information, the mind becomes fertilized with positive attitudes and intentions to be more effective.  

Third, out of this fertilization, of attitudes and intention, comes maturity of mind, the ability to foster a harmonious, positive synthesis between the emotions and logical reasoning.

The who: In Fessing

As one engage in the process of Fessing, it is important to be aware of the different characters involved in the dialogue. Participating in this internal conversation are 3 characters. We will call them Fessor, Fessy and Fesseo.

Fessor is the rational (i) (This is the conscious or the ego)
(This (i) acts both as a witness and as a judge)

Fessy is the voice of intuition. (This is the subconscious or the id)

Fesseo is the voice of conscience. (This is the super-conscious)

During the process of Fessing, it is the (i) that questions all the Issues. During this internal dialogue, the (i) acts as a witness and a judge. Through careful observation of the attitudes and attentive listening, on that inner dialogue the (i) gains some insight and takes action for the best outcome.

The What: In Fessing

Under what is Fessing, we have a definition of what Fessing is. Here we are concern with the primary cause needed for Fessing. In other words, how Fessing becomes to be Fessing?

Essentially the what, of Fessing is the Issue. However, though there may be disturbances, of some sort in one’s life, one does not actually have an issue, until they are aware of the disturbances, from the Present-Past, interfering with the Present-Now. Then, there is an Issue. It is in that sudden moment of awareness of the Present-Present; the opportunity arises for the person to take action.

Self-awareness of an Issue:
Self-awareness is the thought process with mental activities of the (i). These mental activities come from the nature of the questions pose by the (i). The awareness of that (i) has quantities (the level or depth of awareness – in the mental activities) and qualities (the type or kind of awareness – of these mental activities).

“As man’s tool of survival, reason has two basic functions: cognition and evaluation.”[8] However, with its capacity of self-awareness, the (i) engaging in reasoning, must also, recognizes its place and its role. During the process of Fessing, its place is to be a witness of the Issue, as a witness it reports the accounts of an Issue. Its role is to be a judge, as a judge, it questions the accounts and make decisions. It is in knowing its place and role that it develops the capacity to be neutral and be objective. In the event that it does not know its place and role, it is likely to be dominated, either, by the voice of intuition or the voice of conscience, and assumed the identity of the dominant voice.

The when: In Fessing

The concept of time, in Fessing, has a passive and active characteristic. The passive characteristic is viewed as the Present-Past. This is primarily, in this moment the person dwells on an Issue from the past; and does nothing about it. Where as, the active characteristic, the Present-Now, the person engages in some consideration on the Issue, for possible changes.

For your own pleasure, you may engage in Fessing at any time. However, when you are aware of an Issue, as stated above, and it seems to interfere with full enjoyment of the present moment, it is apparent that you should engage in Fessing

Note that an issue does not have to be of a negative nature. It could simply be that you wanted to thank someone, for a good deed they had done for you. Or feel the need to let someone know that you care about him or her.

The how of fessing

To engage in Fessing, one must have an issue. Then, explore it in a style within one of the ten categories, in four consecutive steps. Having an Issue indicates awareness in that issue. The categories are: (Apology, Blessing, Confession, Forgiveness, Hate, Love, Regrets, Thank you, Wishes, My-fess). They were chosen because they seem to be the path through which most issues could be resolved.

Collectively, these 10 categories are referred to as the ten-characteristic-faces of Fessing. They are called faces because there is a drawing that represents each category, with three styles each. The styles are: Classic, Elegant and Funky.

These styles represent your attitude in the Issue of your Fessing; which in turn is an indication of the level and nature of your awareness for that Issue. Level of awareness is represented by numeric values from 1 to 9. Qualitative attributes are represented by modes of experience, types of awareness, and cognitive expression.

The four steps are:

1 – Awareness of an issue, with some difficulties.

2 – Consideration is given to the issue, from the first step.

3 – Evaluation given to the issue, from the second step.

4 – Actions to be taken

First Step, (Awareness of an issue, with some difficulties)

During this first step, your primary concern is to write down the Issue of concerned and accept that it deserves some consideration, because for some unknown reason it is causing difficulties in your life.

Also, during this first step, you want to determine under what category of the ten faces of Fessing, and through which style it should be viewed. Keep in mind the style is a factor on the level of your awareness within the difficulties of this Issue. Once accepted, this Issue is then given to the second step — for considerations.

Note: It is likely that you recognize an Issue, but not yet understand what category it should go under. When that happens, you can start with the Issue under My-Fess category. It is also possible to explore an Issue under two different categories, such Regret, and apology.

Second Step (Consideration is given to the Issue, from the first step)

The second step is where you explore all the possible questions about the Issue under consideration. Here, you write what you think, and how you feel about the Issue. You need to confront these questions with an open mind, as if another person was interrogating you. And listen to the answers, to determine if they are the result of how you feel, or what you think. Answers that derive from your feelings indicate a conversation with the voice of intuition. On the other hand, answers from what you think, is the voice of intuition. In most cases, you would have answers mixed with emotions and thinking. In these instances, you have to decide which bears more weight, and go with it.

The goal in this step is to gain clarification of your thoughts and feelings, and determine what could or should have been done, how, why and for what reason.
When you are satisfied, you then move to the third step for evaluation.

During this second step, depending on the insight gained, you may want to reconsider the category and style selected from the first step; and change them if necessary.

Third Step (Evaluation given to the issue, from the second step)

Out of all the questioning from the second step, you should have gained some insight and have an idea into the outcome that should or could have been the best result for this Issue; under the conditions it took place. If so, then you write this down, and question its merit or validity, through the style that your Fessing is taking place. For instance, in the funky style, you would ask, do I feel good about this result? For the elegant style, you would ask is this the right outcome? And for the classical style, you would ask, is this outcome justified?

It is very likely that in this third step, all is done well and you have a full understanding of the Issue. In which case, you would feel satisfied with a sense of relief, full of energy to move forward. If not, then you should consider what further actions that need to be taken and move to the fourth and final step.

Fourth Step (Actions to be taken)

In this final step, you write down the actions to be taken, and continue with further explorations, as you did in the third step. If for any reason, in this final step, you don’t arrive at some level of satisfaction, you should go back to the second-step, and reconsider the Issue with more details questioning.

Note that under My-fess category, you may engage in fessing for anything, circumstances, or events that you desire. For instance you might want to record the activities of a trip, a picnic, or just your observation of an event. Consideration under this category does not necessarily need to be an issue. In this instance, you are fully aware that the Present-Past was a success, and you are acknowledging it. In other words, you are in the Present-Now, through nostalgia.

In summary — the approach for working on an issue is as follow:

  • What is the issue?
  • How is this issue a disturbance?
  • What could be the possible reasons for those disturbances?
  • In which category does the issue belong?
  • Under what style should this issue be considered?

This summary is provided only as a general suggestion. We experience life differently, and you should determine the best set of questions suitable for your own particular Issue.

The design elements in the ten faces (the cards)

The letters (i and e)
In the drawings-

The (i) represents the rational aspect of the individual. The dot on the (i) represents the voice of intuition. The (e) represents the voice of conscience.

The colors

The Black environment, of the letters (i) and (e), is the location where the issue that needs to be resolved resides. Note that these letters only provide the environment for the experiences of the issues.

The White dot, in the (e), as well as the white outline of the letters, suggests that the self-awareness needed to understand an issue is within, and all around us.

The Red in the (e) represents the energy, required by the self, in making the effort to achieve the desired goal.

The Grayish-blue background suggests that in the environment of Fessing, there is no absolute. The deeds for which one is Fessing are not always clear as black and white. Rather, events and happenings are relative according to the circumstances, under the conditions, that they took place.

Each drawing, as a whole, is an expression of the attitude depicted by the emotional aspect of the individual.


[1] Erik H. Erikson; Identity and the Life Cycle (W. W. Norton & Company. New York. London, 1994) p.22

[2] Henry George; Progress and Poverty, (Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. 1997) p. 507

[3] John Dewey, How We Think, (Dover Publications, INC. Mineola, NY. 1997) p. 40

[4] Daniel Katz, The Functional Bases of Attitudes, – Attitude Change, Edited by Michael A. Malec, (Markham Publishing Company. Chicago. 1971) Ps. 54, 62

[5] D. H. Lawrence, Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious / Fantasia of the Unconscious
(The Viking Press, INC. New York. June 1974) p. 46

[6] Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem (Bantam Books. 1981) p.107

[7] Karen Horney, M. D., Our inner Conflicts, (W. W. Norton & Company. 1992) p. 27

[8] Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem (Bantam Books. 1981) p. 65