Being true to you is not easy, particularly when we are many selves.  The people studying human development feel even though we may feel we are one self, we usually are composed of various smaller selves.  Freud saw the self in terms of id, ego, and superego.  The self that wanted what it wanted no holds barred, the self that pointed out the realities of life, the self that worried about moral behavior.  Some followers say a healthy self was a cohesive self–meaning all three parts got along.  The Transactional Analysis People–Think “I’m OK, You’re OK–divided the self into five parts–you may know only three–Parent, Adult, Child. Those who practice this form of therapy usually think of two more by the self up this way:  Nurturing Parent and Critical Parent; Adult, Free Child, and Adaptive Child.  Health is once again when all five get along.  The transactional part of this type of therapy involves trying to sort out what each part is saying to another part.

The social constructionists throw culture into the mix, saying our selves are social creations reflecting the dominant voices of society as interwoven with our sub-cultures and personal experiences.   Which to me asks the question–are we our true selves if we reject our culture or are we are true selves if we follow the dictates of our culture.  What happens to your true self as you work to survive and thrive in a culture prescribes your place or worse would kill you if your real self were known.

Complicated which is one of the reasons therapy sometimes helps.  I think my therapy helped me own and control my various selves rather then being controlled by one or another of the many selves that are me.

Here is the Daily Challenge question:  Jody Williams, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace prize, advises that the winners this year ‘Stay true to themselves’.  This is advice we often here is kids or in movies, but what does it really mean? First of all, how do you discover who your true self is? It seems many people don’t know who they are.  Second, most people have some qualities that they wish they didn’t have, such as jealousy, envy, insecurities or prejudices. Staying true to those things wouldn’t seem to be in our interest. What does it mean to you to stay true to yourself? Which part of yourself to you think about?

Here is my answer:  I am myself in relationship to many; I have forged an ideal self, the self I want to be; I try to live up to that self.  I am most content when that self is realized.  However, I also recognize my less than ideal self and work to keep that self from consciously hurting others and work to stay aware of others ways I might do harm.  I also work to realize my commonality with others and to forgive both myself and those who like me are far from perfect.

So my real self is somewhere between real and ideal.

STAYING STRONG TIP   Be aware of your many sides.  Know that most find contentment in basing their ideal self on what matters and working to live up to that ideal.  The world’s sages and those who study humans  say what matters  is being kind,  living in the now, getting on with others, feeling a sense of purpose and contribution and making that contribution something that improves the world or at the very least your small corner of it.

Where lies your real self?


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