SELF………..(You complete the sentence)
Dictionaries are not that helpful when it comes to defining ‘Self’. For that we need to go to psychology.
The dictionary says:
~Individuality, personal interest, the ego, the uniting principle….well, yes all of those!
~The cognitive representation of one’s identity. The Self has integral facets such as
self-awareness, self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-perception
Ok, that makes a bit more sense, to me!
Then there’s Soulcraft, the aim of which thinking & set of practices is
~to cultivate the relationship between the ego & the soul.
Then, it gets more interesting.
Carol Pearson, writing of the mythical & mythological aspects of our humanity says:
“the aim of the Hero’s Journey is not a self-improvement project; it’s about finding out & honouring who you really are”
Now, you’ve really got my attention!
Phrases that start with Self-something, are often not meant as compliments…& yet, our self is all we have, & we know so little about it.
Rumi, the 12Century Suffi mystic, famously asked:
“Who is it that lives here inside my chest?”
And he was a smart kind of guy, so what hope is there for me? I won’t comment on you!
Typically, human beings take more time & probably know more about things & people external to ourselves. That’s work, but knowing our distinct, unrepeatable self? That’s tough graft, contradictory & paradoxical. Although, if you’ve got to paradox, personally I think you’re getting close!
Rilke, the great German poet wrote:
“it’s possible I’m pushing through solid rock, where the ore lies alone.
I’m such a long way in. I can see no way through & no space.
Everything is close to my face, & everything close to my face is stone”
On this lifelong journey towards variations of understanding self, however, there’s a BIG difference between self-ish & self-absorbed
Between self-centred, & self-aware. The difference, to me is….
Self absorbed & self centred means……It’s all about ME, while
Self-aware & self-ish can mean
I need to pay some attention to ME.
In a Hero’s Journey, you pay attention to your journey, to what your self is saying, needs, to the path it seems to be on… That, from time to time is our responsibility in order to live the fullest, service oriented lives.
When we’re in survival mode, it’s all about Self….There’s no space to pay attention to anything else, because we’re afraid, or drowning….
It’s an understandable reaction although it can be counter-productive, limiting, small.
The self bit might be the same. The way it expresses/communicates itself to an outside world is very different.
Coaching & counselling tend to explore both territories, from time to time.
The goal of one kind of exploration is to help the ego, the conscious self to improve its adjustment to its social world & its emotional life.
The goal of the other, is to prepare the ego to abandon its social stability & to become an agent for soul, the largest expression of our lives we can attain to.
I love to notice, & to wonder & to journal on the things I wonder about: as the poet David Whyte says ~to "overhear myself saying things I didn't know I knew"