There is a relationship you have that you aren’t aware of and it is killing off your ability to thrive in life. The amazing thing about this relationship is you’ve had it your whole life and it is the one that will be with you until you die. You may not be doing much of anything to nurture it because you’re not aware it even exists. It’s the one relationship you cannot avoid, but you can try to ignore. And far too many of us do that on a daily basis.
I’m talking about your relationship to yourself. Are you aware that you have a relationship with yourself? You do. There are things you think about yourself, say about yourself (to yourself), and say to other people about yourself that make up a big part of your relationship to yourself.
Some of those things we think about ourselves may not be very nice or supportive. Some were given to us by people in our lives, and we’ve made them our own. Others we decided when we were young and have kept them with us to this very day. Often they came from adversity, and a decision got made, and that is who we say we are.
Most of us aren’t even aware we do this. We just assume those thoughts are true. You know the ones I mean. Thoughts about your weight, your age, your job, your finances … all those things you say to yourself everyday. That’s your relationship with yourself.
If I asked you to make two lists of the good and bad things you say and do to yourself, you could come up with at least 10 in each column. Right there, that’s your relationship with yourself.
Are you aware you do this?
Are you aware that you talk to yourself? Even if you don’t do it out loud, you talk to yourself. We all do. It’s that voice in your head. The one that, right now, is telling you that you don’t have a voice in your head.
It’s the voice that warns you of danger, tells you what you think about your sister’s choice of boyfriends, stops you from spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need (or convinces you that you deserve that expensive pair of shoes, even if you can’t afford them).
Useful, for the most part. Until it’s not.
The most cunning and dangerous bit is that it has you convinced that it is you. It has you convinced that what it fears, you fear, what it desires, you desire. It’s not true that you fear what it says, it just has you convinced that that’s the case.
Freud referred to this as “The I” (not as the Ego, which was a term imposed by his English translator). I call this “The I that I think I am, but not the real me that I am”. Many people, far smarter than I, have written about this and the myriad ways to transcend the ego or The I. The important thing to get here is that the ego can be transcended. The work is to get beyond who the voice in our head tells us we are. To allow for our identity while not being unconsciously controlled by it.
Here’s an interesting clip that explains this in under 2 minutes:
I’d love to hear what you see for yourself in this. Comments are free, please join the conversation.