Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Exploring Subpersonalities"

"Exploring Subpersonalities"

Often it is not us who choose our roles, but one or another of the many distinct aspects, or psychological formations in our personality. So these formations can be considered to be true subpersonalities.
There are in each of us a diversity of these semi-autonomous subpersonalities, striving to express themselves. And when any of them succeeds in doing so, we then play the corresponding role. But during that time the other subpersonalities are cut off. Yet they are still very much present - even though we may be unaware of them - and they are likely to create a lot of inner conflict. They may also have some very beautiful, useful qualities that we may need, but not be in touch with. So one of the easiest and most basic ways to facilitate our growth is to get to know our subpersonalities. As we understand them better, we can regulate and direct their expression according to our own needs and goals, making them our helpers and our allies, and bringing them increasingly close to each other, toward greater harmony and integration.
And an increasing number of people have discovered that recognizing the diversity of subpersonalities in us, learning to direct them, and to deal with them operationally, in the moment, enhances rather than diminishes the sense of "I" - of personal identity and unity.

Unity and Diversity, the One and the Many are a central paradox in all thought from all times. The intuition has been that an essential unity underlies the myriad diversities of manifested life. Philosophers, religious leaders, scientist of all ages have dealt with this paradox. We have come to accept it as one of the central mysteries of nature and the universe. But the personal aspect of this paradox is still largely neglected.
A rather extreme example of this paradox is the well-known case of some actors who become so identified with their part that they "forget about themselves," and truly experience themselves as the one they are impersonating. (3) If, at that time, such an actor were to ask himself, "Who am I?" he would answer, "I am Hamlet," "I am Othello." Yet after the play he would have not doubt about the "I" who said, "I am Hamlet" was the same who would say, before and after, "I am an actor." But if, later on, he were to give up acting, and become involved perhaps in business, he would then likely answer, "I am a businessman." Yet he would be sure of being the "same one" who had experienced himself as the actor.
In the same way, each of us is One and Many, we have Unity and Diversity in our inner life. And it is a psychological reality that exploring our inner diversity, and working systematically to harmonize the multiplicity of elements within our personality, leads to a stronger sense of identity and unity, and to greater effectiveness in the outer world.

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