Keeping Your Personality In Check
I heard somewhere that the human psyche can be represented as the dwelling place for one-eyed giants: Cyclops. Enormous, powerful, single minded monsters who only want one thing. They compete for control and most of the time exist in balance, but when things go wrong that balance can shift and the results can be nasty.
What happens when you find yourself out of routine, out of the world you know and in a difficult and emotionally challenging situation? Parts of you that you either forgot or never knew existed bubble up and completely take over your behaviour. You’re pushed around like a bitch by your own personality, and you don’t know why you feel the way you do or why you are acting so stupidly and irrationally.
This is one of the main reasons why I write: writing gives articulation to those deeper parts of your psyche and helps me understand what it is that I’m up to. I find that when things go wrong and you start to behave in strange ways, if you sit down to write about it you might just find out some shocking things about yourself.
What you’re doing as a writer (or a philosopher) ideally is trying to figure out exactly what it is that you’re up to. There is way more down in the depths than what is articulated, and that’s what you’re trying to figure out.
You might feel like you know, but I’d recommend entertaining the possibility that you actually have no idea (better to find out voluntarily than wait for a disaster to strike).
If you’re willing to let down your guard and be honest with yourself some deep and dark ideas may come up. It’s emotionally challenging to do, but in doing so you develop a much deeper understanding of yourself and your unconscious tendencies to behave in particular ways.
From there, you can strategize to keep your unconscious happy, or perhaps even arrange your life so that those one-eyed violent giants within you even work to your advantage.
From what I understand this is what Carl Jung meant when we spoke of integrating your shadow – an idea I might cover another time.
Writing isn’t about thinking, it’s about revealing what’s already within. Shining light on the shadow. Articulating and integrating your unconscious. It’s one of the most powerful tools I’ve discovered for sorting my shit out, so if you don’t have a daily journaling habit I recommend one.
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P.S. Fun fact I’ve been in extreme sport for 10 years and I recently wrote a book about the science and philosophy of MASTERY. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to watch an in-depth video about what I’ve found.