They are known as the many selves, parts of the self, complexes, multiple personalities, and – more recently – as energy patterns: the different ‘I’s’. These selves can (dis)shape your personality and cause you to forget or push away your unique ‘psychological fingerprint’ or your most vulnerable self. In this article, the concept of the self is further explained and you can become aware of your selves. Who often want the best for you, but can still mess up your life.
The concept that we are made up of several selves is sometimes difficult to grasp. Some people disagree. They argue that such a theory divides personality into parts. However, Hal and Sidra Stone think our personality is already split into parts. That it is part of our task to become fully aware of this and to get to know the many selves; so that we can make meaningful choices in our lives.
The development of the selves
How do these selves develop? A newborn child is a unique human being. It comes into the world with its own genetic make-up, which determines the physical characteristics (and partly also the behavior). He also has a unique way of ‘being’ in the world. We call this unique way of ‘being’ the ‘psychic fingerprint’. A woman who has had multiple children will immediately confirm that each child is very different – even when it was still in her womb. After birth, these differences become even more apparent.
The newborn child cannot defend itself, it is very vulnerable and dependent on the adult world for its survival. But in addition to his unique psychic fingerprint, the child can develop an infinite amount of energy patterns or selves. The individual personality is the sum of these selves. At that point in our lives, we start to build a defensive wall around our vulnerability and the development of our personality has started.
Power and control
The child learns that he must exercise some degree of control over his environment in order to avoid unpleasant experiences. The development of the exercise of control is in fact the development of the personality. The personality develops as a result of dealing with our vulnerability. The stronger our personality, the more we stray from our vulnerability, from our psychological fingerprint. We lose touch with our unique nature as we learn to use more power
How does this process work? How does the child get more power? For example, the child learns that mom is happy when her child smiles. It may well be that the baby likes to smile, but soon the knowledge that smiling has certain consequences is even more important.
Also going to the toilet quickly becomes important because parents tend to punish or reward a child if they do or don’t go to the toilet. Aggression is also rewarded or punished. Aggression can be seen as a way of standing strong in life, but it can also be seen as negative or antisocial behavior.
Strategies to take control
Sometimes the child tries to gain control over his environment through a strategy, for example by withdrawing into a fantasy world. Then daydreaming can become a particularly important ingredient in personality formation. A child thought that school achievement was the way to control his environment and protect his vulnerable self, so he developed an ambitious side that wanted to please others.
During this developmental process, certain behaviors are rewarded while others are punished, with the result that some selves are strengthened and others weakened. We learn our lessons well and develop a ‘personality’ as a result. It may seem strange, but a personality is a system of sub-personalities (I) that destroys our psychic fingerprint as we gain more control – and thus power – over the world.
The Protector and the Ego
In fact, the self that protects us is one of the first sides of our personality to develop. He is like a bodyguard; he is constantly on the lookout for dangers that may threaten us and is always thinking about how best to protect us. He has absorbed rules from our parents and society and to a great extent controls our behavior by setting some rules that he believes will ensure our safety and which he believes will make other people accept us .
He decides how emotional we can be. He makes sure that we don’t do foolish things and that we don’t make fun of ourselves. We call him the Protector/Controller.
The protector/controller is the main energy pattern behind many of us. For example, he uses the energies of our rational self and the responsible parent to continue to control the environment. When people use the word ‘I’, they are talking about the protector/controller. For most of us, the energy of the protector/controller defines our personality. Many people call this energy the ego.
The snowed under vulnerable self
So we see that with the development of our personality, different energy patterns arise to make our stay on earth more successful. The problem, of course, is that we gradually lose sight of our psychic fingerprint. This is unfortunate because our entire system of relationships is weighed down by this loss.
When we are no longer in touch with the qualities that define our psychological fingerprint, our deepest and most vulnerable selves are no longer involved in our relationships. Rather, it is a group of subpersonalities over whom our protector/controller watches, who determine our feelings and behavior. That’s why we always have the vague fear that if the other person really knew who we were, he or she would leave us (even if we don’t know who that mysterious “real” person is either).
Practice: Developing consciousness and discovering themselves
From this, we can deduce how important it is to get to know the subpersonalities that are active in us. Without this understanding, we watch helplessly as the various subpersonalities drive our psychological car while we sit in the back, or worse, hide in the trunk. So it is very important to discover who these selves are and how they work in us. This voyage of discovery is the development of our consciousness.
One of the most important things for the awareness process is the discovery of these subpersonalities and the way in which they are active in us. You can all ready make a start in discovering your selves by going on a journey of discovery. Sit down and do introspection. For example, you can ask the following questions: