Our Many Selves

The Tom and Dave discussions continue:

“Hey Tom, guess how many “self” words are in the dictionary?”

“Maybe about 50.”

“Wrong, my friend, there are over 100.”


“It is amazing, the term “self” is very important to us because it refers to our awareness of WHO WE ARE and HOW WE EXPERIENCE OURSELVES within our world. Self is our inner world, the flow of our thoughts, feelings and senses.”

“Dave, what are the parts of Who We Are and Our Experiences?’

“Good question, Tom, lets list them:

There is the Physical part, our body, the vehicle in which we experience life and make contact with the world.

The Emotional part, many emotions are experienced as we journey through life.

The Psychological part, our streams of thoughts, our social contacts.

The Sexual part and the Spiritual part.”

“Wow Dave, that’s a lot of parts!”

“Well Tom, we humans function best when all these parts are in a healthy state and flowing freely.”

“Someone once told me that I have an inspiring persona. What’s that all about?”

“Inspiring! That’s good, Tom. Your persona is the “mask” you put on for the public. Your persona incorporates your best qualities leaving negative traits to form the “Shadow Self.”

“The “Shadow Self”, what’s that?”

“It’s not as scary as it sounds, Tom. Our shadow self includes traits that we dislike or would like to ignore. The shadow self balances the overall psyche.

Where there is light there must be a shadow.”

“Sometimes, Dave, I feel so alone in this world. Why is that?”

“Well, my friend, when you discovered, in childhood, that you were a separate being, that you exist independently of anyone else, it was a sobering experience.

We are isolated in our own consciousness throughout life’s journey.

Hence at times we feel very ALONE.”

“I also feel very vulnerable at times.”

Tom was shaking.

“Relax buddy, we all were born into this world very vulnerable, with no defenses, in fact we didn’t even have a personality at birth.”

“So what happened then?”

“We soon learned that certain behaviors please people and some don’t.

So we form a self called the Controller, which observes our environment and determines which behaviors work best and please the most people. The Controller is an energy system that helps to protect our vulnerability.”

“Dave, these energy systems, do they make us stronger and more powerful?”

“Yes Tom, they make us more powerful in ourselves and that’s when we start to develop our personality.”

“I’m wondering, do we have a set of Power Selves that ensure that we are protected and successful in our lives?”

“Yes, we do Tom, lets list them:

The Power Selves are: The Pusher, The Critic, The Perfectionist, The Pleaser, and The Thinking Self.”

Tom and I pondered the Power Selves.

Then we both stared at the new picture on the pub wall. It was Dali’s “Persistence of Memory or the Melting Clocks. That made us ponder all the more.

After a couple of minutes, I spoke:

“The most important Power Self is The Thinking Self. We are thinking machines, constantly thinking and observing. We have to observe with openness and interest because the MOMENT IS FLEETING, alive only an instant.”

“I know the connection between your thinking and your feeling is formed in a split second and you don’t even realize it’s happening!”

“That’s right Tom, it’s the cause and effect relationship between thoughts and feelings.”

“We all have negative thoughts, now and then, which are distressing, but there is nothing holding negative thoughts in place BUT your thinking.”

“That conjures up the question, if negative feelings are caused by negative thinking, Then what good can it do to overanalyze the negative parts of your life?”

“No good at all! If you spend a lot of time thinking about problems and dwelling on what’s wrong, you will become depressed and your spirits will be low.

Negative thinking fuels the destructive fire.”

“So Dave, what’s the final answer?”

“Keep your Thinking Self in check by NOT thinking about or fearing the future.

Your PRESENT is the ONLY LIFE YOU HAVE. You can only live one day at a time.

Life can be difficult and sometimes you can’t change the difficulty, so you must go through the difficulty and this is all the more reason to live your PRESENT with a peaceful inner feeling, rather than being consumed by your fear of the future.

Today is all there is, so enjoy!

Don’t let anything take away your PRESENT.”

With that, Tom and Dave shook hands, left the building, and went their separate ways.




Also published on Medium.

3 thoughts on “Our Many Selves

  1. At my age now, I’ve noticed that some of the parts you talk about are missing. I used to have them all but now I can’t find some of them. For instance, the physical part doesn’t want to do much anymore. It’s tired most of the time. The emotional part can cry at a moments notice. I won’t go through all the parts but they are not as powerful as they used to be. I am here and I am still busy. Still doing the things I love. It may take a little more time but it is still very satisfying to accomplish whatever I set out to do.
    We still have time left, Dave.

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