All your inner selves

Yesterday I watched another trailer for the ‘United States of Tara’ a tv series created by Steven Spielberg and developed by screenwriter, Diablo Cody. The show stars Toni Collette playing a woman with dissociative identity disorder. The trailer depicts three of her personalities, a rebelious teen, a beer swilling male and a very put together 50’s housewife and the show looks as if it could be a comedic and touching insight into the effects of living in a family where DID is present.

It reminded me that late last week I had a personal realization that I had been defaulting to one of my own personal inner selves. We all have different versions of ourself and there is a creative visualization that we use with our clients where we ask them to imagine a dwelling, it can be a real or fantasy dwelling (mine is a tree house in a bubble!) and the exercise is to explore all the different rooms in the dwelling and identify each version of ‘self’ that exists in each room. It is a really fun exercise to do and usually full of rich awareness for the person doing the visualization. We are not talking anything like a dissociative disorder here, just the concept that we each have different aspects of our personality that we call on in different situations and roles.

My personal realization was in regard to the home renovation project that sits firmly on the goals list this year, I have been approaching it with my rather ‘earnest self’ which leads me down a path where I get bogged down in the detail; for me this is a ‘project’ so my default setting is to go to this place with this ‘self’. However I now see that I am much more compelled to move forward when I call on my ‘happy energy’ self. ‘Happy energy self’ is a lot lighter in spirit and is much more likely to be called on for a social function over anything that involves a contract but there is something marvelous here; when I think about the renovation through the eyes of my ‘happy energy’ self I want to go and talk to contractors and architects about what is possible and it becomes an entirely different ball game.

Try it. Imagine all your different selves, they can even look a little different and be different ages, once you have a strong image of each ‘self’ give them names or attach the dominate value or personality trait to them so you can distinguish them from each other. Then notice when each shows up. Are you noticing a default? I would imagine for instance that some of you in creative jobs will find that your ‘creative self’ will come to work with you and you may possibly leave the more ‘disciplinarian parent self’ at home. Alternatively your job might call for your ‘business self’ to get in the car with you in the morning while your ‘lighter artistic weekend self ‘ remains home in bed.

Now consider what would be different if you chose to call on a specific ‘self’ to deal with individual challenges or tasks instead of letting that default just kick in? What if your ‘creative writer self’ dealt with the children for a change, your ‘fun energetic self’ took you to the gym and your ‘older yoda self’ dealt with conflict at work ?

Once you become aware of your inner selves is a simple exercise to do and can be incredibly powerful as it gives you a whole new range of ‘being with’ various activities, and challenges. I for one will stop earnestly writing short lists of architects and contractors and instead will choose to skip toward finding someone that wants to play with us.

Who will you choose to be tomorrow?
If you are interested in being taken through the ‘inner selves’ visualization just call us!

© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative

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