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Self Portrait day! This is a portrait of me without makeup on a regular day at work - with my typical smile :) I'd rather portray my honest, every day, wake-up-give-me-coffee self than someone who appears to be well rested and maintained. I care for myself but concentrate on my work more than satisfying my intense vanity and I wanted to show that here. Though, to a point I believe I have nearly understood my true self for this age, I wonder if my concepts of true self are recognition of repetitive behaviors I have noticed in my life and applying these behaviors to hypothetical alternatives or is it a combination of my past and my personality combined to goals? When all external forces are stripped away, what composes my true self?
"I wonder if my concepts of true self are recognition of repetitive behaviors and applying these behaviors to hypothetical alternatives?"
The true self was an idea originally created by Maslow’s theory of self-actualization which was further developed by Karen Horney who divided growth into healthy and neurotic categories. Healthy growth is when the individual has developed to his/her fullest potential, and is true to her/himself - knowing who one is and what one appreciates. In contrast, the individual falling into the false self has limited personal growth which is stagnated by unrealistic ideas and feelings. These delusions, lies, or any form of idealization leave the person disconnected from their true selves. Additionally, the presentation of the false self sucks energy from personal development into the true self. Essentially, the individual spends so much time “keeping up the image” of the false self to even begin to develop a true self.
Although the American society’s conception of true and false self is based largely on Christian morality, describing the “false” self as lies, lustfulness, envy, et cetera, this is untrue. A large part of becoming your true self is recognizing that those feelings are a part of you. Essentially accepting the light and dark inside of you but understanding there must be a balance of emotion. For instance, consistent lies, envy, or jealousy aren’t healthy emotions. They breed negativity to an extent, but as long as you recognize them and do not dwell on those thoughts or feelings then it is good overall perception and close to your true self. The true self is creating a connection with you; your passions, dislikes, sources of happiness, and ideas of social justice for yourself and others while understanding the darker side of those qualities and knowing when they occur - a sense of self-reflection.
“only when [a person] fully experiences the feeling which at an organic level he is...that he is being a part of his real self.” - Carl Rogers
To further break down my concept of my true self, my character, I made a web and began eliminating the external forces which pushed me one way or another. Although it is slightly complicated, allowing the default system and conscious self to wander hand-in-hand through memories gives a better idea of who you are as a sole individual.
Mini Sample Web - missing a large portions of my life
A study conducted by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania recently researched individuals with Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Major Depressive Disorders, and control groups. Results show a correlation between high accuracy on complex cognition domain and verbal reasoning and diagnosis of Bipolar I and high accuracy on emotional recognition and Major Depressive Disorders. However, Bipolar II ranked similarly with control group individuals. Researchers did not determine which phase the individuals were in during tested or what medications (if any) the individuals were taking. This paper increases relevance to the evolutionary viewpoint of mental illness. In other words, what role does mental illness play in the survival of our species? For instance, schizophrenia has the same prevalence in all societies across the world; additionally, it has been written in history dating back to the Middle Ages of Western cultures. What does mental illness provide us with? Is it a way to stop us from suffering from another, perhaps worse disease, like sickle-cell anemia? Or is it a way to problem-solve creatively or act as an environmental warning gone haywire? Check out the link below for the paper and let me know what you think!