Over time I've come to envision a Self with three distinct aspects that coexist alongside one another. This makes it easy to imagine inner forces teaming up together, or conflicting with one another -- which our three aspects regularly do.
Try to imagine three little creatures - or aspects of your Self - coexisting inside of you, each with distinct motives and reactions. These are, of course, parts of yourself - parts of human nature- that want very different things from a given situation.
Your primitive creature is keen on personal survival, comfort and advantage. WIth a physical and sensory identity, it truly doesn't care about anybody else.
Your social creature wants to fit in and enjoys tending to people. It easily accommodates to other people unless it is angry or hurt. Your social creature is a more powerful influence than it seems.
Your reasonable creature tries to anticipate the future while seeking knowledge, justice, and meaning. It operates according to logic, but has little influence on other aspects.
Each of these inner creatures - or aspects of Self - has its own agenda and tools.
People vary widely in how they feel about these different aspects of human nature. For example, some loath brute force and competition (driven by primitive forces) while others thrive on them. There are those who have strong social needs, or feel called to service, while others just want to be left alone. And when it comes to reason, there are people who are skeptical of science and new ideas while others can't imagine living without learning.
Imagining where your various reactions come from helps you make space for contradictory needs within yourself. As an Emotional Detective, appreciating that you have multiple natures - not just one - makes it easier to manage your conflicting impulses.
How do you feel about different aspects of your nature?
Try investigating how you feel about your primitive, social, and reasonable aspects. Take notes in your notebook if you are inclined. Ask yourself these questions (and any others that occur to you) regarding each of your three aspects:
- Primitive: How do you feel about the brute aspect of yourself? How competitive a person are you? Are you fully aware of the selfish parts of your personality? What is your relationship to the seven deadly sins? Are you callous or indifferent to others? Do you judge the more primitive aspects of your nature more harshly than others? Do you treasure the strength and drive that your survival instincts provide you? Are you comfortable revealing your ambitions and desires or do you feel compelled to hide these characteristics from others?
- Social: Do you like being with other people? If so in what capacity? Are you inclined to try to entertain other people or do you prefer having more personal and intimate connections? Do you like being taken care of by others? Are you comfortable giving care to others? What sorts of care? Perhaps you have hidden some of your interpersonal longings for fear that they leave you too vulnerable, or that they will never be met. Maybe you have learned to protect yourself by routinely mistrusting others or even pretending you don't care? Or have you remained connected to your longings to tend and be tended, and you feel deeply satisfied with your relationships.
- Reasonable: Are you able to think logically and make plans about how to get the things in life you most want? Are you able to apply a pragmatic approach to the difficulties you encounter? Have made sure to learn about about the areas of life that are important to you? Are you well educated? Do you read, go to lectures, and/or find other ways to stay informed? In what major ways have you neglected to educate yourself? Is there one aspect of your character that you are more educated about than the others?
As you get to know your inner creatures you discover nuances to how you feel about yourself, and you will start to learn why you feel the way you do.