Getting to know myself

I saw two swans flying. This is rare, because they can normally get where they want to go, by swimming. They aid each other, one flying in the other’s slip stream. As I watched, they changed places.

As the laws of attack govern those of riposte, to avoid being harmed by the asperities of my character, all my servants adopted in their own the same withdrawal tactics, and always at the same point; in compensation for this, they took advantage of the gaps in my defences to gain ground there. Of these gaps I knew nothing, any more than of the ground gained in the spaces they left, precisely because they were gaps. But my servants, as their faults became gradually more apparent, taught me of their existence. It was in the defects which they invariably acquired that I learned of my own natural, invariable defects, and their character presented me with a sort of negative proof of my own.

-Proust, The Guermantes Way

How can I get to know the bits of myself which I deny? The first step was realising that such bits exist in the first place. When I first saw Johari’s Window in the 1990s, it did not really speak to me. It was a great revelation to realise, in about 2000, that I lie to myself because I want to see myself as a Good person. One thing I sought to do then was find other motivations I might have to lie to myself.

A strange thing about this lie is that it still applies, though my principles have moved from a Daily Mailish morality to ideals around personal growth and spiritual maturity, it is still easier to tell myself I have done some healing or growth than actually to do it.

Another task was to find out what I really wanted, and to compare my belief of my wants to my acts. If I really want something, I should be motivated to achieve it. In come the lies again: I want to protect myself, and wear a mask when I interact with other people, so I do, but do not realise it. I tell myself I want the things I have learned I ought to want, but don’t. So I seek them out, and wonder at my lack of motivation and energy.

Also, at some deep unconscious level I wanted my own survival and healing, towards a self-actualisation that, consciously, I could not have understood, or might fear and hate. These factors have brought me Here, to a place where I might do that healing.

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