You knock at someone’s door and they ask: “Who’s there?” How do you answer? How many times have you answered “It’s me!” But… who’s the “me”?
I often say “It’s Ana!” Seems to work, for the purpose of having a door opened. If not, a last name may add to the chances of being recognised.
But what would be left if there wouldn’t be a name? If what I can be is what and who I am, and not a label that someone gave to me in the shape of an ID?
Some months ago, in an event, we were invited to give ourselves a different name. It didn’t have to mean anything, or even make sense. And we definitely didn’t have to explain why we chose it. It was only an invitation to be whatever we wanted to during those days. Oh, how hard it was to stick to it! To introduce myself or answer to a name that wasn’t my own.
The “me” in a body
If this “me” wouldn’t be in the name, where would it be? Our body? Do we know our body that well, that we would be able to recognise it anywhere?
At least we know that if the “me” is in our body, this “me” is very receptive to change! Knowing that my body accepts to go into cycles of life and death constantly, and holds the wisdom of homeostasis without any need of intervention from my mind gives me a sense of safety and trust.
A small change in perspective can make a difference! In your next zoom meeting, try taking away the mirror screen option and notice whether there is a difference between how you usually see yourself, and how others see you!
Does it feel the same?
The “me” in a personality
When studying Psychology, and later when working in Human Resources and Recruitment, profiling was “a thing”. I imagine that there’s a will to understand and predict people’s behaviour. It gives us a sense of safety and comfort to “know” how someone is going to behave. To know what to expect.
A little disclaimer: I personally hold the (often unpopular) belief that we don’t come to the world with a static personality, which is set in stone and that is with us since the day we were born until the day we die. So I also tend to refuse any model interpretation that brings me into a static box. No matter if the source of it comes from DISC, Myers-Briggs, or the Enneagram, I believe that these models should be seen in a context and with a dynamic lens.
I do believe that certain patterns of behaviour are developed early enough in life to make them look as if they’ve always been there. From birth, or even before. And they may become so merged with our sense of who we are that we can’t really find the distinction.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) speaks of our Parts and the Self. The Parts as sub-personalities, each one owning likes, dislikes, burdens, and history, and a distinct role to play in the history of the person. Sub-personalities that will show up when triggered and can be distinct. And the Self as what each person is at the core.
Would the “me” then change every time we are acting within one of these sub-personalities?
The “me” in a Self
If we stay with IFS, the Self holds qualities such as acceptance, confidence, wisdom, compassion, connectedness, calmness. This Self is then more of a witnessing “I” in the inner world.
In Theory U, Otto Scharmer mentions the distinction between the self and the Self. In a moment where people lack meaning and purpose, this represents the internal divide. A separation from ourselves that often leads to depression and anxiety. The Capital Self is seen as the highest future potential to be developed. The answer to the question “why are you here?”
Could the answer to “Who’s there?” be then hidden in “Why?”
“Most of us live our lives by accident – we live as it happens. Fulfilment comes when we live our lives on purpose.”SIMON SINEK
What is your cause? What do you believe in? What’s your purpose?