We may often find that if we think back, our lives are shaped by events that still have a hold over us today. I’ve thought why do we make such passionate commitments to hobbies, work, ideas, or some other personal endeavor we display and cling to showing others in our public display. Are we showing them for ulterior reasons or are we really expressing our authentic identity? Is it that these activities we express will strengthen our self-perceived public personas when we show these manifestations to others around us in our interests? Is the effort placed mainly because this is how we want to be perceived by others? Is this a conscious or an unconscious act, or is it a little of both? What happened to us when we were younger to impel us to pursue these activities in our self perception and show the world that this is how we want to be identified? Guilt, Shame, or some other developmental dysfunction?
Some reasons attributed to such actions are either for pure enjoyment of the activities we pursue, or maybe we do them as an avoidance or distraction from something else. There are some activities that have a deeper connection to us than just the simple satisfaction of our doing them! One could suggest that people who like fashion and fitness, often purchase new outfits. Reinforcing this perception they post selfie images on social media for all of their friends to see. The same is true for physical appearance. Lets say they have worked hard to show off their gym body, and are frequently posting pictures of themselves. Is this an act of pride or accomplishment, an act of narcissism, or the act of some hidden psychological scar from the past that will perpetually aggrandize their self-worth manifesting in the form of countless selfies on social media? What are the implications to this line of thought? Perhaps an amalgam of reasons are responsible for these deeds. The private manifestations of our humanity oozes our contempt of our flaws in our behaviors.
The question remains for many behaviors: what was the original motivation? Is there some underlying guilt or shame that we have not completely worked out at the time when an emotional confrontation was first introduced to us, and we have since tried to convince ourselves and others that we have overcome this mishap or bestowal? Yes, a positive influence is of course possible but this post is not emphasizing that element. Aside from how some event in our lives may have dramatically affected us, there are many sources of persistent advertisements in our surroundings that perpetuate ideals many of us do not necessarily mirror. Hence we have a relentless culture that fabricates much of what we should look like, what vehicles have prestige, how much money we should earn, and where we should attend school, what evils lurk outside our own nation, ad infinitum.
The power of a marketing advertising media campaign on our lives can also mimic the influence that our peers have over us when voicing their beliefs in our presence. The impressionable ages of our youth have determined many paths for us to take. Whether we know it, many of our self concepts are founded on our early school years, and has set us on a course of action that we have not yet deviated from!
The guile in our representation of ourselves to the world may be overlooked and we may just be “acting for others” more than we would care to admit. It is my contention that most people tend to live with a convoluted sense of self. Whereas many have an authentic persona, many still intend to act on earlier strategies to convince them they are who they say they are. The classic example is the attempt to prove to a group of peers one is worthy by demonstrating a skill based behavior that is performed only for the impression, and not done for the intrinsic altruistic value alone. We can see this in others, but do we look deep within ourselves and see the manifestations that we bring to the table?
I have noticed within my family whose actions generally amplify more loudly than the spoken word. If we coordinate action with words over time, one can composite a given profile in our understanding of them that may be a truer account than they may want to admit. The Johari window was created by two American psychologists, Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1914–1995) in 1955 and is a technique used to help people better understand their relationship with themselves as well as others. Used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise the Johari diagram can be a helpful tool.
The tool was designed to elucidate the known self and the unknown self. Sometimes others see us as who we are, and see us as who we would like to be! Some see us through the charade, and some do not. Parts of our persona may never come to the light of day in our awareness and that of others.
On a physiological psychological viewpoint, we as humans have extremely complex neural nets. Each individual neuron can form thousands of links with other neurons in this way, giving a typical brain well over 100 trillion synapses (up to 1,000 trillion, by some estimates). Functionally related neurons connect to each other to form neural networks. My point being that even after synaptic pruning we are not very self-aware of our behavior. Despite the fact we do not completely use the full potential of our brain power, and we do not have much of an understanding of why we do what we do in general, it does not reduce my hypothesis that we are beholden to age-old grudges that shape our behavior today.
Not unlike other psychological factors that mechanize our defensive behaviors into attempts to disentangle past events, does this imposing line of reasoning tie us to some behavioral repentance? There are those who predicate a turning away from a past transgression in order for us to become accepted within the framework we are working with. We make amends, acknowledge certain behaviors as ethical, and move on. The grace and mercy from others are usually bound to the redemptive value of our honesty. I think that we also must turn the discerning eye upon ourselves and find a benevolence in our condition that only we can forgive our perceived flaws.
“Digging In The Dirt”
Something in me, dark and sticky
No way of dealing with this feeling
Can’t go on like this too long
I told you
This time you’ve gone too far
I told you
Just drive the car
Shut your mouth
I know what you are
Don’t say nothing
Keep your hands on the wheel
Don’t turn around
This is for real
Digging in the dirt
Stay with me, I need support
I’m digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt
As I close on in, I get so blind
I feel it in my head, I feel it in my toes
I feel it in my sex, that’s the place it goes
Stay with me I need support
I’m digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
To open up the places I got hurt
To find the places we got hurt