A Facebook pal of mine posted the following on Facebook yesterday:
‘ “The most important thing is to know oneself better.” — Spinoza. What do you think is the most important thing?’
“Heavy question! The most important thing (in terms of ourselves)?
It took me over 40 years to get close to an answer. I blog a lot and I’ve just started a new blog. That question, not in so many words, and the answer, they’re in the blog and I want to write a book, my ‘take’ on that question and an answer.
It’s more complex than ‘just’ having to know ourselves better. I think we do know ourselves but most of us don’t, to a lesser or greater extent, like ourselves or we aren’t comfortable with who/what we are…I think a lot of us, if we met ourselves, we wouldn’t want to be friends with ourselves. Most of us have a private persona and a public one…in some cases, the two are similar, in other cases, they are very different. The private one is the real us and it is that private side that, I think, we struggle with…we fight with that private persona, we ignore him/her, we lock him/her away, we let the public one pummel the private one. We can find it hard to live with that private persona, it wants to be something and we can’t get it there or we just don’t like it but we have to accept that it is us, it’s not detached from us, we have to embrace it, we have to live up to it and if there are bad elements, negatives, we have to face them and extinguish them. We are caterpillars and we can turn into butterflies, we aren’t ugly ducklings, we are beautiful swans.
A great line in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, Paul (aka Fred) (George Peppard) says to Hollie (Audrey Hepburn), “no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself”‘.
I think, in my case, I have always worked against myself, I have always fought with myself, I have always given myself excuses. I have an alter ago, a ‘spirit’, which is fighting to get out, has ambition, a sense of direction and destination, some self-belief, but my demons, my negativity, my lack of self-confidence, my lack of self-belief, keep that spirit down and locked away. Sometimes, that ‘destination’ seems nearby, sometimes I can ‘see’ it, ‘feel’ it, sometimes I can embrace that ‘spirit’, that alter ego, sometimes I’m at one with it. When that happens, it’s a great feeling, like being ‘in the zone’, all parts of me working in unison, no inner turmoil, no fighting with myself.
I sense change, my own metamorphosis. My ‘spirit’ is getting stronger, my alter ego is fighting back. I now control my demons, they don’t control me. I feel a sense of independence (from my demons), I feel free, creative and productive. I feel a bit like I did on the day I passed my driving test in the UK when I was 17 years old, that sense of being able to just go, that sense of control….I don’t feel so good all the time, I sometimes have to work hard to push those demons away but, Thank G-d, and thanks to my wonderful family, Dr. Mary-Jane Tacchi and good friends, it’s now three steps forward for every one step back.