Do you have a significant self?
You may have a significant other. Or perhaps you would like to have a significant other. Sometimes we might feel our significant others have become too significant or that we are not significant enough to them. But what about you?
It’s a contrived question but it is not a joke or a triviality. I want to share and explore my perception that the relationship with self is my primary relationship, the one on which all others depend. Unfortunately it is not the norm for us to think that is so. Most of us have learned to believe that the meaning in relationship is provided by others. We define ourselves by society’s standards and we gauge our worth by the response that we get from other people – most of all those who are close to us.
My experience is that I have invited those responses. Typically other people will react to us in accordance with our actions and our choices. The reactions that I have drawn have been aligned to how I saw myself deep down. When we don’t get the reactions that fit how we see ourselves, we are likely to change our behaviour unconsciously to produce those reactions, even though they may be negative. For better or worse we trigger the responses that reinforce our self-judgements.
Unfortunately, until we look more closely, the way that we see ourselves is more unconscious than conscious. We all started as babies, with no point of view. We may have a temperament or set of predispositions, but that is all. We don’t have a sense of self; we don’t even know that we are separate. Yesterday evening I was watching a particularly happy and loved baby of 5 months who smiled and gurgled and occasionally crooned for 4 hours, drawing smiles and warmth from all around.
20 years on, most of us have picked up a point of view or two! From infancy as we become more distinct we are sensitive enough to feel how people react to us. Without any conscious thought, we learn how much aliveness will be tolerated before subtle disapproval creeps in. We learn just how much our personal wishes will be accommodated, how quickly they are met with yes or no responses. We learn what parents, family and teachers believe to be right and wrong about who we are. From an innate sensitivity to our environment, whether we know it or not we then internalise these responses not as “their opinions” but as statements about us that defined who we are.
Because many of these opinions came from those who loved us or were assumed to, we interpreted those opinions as “that is what love looks like”. Since we all want to be loved, these hidden patterns propel us to recreate those judgements in those we would like to have closer relationships with. We unconsciously change our behaviour to draw the reactions that we want and expect. At the same time we may be attracted to others who are predisposed to reproduce the opinions and judgements that we construe as love. What else might be possible if we allowed ourselves to be who we really are?
What we think about ourselves and especially what we hold as true of ourselves unconsciously becomes central to how we create relationships. Since consciousness is about oneness with all that is, it stands to reason that there is nothing outside of consciousness. This means that all judgements of ourselves as “right and wrong” are not true consciousness because we have to step outside to make them. This does not mean that there are no choices to be made. We still have choices. But that is all they are – decisions about what leads in the moment to lightness and love, and what does not. They are not about you being wrong. Or right. The biblical instruction “judge not, lest ye be judged” works for self-judgement best of all.
Can you imagine what lightness of relationship might be possible when you have that primary engagement with your significant self? What will it be like to clear yourself of the unconscious viewpoints that stick you in rightness or wrongness so that you no longer need them confirmed via someone else’s point of view? How about giving up the perception of their judgement of you as being what “love” looks like? Then you can also give up the parts of you that think judging them is how you demonstrate love and care.
Can you conceive how freeing it could be? What might it be like when you have the transformation of your relationships in your own hands? How much more of YOU could be present in your life? And how good could that get?
About the Author
Jon is a visionary with a passion for propelling the change in thinking that will support us through the major transitions currently facing humanity. He has extensive knowledge of alternative health and personal development practices and a deep understanding of how human body-minds work. He is among the world’s leading trainers and practitioners in Spiral Dynamics Integral and a founding director of the UK Centre for Human Emergence. Jon’s greatest passion lies in cracking open our view of reality, replacing the matter-oriented scientific orthodoxy with a blended system of understanding which acknowledges the importance of Consciousness in determining the form that all creation takes. He views this aspect of consciousness-raising as a key to humanity’s future. Learn more about Jon here.