How many personalities do you have? The answer may be: more than you think.
Consider, as one author notes, than most people have at least three sides: the persona they exhibit in public (at work, among friends, shopping); the side that breaks forth when they return into their homes (what might be called the “private,” family self), and an interior one that is “secret” and known only to the person himself or herself.
This is the part of us that dreams, that aspires, that distrusts, that resents, that constantly thinks — in short, our daily stream of consciousness, or “interior dialogue.”
It’s in a deep vault.
Politicians and celebrities, of course, are the experts at public persona.
But we all have this inclination: in public, polite; all smiles; affable; bothered by nothing at all.
Not so when we get home and find something out of order.
Suddenly we sulk or rant. The smile (and courtesy) are gone.
That side is known most predominately to the spouse, children, siblings, and parents — the private self.
This is the side that “let’s your hair down.”
The secret persona is something no one else would know — and perhaps not even guess: inner likes, dislikes, lusts, jealousies, anger, urges, insecurities, inferiority, aspirations, compulsions.
This would be the self where one would locate the true way we think of others.
It is where our actual intentions are. It would also be where our true faith is missing or found.
Remember the expression, “A penny for your thoughts”? That’s because we often sense that we don’t really know what’s going through a person’s heart or head no matter how “close” we are to them.
Only the Lord knows us fully — and better than we know ourselves. “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,” says Psalm 51:6. “And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.”
When we have three parts to our personalities, they can become like insulated — isolated — compartments, for compartments consist of walls. There is a disconnect.
From this comes tension. Our inner sides may war with each other. We don’t feel whole.
When we don’t feel whole (one with Christ), we don’t feel happy. We reach out and try to find a solution in power or money. Look at the wealthiest people and ask yourself: do they look fulfilled and happy?
Or do they continue to strive for something? What do they really think of themselves? And egotists? A narcissist is often simply trying to hide the deepest interior of his or her soul not only from others but from himself or herself.
How many of your thoughts, in the course of a day — or an hour, a minute — are focused on yourself: what others think of you, how they are perceiving what you have, what you would really like to “be,” who you really think you are?
It’s when we join all parts of ourselves with Jesus that He clears the debris and the wrongful internal “chatter” and makes us whole. We can only have a single persona by being honest, dispensing all pride, discarding wrong patterns (it is the pattern more than a single sin, that God cares about), and washing ourselves in the Confessional (and thereafter).
Interior cleansing during Lent — asking the Holy Spirit to probe the deepest recesses of our personalities and cleansing what should be cleansed; correcting what should be corrected; connecting what should be joined; purging what should be purged — is a goal we should all have.
Take time for the desert; in Adoration. Strip everything down. Knock down interior barriers, which cause tension. Imperfections and divides (especially lust) can be hidden doorways to spirits that then cause other, seemingly unrelated desires.
Grant them no place — no corner, no compartment — to hide. There should be no separate selves. What is displayed in public should conform to how we are in private and how we are in private should conform with our true, secret part.
When we have just one “self” we are much better prepared for Heaven — where every part of us will be instantly known. Better now than in the “great laundromat in the sky” known as purgatory.
To thine own self (not “selves”) be true.
Be one person. Unite yourself. What you see should be what it is.
The true you is you at your best (which includes the you at your most compassionate).
To locate that, to find who you really are, to base yourself on the truth within — on who God formed you to be (as opposed to what we or others decided we should be) — takes but a simple prayer.
Say it frequently. It’s another quote from Psalms (51:10): “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
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