I believe each person holds at least three versions of themselves inside. The most important is the inner self, who you really are. The most visible is the outer self – who you appear to be to the people who interact with you. But there is also another piece, for thinking feeling people: the ideal self, or who you want to be. There is usually a gap between who a person is and who they want to be, so they are not the same. I know that Ideal Dave is still just a projection in my head; I am not there yet.
I think there’s a lot of really interesting depth to this perspective on identity (hence the “1” in today’s blog post title) but I wanted to focus on describing two very interesting effects of the interrelationship among them.
The first is identity trending: over time, your inner self will become more like your ideal self… given that you have some conception of your ideal self (consciously). I think this is really just me restating that “people can change” and “you can change yourself for the
better more ideal.” I know, for example, I strive to be very honest with my friends about my thoughts and feelings – because Ideal Dave is honest with and trusting of his friends – so my inner self has taken actions (like this blog) to be more like that.
The second is identity assumption: if we are not careful (meaning taking conscious action against it), if our outer self and inner self don’t match, we will become more like our outer self. This is kind of a restatement of “if you keep making faces, your face is going to get stuck that way.” Our, in more useful terms, when you pretend to be somebody you aren’t, you start to become that pretend version of yourself. I don’t think it happens for everyone, but I have certainly noticed it happening to me – it is really tough to keep three selves in your conscious mind and also keep them separate.
As usual, these were thoughts in my head… I’m sure someone has written about this before!