“First and foremost, find out what it is you’re about, and be that. Be what you are, and don’t lose it. It’s very hard to be who we are, because it doesn’t seem to be what anyone wants.” Norman Lear.
I was talking to a friend on Saturday morning and she mentioned a condition called mental Scotoma. She explained it as a figurative blind spot in someone’s psychological awareness that prevents them from gaining insight into their mental problems.
Her massage therapy class is studying how mental scotoma prevents us from moving into the fullness of who we are. An example would be if we were told as a child we’d never amount to anything or that we were stupid, or if were treated like we didn’t matter, there’s a huge chance we’d have a mind-set that says we’re worthless. Mental scotoma would be the blind spot that keeps us from even knowing we have a mindset.
Unless someone pointed out to us that the messages we received as a child were not necessarily the truth and that we are not who others said we were, we might stay blind to feeling anything else in life other than worthless. The results could be either we go through life trying to prove we’re okay and worthwhile or we play the part of one who settles for less which is what we believe we deserve.
While talking about mental scotoma I remembered something similar I learned years ago. In the 1980’s I learned about my identity chart and its components. This new insight, along with starting in therapy, changed my life and helped to set me on my healing path
OUR IDENTITY CHART
An identity chart is a tool that helps us consider the factors that shape who we are as people. When we create an identity chart we can have a better understanding of Self. The chart I was introduced to was composed of self-image, primal law or basic belief and eternal law.
LAW OF SELF-IMAGE
Our self-image is who we pretend to be, who we think we’re supposed to be. It’s the false self we developed so we could fit in and be accepted. Some examples would be:
Mr. nice guy, good girl, always helpful, always on time, only saying nice things, never saying no, following all the rules, quiet and polite, etc.
Sometimes our self-image is about surviving without fitting in. Examples of this would be: rebel, rule-breaker, trouble-maker, failing in school, a lack of goals,etc.
We all have a self-image which becomes a problem when it supersedes our knowledge of our authentic self. Often we think our self-image is who we are because we’ve lived it all our life and it’s all we know. We might even say “I’m fine,” or “I’m very happy,” and because of mental scotoma not recognize the hole in our soul that drives us towards we know not what.
PRIMAL LAW OR BASIC BELIEF
This is who we fear we really are if we don’t pretend to be who we think we’re supposed to be. Some examples of basic beliefs are I’m stupid, worthless, inadequate, ugly, not good enough, a failure, or something is wrong with me. This is the dangerous and largely unacknowledged cauldron of unacceptable feelings and reactions that we’d prefer not to look at, and certainly hope to keep hidden from others.This is also the self we run from and spend most, and in some cases all, of our life trying to escape. Our basic belief drives us mercilessly and keeps us stuck in patterns and in our story.
This is who we really are underneath it all. Examples of our true self are innocent, good, loving, kind, just, merciful, compassionate, etc. Many do not see this because they’re blinded by their self-image or primal law.
DISCOVERING OUR PRIMAL LAW
Of the three of these our primal law is the most negative dominant factor. These powerful unconscious beliefs are a generalization we made about ourselves that we hold to be true. We carry our primal law in every cell of our body. We see life through this law.
All primal laws boil down to one main belief which is, who I am is not enough, therefore I am inadequate. We adapt behaviors to both cover our law and prove to ourselves that our basic belief is true. We cover our law with perfection, achievement, having more, putting others down, or pretending all is well and we’ve got life handled. Or we prove our law with failure, self-sabotage, criminal activity, or hopelessness and helplessness.
Discovering our primal law is a journey of self-discovery. I am going to share the four processes I have used to uncover my basic beliefs. Because of the time commitment and the willingness required for these processes, I am going to complete this article in stages. Today, I will start with process # one. I suggest writing your answers so you can go back to them.
Process # 1. Pay attention to how others treat you, especially those close to you like family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. What do you allow and what do you expect? Do you let others use you or run over you? Are you trusted and cared for? This is a great way to see what you really believe about who you are.
Be with whatever you see and know it’s okay to identify what runs your life. In order to heal what’s already sitting there, we have to be willing to see it.
To be continued on Monday, June 11, 2012.
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