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How to care for your You


malign

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I thought I would start a new ongoing series tagged with "Caring for your You". Expect me to make updates to the series periodically, when things occur to me.

How to Care for your You

Preface

Congratulations! You are the owner of a one-of-a-kind being, a You. Now, you might say that everyone else is, too, but the reality is that your You is the only one just like it anywhere in the known Universe, and always will be. You might say you are You-nique (or if you never would say that, I might, just to establish how different we all are.)

In fact, perhaps the first rule you should keep in mind is that ultimately, it is up to you, together with your You, to make the final decisions about what is right for you. Any guidelines you might find here are purely advisory, simply suggestions on which you and your You can base your agreements about how to be, together.

Luckily for you, and as the underlying reason for what you are reading right now, You's do share certain common traits that their owners should know about. Much as each puppy is unique, but they share the traits that make them puppies, so unique You's share characteristics that can help us care for them better, if we know about them.

Probably, if you are reading this, or at least understand human language at all, you have had your You for a number of years already. (If you still communicate with gurgles and screams, you might have to come back later. Waaah.) If you are lucky, the two of you may be getting along quite well as it is, and the recommendations that you find here may add little to the relationship you already have with your You. On the other hand, many of us find that we do not understand our You's, that our You's act capriciously or mysteriously, or even that we are not sure what our You is. After all, the You factory does not provide a You-ser's manual.

It was for myself to explore my You, and for my friends whose You's sometimes baffle them, that I have written this simple guide.

Meeting your You

This might be a good time to introduce yourself to your You. I know that you have probably been together for some time already, but if your relationship is less than optimal, sometimes it helps to start over from the beginning.

So, go ahead and introduce yourself. Pay attention to how you describe yourself when you do that, particularly the things that you do not say; it may come in useful later. Shake hands with your You. I promise you it will not bite, but if your You growls or acts threatened, you may postpone this step until later.

Talk gently to your You. You's can sense a broad range of human emotion, including fear and contempt on the negative side, but also compassion and love, on the positive. Treat your You the way you would wish to be treated; you are not guaranteed an identical response, but the rule is golden for a reason.

Who is You?

But, maybe you are tempted to ask me exactly to whom it is that you are introducing yourself. Which one of all those voices inside is your You?

You's are by nature fairly quiet creatures, so especially if you have never developed a good rapport with yours, it may be difficult to identify its voice at first. In fact, some people will find it easier if I first describe which voices are not your You.

Your I's are not You

The first, and for most people the loudest, voice that is not your You is the one that says "I". I's know things, or claim that they do, which if you think about it amounts to the same thing, because it means that they will refuse to learn different things. One clearly recognizable trait of your You is that it is continuously open to new wonders.

Some I's talk about how good they are, how smart or strong or witty or fast or clever. They will say they know these things. Some I's talk about how bad they are, how stupid or weak or dull or slow or foolish. They too will say they know these things. Many people have I's that say good things about some aspects of them and bad things about other aspects, and in complicated examples sometimes say both good and bad things about the same aspect at different times. Most likely the I's will refuse even to notice the contradiction. People are undoubtedly not easy to understand. The useful thing to remember is simply that none of your I's is You.

I's will resist change. It is difficult for them to admit that any changes are needed, because it would mean that there was something they did not know before. That can mean that they will refuse to change something they thought was good, even to make it better, and it can mean that they will even refuse to change something they thought was bad, because that would mean admitting that they were capable of being better. In fact, the very concepts of good and bad are labels the I's use to pretend that because they can name something, they know something. Have you never found things that were good in some ways, and bad in others? I's are incapable of gray areas; gray areas imply that there is something the I's do not already know.

Your You, on the other hand, loves change. It loves finding out new things, fitting them into other things, seeing how the world works, both in its details and in its breadth. Too, it loves the process of learning, which means not knowing most things, and continually replacing old knowledge with new.

Future chapters:

Your fears are not You

Your emotions are not You

Care and feeding of your You

<others, as suggested by readers, perhaps>

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It can be found there, yes, but in a language I won't mention, but which I don't understand. ;-)

?????? 8-O Are you sure you used the link I posted? Sorry, it's a stupid question, but... I really don't understand what and why you've seen. It's in English there, it wasn't even translated to "the language you don't want to mention"!

(Well, it was translated to a related language we all understand, so the book is available in our country, but it's irrelevant here, I know - I only wanted to say that Yalom can be read in our country also in translation...)

Yes, the website is not in English - but the book there is!

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Well, a friend of mine tends to lose things, but she also spends a lot of time at home. So I always tell that at least she knows where to look. :-)

I'll come back to that later, because first I think we need to define some terms. That's something I deliberately didn't do, in my post, because most of us have heard these terms before, and so they are layered with half-understood meanings that tend to get in the way. But ... they're the terms we have.

First, the person you hear in your head, that will be the first one you assume is "you", is what is called the ego, the conscious identity. That's not the "you" that I was after, or that needs to be sought: it's pretty much the finder, and it takes care of itself just fine (for better or worse.)

The "you" that everyone else sees, that's somebody else entirely. In a high-camouflage situation like yours, M., it's probably not even very much "you". It may even be almost entirely fake. The term for this part of a person is their "persona", the mask they wear for others. And depending on the hostility of the environment, it may be closer to being "you", or completely different. It's there for protection, and tends to match the need.

The "you" that I capitalized, the You that you're searching for, is your central core. Not who "they" believe you are, or even who you believe you are, but who you really are. And You're definitely in there, because there's nowhere else you could be. But just like with your car keys, you may not find her by boldly, intently, consciously, searching. You may find her by sitting down and relaxing, possibly looking at a peaceful image like the one above, and letting her find you.

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