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
Not so when we get home and find something out of
Suddenly we sulk or rant. The smile (and courtesy)
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
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
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
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."