Genuine Self

What is your genuine self? This question most often throws people with Borderline for a loop, and they are unable to draw anything but a blank. Are you able to easily identify core aspects of who you are? Most likely, you are confused about your genuine self, as most people afflicted with Borderline are. In this section, we will discuss some of what it takes to determine your personal journey to your genuine self.

Another way to look at this is by picturing a mirrorball, as you would find at a disco. Picture yourself as the mirrorball with all these tiny little fragments. Maybe when the mirrorball gets pulled from its shipping box, it doesn't look spectacular. Maybe it might even look a little plain or dull. Then the lights come on and the mirrorball begins to twirl around slowly. As it does this, different colored lights shine upon the mirrorball.

mirror ball

When we face a crisis, it's like a blue light shining on one particular segment of the mirrorball. When a telemarketer or bill collector catches us at a bad time, it's perhaps a red light shining on a different section of the mirrorball. All of the pieces of the mirrorball are valuable, needed and worthwhile. All of them serve to create the whole - the mirrorball. Every fragment of your personality, your "self," serves to create the whole of your genuine self.

The genuine self is going to look and feel different for every single person, but the one thing that all will have in common is that the genuine self is the recovered self. By creating and accepting the genuine self, we become functional, healthy adults capable of facing life's hurdles.

The genuine self is also known, in some circles, as the core self or the core personality. In other words, what is it that you believe?
  • What are your views on politics?
  • On religion?
  • On corporal punishment?
  • On capital punishment?
  • On abortion?
  • On censorship?
  • On personal freedom?
  • On homosexuality?

I don't suggest that you need to answer these questions to be "cured" of Borderline. I pose these questions as a way to get you to think about what you believe. We spoke in Chapter Seven of mirroring. I wouldn't be surprised if your answers to some or all of these questions are "I don't know" or "I'm not sure." I would also expect to hear "It depends on the situation" and that's a fantastic response - provided the situation is based on the topic rather than the person with whom you're discussing the topic.

If you don't know what you stand for, you'll stand for anything.

Your genuine self will be unique to you. You may share similarities with some folks and be extremely dissimilar to other folks, and yet both groups of people can be your friends. When you've solidified your genuine self, you'll be able to recognize that everyone else around you also has a genuine self. People need not share the same thoughts, beliefs or opinions on any subject, let alone all of them. By embracing your own genuine self, you'll suddenly be free to embrace the genuine selves of those around you because they will no longer represent a lot of work - you no longer need to change them or convert them to your way of thinking. You'll be content to allow them to be exactly who they are while you continue being exactly who you are. And if, or should I say, when you encounter someone who wants you to change, you'll weigh their request against your genuine self, work the Five Steps, apply the Four Agreements and be able to determine whether or not that aspect of yourself is open to change or not. Sometimes these scenarios might mean that a particular person will chose to avoid you because of your refusal to bend to their wishes, and your genuine self will be okay with that. You'll know that their boundary was unhealthy and that it's probably best to end the association with that person.

The genuine self is really a remarkable sense of inner peace and tranquility. It doesn't mean that you've earned a pass into Nirvana or Utopia. Nor does it mean that life will be a constant state of "smooth sailing." There will still be upheavals, fights, moments of extremes - that's part of life and it cannot be changed. With the solidity and security of the genuine self, though, you will be able to weather those ups and downs with the calm and peaceful understanding that, no matter what, you will conduct yourself in accordance with the beliefs of your genuine self.