The concept of the “self” is hard to define, but for the purpose of this blog let’s say it’s what distinguishes you from others. It’s you and your foibles, thoughts, feelings, history, baggage, and beliefs all culminated into the present moment. There are millions of selves on this planet, and they’re constantly evolving and developing into better, stronger selves.
But no matter how strong your sense of “self” is, there are going to be times when you could easily lose your “self.” It’s a terrible fact, but I can almost guarantee it. And it usually happens when we interact with other selves. Some people lose themselves in romantic relationships—disappearing into their partner’s self. Other people lose themselves to work or family. But the most common loss of “self” occurs when we feel powerless, out-of-control, or dependent on others.
Think about any heated argument you’ve ever been in. You might become so concerned about the other “self” in the argument—why they won’t believe what you believe or think what you think—that you lose focus on what you want to say, how you want to say it, and how you want to act. When this happens, without knowing it, you’ve blurred the once-strong line between you and the other “self.” It’s like you allowed them to enter your brain and there’s not enough space for the two of you to exist peacefully. You’ve lost your “self.”
When this happens, you need psychological distance—and fast. Pull yourself together and then figure out what you need to do. What is it that you need to do to get the situation out of your head? Further, what could you develop to avoid this loss of “self” in the future?
- Do you need to develop a thicker skin?
- Do you need to develop a different perspective, a more open mind?
- Do you need to become more assertive when speaking? Less aggressive?
These type of questions will help you get back to evolving and developing your “self.” Next time, if you can avoid the heated argument and instead engage in a reasonable and logical discussion, then not only have you maintained your sense of “self,” you’ve also grown. And no one can take that away from you.