By Dr. Barnes Boffey
Each of the different sub selves of our personality get nourishment in different ways. The “Cowboy” I spoke of earlier likes free time, lots of fun and some thrill and excitement. Without that, he feels trapped and bored and boxed in, and he can do what anyone does in those situations, act out or depress. Tending to his needs is important in maintaining happiness.
Other major sub selves for me are my “Artist,” my “Helper,” my “Teacher and my “Warrier.” Some seem pretty obvious, but let me share a few specifics. My “Artist” is the creative, non-linear, poetic, romantic part of my personality. He loves a good book, and listening to fine music, and writing and romance. Where my “Cowboy” wants to see an adventure movie, my artist wants a love story or an off-beat tale to stimulate and energize. My” Cowboy” wants to drive a car fast, my “Artist” wants to lie on a rug and read poems with a lover.
My “Helper” is the minister inside me; the counselor, the fixer and the compassionate friend and citizen. My “Helper” needs significance, not so much excitement, and he needs to know he is making a difference in the world. He is the one who helps people move houses, and stops to talk with a friend who needs support, and gives what he can to charity. He is dedicated to service and returning the favor for the gifts he has received. He looks forward to situations where people are in need, so he can provide some solace and aid.
My “Teacher” is my central sub-self. He is part helper, but more educator and mentor. He is the one that taught elementary school, and does counseling workshops, and mentors young men and women who need an elder. My “Teacher” is enthusiastic about being an elder in the community and taking on the role of sharing what he knows. My “Teacher” and my “Helper” are more self-less than my “Cowboy.” They get bored when life too self-focused for a long period of time, and they need to get back to work in service to something larger than themselves.
And finally, my “Warrier,” who is the strong and willing to “do battle if necessary” with those who seek to destroy or hurt others or use people or the world badly. My “Warrior” can be seen as a bit scary and sometimes “too much,” but he is a part of me that I love and cherish. He was not understood at all in school, especially by female teachers, and had to find ways to express his strong and often loud feelings and behaviors in more appropriate ways. Of all my sub selves, this is most often the hardest one to find ways to nourish in a world becoming more gentrified and politically correct. “My “Warrier” goes to see an action movie with a bad-ass hero who fights for justice and eventually vanquishes the bad guy.
How does knowing all this help?