Thursday, 22 January 2009

New Year, Etc....

I wonder if the thing is not so much to renew yourself, through resolutions, or by some arbitrary action to appear to be changing - but to recognise yourself anew. By which I mean, see what it was that had been holding you back, and see what you were before that happened.

Very few of us can look back at ourselves with honesty. For one thing, we genuinely forget what we were like. Through the difficult patch, we come, as through all kinds of memory, to see ourselves as perfect before. This "memory cheats" thing must be some kind of survival device.

You are what you are: you will probably not succeed in changing that significantly, unless something happens to you - shocks you, in some way. But how do you know that what you think you are is what you are? In the muddle, the wave of relationships, the power games they need, the way that they grow around you like your most comfortable clothes, in all this, it is hardly a surprise that you look in the mirror and you don't quite see yourself, but instead see yourself looking a certain way (good or bad) "in that". Your perception is coloured by something that is not, in fact, you.

So what are you, then? How do you recover or recognise what it is that you are and what you can do with it?

I think this is where New Year's Resolutions come in, and the psychology of hope- especially the kind of vicarious hope that we have seen lately. But these are more likely to represent what we want to be, not what we are.

To be honest, I have no idea. I look for the answer in words, in alcohol, in staring at the mirror, even in -yuk- work (which is usually the way of blocking self off altogether): but no answers are forthcoming.

Is it possible, after all, that it is very difficult to know how to recognise yourself? Or is it me?

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