How many of each one of us are there?
Again, as with Now and Next, we have another split personality. There’s Others who is the part of us that is interested in helping others, pleasing others, doing what others expect of us, and fulfilling our duties and obligations. In contrast, a part that can often be in conflict with Others is Oneself, who is interested in taking care of our own interests and listening to and following our own heart. Often, we find these two parts of us in conflict. “I want to be selfish, but I should be generous and altruistic.”
All in the family
Don’t worry, each one of us has only four of us: Now, Next, Oneself, and Others. All our conflicts, all our problems are the results of disputes between two, three, or all four of these antagonists. Even though having a “multiple personality” (also called “dissociative identity disorder”) is considered rare, almost all of us suffer from it to varying degrees from this much milder form of having multiple personalities, with these four characters as the protagonists. Welcome to the drama!
Focusing in on problems and conflicts that occur primarily between Oneself and Others, here are some examples:
Oneself wants to flirt with that handsome girl/guy (and maybe even go further).
Others wants their spouse/lover to feel safe and loved (and not upset with them).
Oneself wants to keep some distance from their parents.
Others wants to see themselves as a responsible, loving daughter or son.
Oneself would just to prefer an easy life.
Others wants to be recognized for making a big contribution to the world.
Oneself doesn’t feel comfortable lending money to a friend.
Others thinks they ought to lend some money to their friend.
Oneself wants to take care of their own life.
Others feels a duty and obligation to fight for their country.
And conflicts go on and on...
Many of us have major and persistent conflicts between the Oneself and Others parts of ourselves. Sometimes Others “wins” and Oneself just has to live with it. Other times Oneself “wins” and Others blames Oneself for being selfish and we feel guilty. This ongoing conflict creates major unhappiness and damage in our lives (as well as the lives of others important to us).
Two pillars of integrity
Most fundamentally, when Now and Next cooperate and are on the same page, we have established the quintessential pillar for integrity. However, for full integrity, Oneself and Others must also create alignment. This is the second pillar of integrity. When all four of these parts of ourselves are integrated and at peace with each other, then we are living a life of full integrity, which is a life of joy, self-expression, accomplishment, great relationships, but most importantly being our own best friend.
You may be thinking, “Mankind has fought an uphill battle against selfish, short-term thinking. You’re trying to reverse all the progress we’ve made.”
If you continue with me in our exploration together of the relationships between Now, Next, Oneself, and Others, you may often feel that I am trying to reverse or destroy whatever progress that has been made over thousands of years to empower Next and Others in their fight against Now and Oneself. My fundamental claim, however, is that I will not disempower Next and Others, but I will empower them more by ending the fighting and establishing a cooperative status between all four of these protagonists. The possibility of this being successful may be very hard to believe, given the deep and long-term immersion that we’ve all had in the beliefs and attitudes that Next and Others are the good guys and Now and Oneself are the bad guys. Please stick with me. I promise that you’ll be able to finally realize that all four of these are good guys.