Humans usually live life barely scratching the surface of living.
I believe that we are so caught up in the drama of our present survival, we don't take enough time to truly understand our inner wants and needs, nor look at how far back and deeply ingrained our early psyche can inform our self awareness... now.
Wiki describes "self-knowledge" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-knowledge_(psychology) as a term used in the practice of psychology to describe the information that an individual draws upon when finding an answer to the question "What am I like?".
Self-knowledge is a component of the self, or more accurately, the self-concept. It is the knowledge of one's self and one's properties and the desire to seek such knowledge that guide the development of the self-concept. Self-knowledge informs us of our mental representations of ourselves, which contain attributes that we uniquely pair with ourselves, and theories on whether these attributes are stable, or dynamic.
The self-concept is thought to have three primary aspects:
- The Cognitive Self
- The Affective Self
- The Executive Self
The affective and executive selves are also known as the felt and active selves respectively, as they refer to the emotional and behavioral components of the self-concept. Self-knowledge is linked to the cognitive self in that its motives guide our search to gain greater clarity and assurance that our own self-concept is an accurate representation of our true self; for this reason the cognitive self is also referred to as the known self. The cognitive self is made up of everything we know (or think we know about ourselves). This implies physiological properties such as hair color, race, and height etc.; and psychological properties like beliefs, values, and dislikes to name but a few.
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. As an artist, I am always struggling with questions...about nearly everything. And, I especially struggle with questions about my self as an artist.
You see, if I could choose, I would NOT be an artist. It is a perpetual heartache, headache, and walletache.
Let me deviate here...seems unrelated, but it is totally related. I always liked to write, and I always got good grades in school in writing. I took Creative Writing in university, and also minored in English in two of my degrees. That doesn't mean I am an expert writer! Oh no, I am not. I love Editors. But, I do enjoy the process of talking about situations, getting inside the heads and hearts of creative people, reviewing art shows, expressing my particular voice in words, as well as images, and hope others enjoy what I have to say.
Two weeks ago, I brought a box of old photos and old film reels back to my house. They belonged to my mom and dad. I have to sort through them, send some to my sister, keep some, the usual process daughters and sons go through when parents become disabled or die. I came upon this in the pile:
Yes, that was written by me. The funny thing about finding this NOW, is that I just finished writing and illustrating a children's book, which I am shopping around to publishers. I have a blog here on my website where you can read about that, if you are so inclined!
My point being...a lot of my self was determined very, very early on. Before I would ever have thought possible, evidenced by the find of this little gem hidden in amongst my parents' memorabilia.
I am "like" a creative soul, because it was always in me. My "property" is being creative. My emotional and behavioral are creative. I can't deny it - and believe me, I have tried, at various points in my career as an artist, to stop being a "creative" - when you have the disapproval of your parents, when you can't make ends meet, when your children grow up NOT wanting anything to do with being creative because they have seen your struggle you desire approval, sustenance, your children's admiration....you resent this compelling drive to express.
This little card reassured me. I AM, therefore...I am. How about you...have you thought deeply about your self, your destiny? Are you perhaps denying what you were supposed to do? Who you are supposed to be? BTW- as you can see, the card was never stamped, never sent, remained locked for 43 years in my parents' stuff. Was that their choice? Did they hide it? Or, was it just another lost child's frivolity, an oversight? Whatever, I never did receive that "help" I requested...but I have help now, coming from within my self.
I scratch far below the surface.