STATE INTEGRATION & ME
Who Am I?
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
June 16, 2022
I’m an insatiable reader, a liberal, a reflective writer, a full-time marketer, a mistake-maker, a dog/chicken/tarantula owner, a mother of two, a divorcee, a survivor, a girlfriend, a volunteer, an oenophile, a yogi, a homeowner, a feminist, a meditator, a former problem child, a Connecticut transplant, and a Subaru owner. I could continue this list. Do I need to? Perhaps not.
My life is not defined by one moment in time or one of the many facets that make me … well … me. My life is defined by all of them put together. Can you relate? When I try to think of who I am – for example if I’m writing my bio – it’s so tricky because how I define myself can change depending on what social circle I’m in. It’s also tricky because depending on the day, my mood, the phase of the moon, or the amount of sleep I got the night before, my opinion of myself can change.
There have been times in my life at which I preferred to rigidly define who I was. I liked to think I could easily describe myself. And if I behaved in a way outside the rigid picture I painted of myself, I’d try to hide it. But as C.G. Jung is known for saying, “Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.”
Jung’s quote implies I had to accept those parts of myself – the good parts, the bad parts and especially the ugly parts. I’m human. And there is no way one rigid description will encompass the fullness of my being. Dr. Daniel Siegel expands on Jung’s quote in his book, Mindsight, when he states:
We must accept our multiplicity, the fact that we can show up quite differently in our athletic, intellectual, sexual, spiritual—or many other—states. A heterogeneous collection of states is completely normal in us humans. The key to well-being is collaboration across states, not some rigidly homogeneous unity. The notion that we can have a single, totally consistent way of being is both idealistic and unhealthy.
Once I was able to accept that I’m not perfect, life really began. I’ll make mistakes. I’ll drop the ball. I’ll act outside of the window of the person I hope to be. And that’s okay.
I wasn’t born to be perfect. But I was born to learn about myself and to learn how to function in the world. I need to learn to accept my fellow humans – especially the ones that are different from me – just as I need to learn to accept myself.