Why on earth would I ever want to find my "Inner Donald Trump"?
A few weeks ago, I had a session with my teacher J'aime ona Pangaia. We worked with a pretty massive inner critic attack I had endured a couple days before. I’d made a snarky remark about someone and later realized she'd been in the room. On top of it all, that same evening this person gave me a very thoughtful present. My inner critic went completely nuts. I couldn't think about anything else, I felt paralyzed. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.
During the session we spoke with the part of myself who cares so deeply about how other people feel and how they perceive me. This part (or “self”) articulated very eloquently that I should never in a million years have even thought something negative about this woman (or anyone else for that matter)--much less said it out loud. This self spoke at length about how people are doing the best they can with the circumstances in which they find themselves and chastised me for being so self-centered.
This is a part of myself that I value very highly. It is, as we say in Voice Dialogue, a primary self for me. This part is compassionate and has perspective. It's a part of me that helps me in my work and my personal life by reminding me regularly to think from the perspective of my friends and colleagues instead of thinking only about my needs.
What I realized during the session, however, is that I'm not always conscious about when I'm operating through this other-centered, compassionate self. When I'm unconsciously identified with this self, I tend to disown any energies that oppose it...and that can be dangerous. When the energy on the opposite side isn't acknowledged and expressed consciously, it can sometimes push through in unconscious ways...like blurting out complaints about other people in public settings.
So what's on the other side? J'aime ventured the guess that the disowned self might look a little like Donald Trump. For my other-centered self this comparison was not a happy one. For that self, Donald Trump looks something like the anti-Christ—which makes sense, because we're talking about polar opposites.
So it got me to wondering, “What would my inner Donald Trump look like?” To start with, he would be focused on my needs and desires first. He wouldn't care a whit about what other think about him (or me). He would say what he thinks without even considering how it might impact the people who are listening.
Can I imagine circumstances in which that kind of energy might be helpful? Absolutely. There are certainly times when I need to be consciously tuned into my own needs and not focusing exclusively on the experiences of others.
More importantly, if I disown that self-oriented perspective, and hold myself up as someone who would never be so narcissistic, so self-absorbed, so utterly incapable of thinking about the needs of others, then that Trump-like energy will emerge in potentially explosive ways.
Conversely, it’s easy to imagine swinging too far to the other side with the Trump-like energy running roughshod over the kind-hearted part of me.
The goal is to have access to both of these energies within myself, to hold the tension between their conflicting perspectives, desires, and needs. The capacity to stand between them and exercise conscious choice around how much of each “self” to bring into any given set of circumstances, this is the Aware Ego Process; the primary aim of Voice Dialogue work.
Without an Aware Ego Process, I find myself unconsciously identified with my kind-hearted, altruistic self and vitriolically judging the self-oriented energy.
And if a large group of people, say an entire nation, say the most powerful nation in the entire world, disowned that energy – it might even explode forth so disproportionately as to secure a major party’s nomination for President of that country.