Newsletter 16 - The Self Circle

Hi friends, Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror author Paul James Keyes here with another newsletter!

Last time I talked about the dangers of talking to aliens in your head if you happen to be an undiagnosed schizophrenic. [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 15 - MANIFEST HORROR]. Today, I want to continue talking about the mind with a concept known as the self circle. The self circle is a mental slate or map in which you associate every object or person you come across with your self. It’s a psychological concept that can be used in brain hacking to help you regulate your emotions better.

We can picture this map as a circle, in which you are at the very center. Around you at varying distances is everything you have learned to relate with your self.

When you were a baby and you discovered something new, the first thing you did was place this new person or object on your self circle. The closer to you that you placed this object, the more important it is to your sense of self. Your mother or primary caretaker was probably the first person added to your self circle, and they were probably placed fairly close to you. In fact, babies tend to think that their mother is actually an external part of themselves rather than another entity with autonomy. It takes a while for babies to understand their place in this world, as well as the places of everything around them.

People struggle when they lose their parents later in life. Part of the reason why it is so difficult to lose a parent (not the only reason, mind you), is that you literally lose your sense of self if you have them placed on your self circle.

Okay, so back to baby you. The next thing you discover is a stuffed animal. You think it’s a part of you, so you place it on your self circle. And then you lose it, and you cry because a part of you is gone. But then you realize it was never really a part of you, and you slowly remove it from your self circle in your mind. It turns out, you have the power to decide what and who goes on your self circle map. And it also turns out, it’s better to have less.

We, as humans, become upset when our sense of self is threatened. We become upset if anything on our self circle is threatened as well. If your favorite cup breaks, it was YOUR cup, and you are saddened. If a random cup breaks that wasn’t on your self circle, it doesn’t bother you so much. What I’m trying to say is that emotional regulation can be controlled by the placement of objects on your self circle.

Random example: Your best friend is not you, and their drama is their own and not yours. When you feel yourself becoming emotional about something, that is a good time to stop and think about why that topic is making you so emotional. In the end, everything you care about is somewhere on your self map, but things will bother you less if you can rationally realize that something is not you and should be further away from the center of your circle.

It’s good to build a little bit of personal space around you on your self map. You need to push everything back a little bit. People with good mental control and emotional regulation understand when something is themselves and within their power and when it is external.  If you have placed anything or anyone too close to your center, at some point it may be a good ideas to start removing objects. It’s basically just letting go. It doesn’t mean the object or person can’t be important to your life, it just means that you renounce the mental strain of protecting that object as strongly as you do your own sense of self.

Your sense of self should be sacred to you—an iron pillar that holds up the foundation of your life. Remembering that others are truly ‘other’ sounds simple, but the subtle shift in thinking can really help take away the emotional baggage or turmoil that could otherwise have been triggered inside of you upon anything negative happening to these other people or things.

Refine your self circle, and everything becomes easier. Many problems become more obvious to resolve. You also realize that not all problems are yours to solve in the first place. A lot of times, we bear the crosses of others, and that emotionally drains us while also not really helping the people around us that we hold dearest.

Until next time, stay safe out there!

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