This is my Insights Discovery profile graphs page ( currently Apr 2021). Many of you will have experienced Discovery through me in my work and as a Licensed Practitioner. If not, where have you been?
Jung introduced us to the concepts around Self and Shadow and Persona. In Discovery terms the Conscious Persona is that version of ourselves which we choose to display to the world around us. It is influenced by who we believe we are, who we wish to be, who we are expected to be (determined by the roles we play) and HOW we are expected to behave (society in general). For example we expect our Doctors and Nurses to display Empathy and care. And society expects us to act and behave in certain ways..for example don’t randomly hug people in a crowded lift.
Normally, for most of us, our Conscious Persona plays a large part of our lives. It is active as we emerge each day into the world as a partner, a parent, a commuter , a shopper, a colleague etc etc. Our daily interactions allowing our Conscious Persona plenty of exercise.
Lockdown has been a very challenging time for many people. It has caged the Conscious Persona, restricting its interaction with others, limiting its time in the outside world and almost putting it on standby mode. We have simply found less need for it as our interactions have shrunk. The who we NEED to be has left the building.
Consider this. During early lockdown the ZOOM culture soared. We would chat via tiny screens trying to maintain our Conscious Persona. And how long before we realised we didn’t have to dress from the waist down anymore? We could wear a shirt and tie AND shorts! And how many beards appeared? Why shave?
And soon we even ditched the shirt and tie..and would appear in a t-shirt or even in gym kit having just “done a Joe Wicks”. And how we laughed at those who still dressed for Zoom.
And remember when we first started to get the home shopping deliveries? When the driver arrived we would be dressed, the hall organised with boxes and bags to take the delivery, the conversation light but polite. And now? We are on first name terms, we chat about everything and anything with them, we are in our dressing gowns and slippers and vaguely aware of the pile of shopping behind us as we empty the delivery boxes through our legs.
This is a sign that our Less Conscious self is emerging. The side of us where we give less thought to our behaviours and where our reactive and instinctive self starts to play a larger role. The norms of society behaviour gone, the reduction in our required role expectations gone, the realisation that our aspirational self might be on the back burner all allow the Less Conscious to play a larger role. We stop engaging our “how am I showing up to others?” filters.
My Less Conscious self is a very quiet, thoughtful, isolated self. I go very much into my head. I switch off from interactions. This does not sit well with my wife and business partner Rachel for her extraverted preferences are in constant need of interaction and conversation. And when I do talk to people I find it a struggle to stay “out of my head” and can find I have stopped listening and start a new subject.
I am not being rude. I am not being distracted. I am simply not being that version of myself I have for years chosen to be. And its quite a shock when I realise it!
Please be aware that this my or may not have happened to you, but it will have happened to some of you and to some of those around you. When we return to each other as family, friends, colleagues, clients, customers..stay kind, as some may still be trying to remember that Conscious version of themselves as they emerge blinking into the light of the life we used to live.