Which One of You is in Charge of Your Life?


florida with leora 056How often do you find yourself in great conflict with two parts of yourself?
The conflict may be about whether you should eat that chocolate cake, stay up or go to sleep early, turn off the TV and go pay the bills, keep your mouth shut and not answer your partner’s snide remark, or thousands of other possibilities.  It is as if there are two entities living inside you. Some refer to them as our good and evil natures. Others refer to them as our higher and lower self; our child and adult; our animal and Spirit.  I prefer to call these two overarching forces that reside within us the Reactive Self and the Creative Self.

The Reactive Self, arising out of our animal/human aspect, has been the primary force driving human behavior. It is the entity behind our day to day perceptions, thoughts, emotions and actions.  As its name indicates, it is predominantly reactive and therefore, does not think before it acts.  It has deep ingrained and habitual patterns stemming back hundreds of millions of years.  Its central goal is survival. Its basic underlying drive is fear.  Consequently it is a major force behind most of the negative and destructive events in our individual and collective lives.

The Creative Self arises out of our human/Spirit aspect whose nature is compassionate, unifying and creative. Its chief objective is promoting the well being of Self and humanity as a whole. Because it is a relatively new force, it is subordinate to the Reactive Self in most situations in life. Yet with consciousness and will it has the power to override the reflexive habits of the Reactive self and replace them with creative and constructive responses.

Getting a deep understanding of how these two Selves emerge and operate can enable us to shift our locus of primary control from the Reactive to the Creative Self.  One powerful way you can train yourself to operate from your Creative Self more frequently is by developing a practice:  At different points during the day, when you are facing some internal conflict ask yourself, “Who do I want to take charge right now, my Reactive or Creative Self?”  The more often you choose your Creative Self, the more it will become second nature.

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2 Comments on “Which One of You is in Charge of Your Life?”

  • David Hersey
    28 June, 2010,

    I find it very difficult to be present to the conflict between the reactive and creative selves from moment to moment. Certainly there are times when I am aware that I am overriding my reactive nature and choosing more considered responses to situations, but I also become aware of many situations after the fact where I was not aware enough to make this choice. I can see that increasing awareness is the key to greater effectiveness.

  • ronit
    30 June, 2010,

    Exactly! If you appreciate that the Reactive Self has more power by virtue of being part of our brain for humdreds of years longer than the Creative Self, you begin to become more patient with yourself and recognize that it will take practice, a lot of practice, to rewire the brain to operate predominantly from the Creative Self. The basic elements to keep in mind are:
    1. Awareness
    2. Ability to see what its costs you to operate from your Reactive Self
    3. Desire to want to operate from your Creative Self
    4. Commitment to witness yourself and catch yourself reacting as often as you can
    5. Intercepting that reaction
    6, Replacing it with a Creative one
    7. Practice, practice, practice
    8. Be patient and kind with yourself and others

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