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Behind Your Mask – What is the Persona?

In this episode, we continue our series on mindset. We discuss the personality that we falsely believe we are and how we hide behind a “mask” to adapt socially to our environment.

  • What is the Persona’s role for the ego?
  • How the our Self-Worth is based on our conditioned social identity
  • Unleashing the weight of the mask and connecting to your soul

Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.

Behind the Mask – What is the Persona?

Transcript

Debra Maldonado  00:01

Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of Soul Sessions with Creative Mind. I’m Debra Berndt Maldonado.

Robert Maldonado  00:08

And I’m Dr. Robert Maldonado, and today we’re talking about the persona in our continuing series on mindset.

Debra Maldonado  00:16

Absolutely. We have a series where we’re talking a lot about how deep the unconscious is, and the collective unconscious, and Jung’s work. But we thought, for this series, let’s talk about what’s going on up here in the conscious mind, what we’re aware of. It’s really fascinating to understand how the conceptual mind works.

Robert Maldonado  00:40

It is a big topic. We decided to break it down into three components. Let’s look at the past early experiences, how they play into the development of the persona, then how do we deal with them in the present? How do we bring that past into the present moment? What does that have to do with the way we create our lives? Finally, we’ll talk about moving into the future, what we can do to move beyond the persona.

Debra Maldonado  01:19

Why don’t we start off with those of you who do not know, who haven’t listened to our podcasts — what is the persona? It’s a term that Jung coined back in his early days, but it comes from the Greek idea of the mask, where the actors would play different roles. You couldn’t see their faces, so they would wear these big massive like a smile or angry, and they would have this mask they would wear, and then also eventually to cover up their identities and play different roles. And in the early days, women weren’t allowed to perform. So they would have men play women’s roles. They had to wear the costumes to cover it up. But I love the idea of the mask because that’s really how we go out into the world, how we live our life. So how would you say we develop this persona, the concept of the persona, which is, Jung says, the social uniform, our clothing that we put out, we don’t go out into the world naked. It’s this clothing that we put on to interface with the world.

Robert Maldonado  02:36

I thought we’d start with a little social neuroscience because it sets the stage for why we need a persona. We know from current work in neuroscience that the mind, through its interaction with the brain, or through processing sensory information in the brain, creates this illusion that we live in the present moment. It gives us a stage to walk on to and to feel like I’m living right now, in this present moment, I have memories, I have hopes for the future. But the present moment becomes our central stage for acting in the moment. Number two, we live in and are localized in our head. Now, it’s an illusion because that’s not really what’s happening. But we feel ourselves in the ordinary sense of perception and the way we experience the world. We feel ourselves to be located inside our brain, in our head, right behind the eyes looking outward.

Debra Maldonado  03:54

We don’t think of ourselves in our hand or foot. Or even when we have a stomach ache, we feel like that stomach is a separate entity for most. But it’s the brain, we feel like our everything is here.

Robert Maldonado  04:10

Yes, everything is happening in our brain, we point to our head when we say—

Debra Maldonado  04:16

— I’m stressed. When I would ask people where they feel an emotion, a lot of times they would say their head because they were so disconnected from the rest of their body.

Robert Maldonado  04:27

The third element is that we have freewill or autonomy. Now that’s an illusion in the sense that we’re not taking conditioning into consideration.

Debra Maldonado  04:41

So we have freewill but we’re conditioned, so we don’t.

Robert Maldonado  04:46

No, no, what I’m saying is that the current neuroscience teaches us that there is no such thing as free will. Not for the ordinary person because everything you’re acting out, every action that you’re taking is essentially a reaction to past conditioning.

Debra Maldonado  05:07

So let me correct. I meant to say, we have the potential for freewill but the conditioning prevents us from having that.

Robert Maldonado  05:15

The perception of free will, the feeling that we have free will, that we’re making sure that we’re free to choose is an illusion. The fourth one is that there is a consistent self. But in this case, I mean, this is the language of neuroscience. What they mean is that there’s this I, the sense of I in our brain mind, that is consistent. In other words, when we wake up in the morning, it’s the same you that you experienced the day before, and the day before, and back then to the beginning of your life. That is an illusion. Anyone who has studied Buddhism or Vedanta can relate to that idea that there is no I, no ego to speak of. If we dissect the brain, we don’t find an I in there, we don’t find a center that says “This is the I.” It is a perceptual illusion that the brain creates for us. This takes us right into the persona, because that means that I needs a narrative, it needs a story. So every one of you listening has a narrative, life story, it’s a drama that defines what you’ve been through.

Debra Maldonado  06:53

Everyone thinks “I’m gonna write a memoir”, and I was like “Unless you’re famous, most people don’t want to read a memoir.” Something incredible happened to you but we’ve all had incredible lives and are incredibly interesting, but to ourselves only. Even if we remember, it is not exactly what actually happened. It’s our perception of what happens. The way we construct memory is not like truth. I’m actually going to go visit my family this week, and my sisters and my brother, and I’m sure we’re gonna have many different conversations about what we remember of how things were when we were kids. We always say “No, no, that never happened”, or “This happened first.” Because we all remember it a certain way from our perspective. So we have the story and the memory that we’re working with.

Robert Maldonado  07:44

That story back to the illusion that our brain mind creates is that it happened the way we experienced almost as if you asked anybody that was there, when you were a kid, they would recount the same story. But we know that’s not true. Like your situation with your family. If you ask them “Do you remember that incident?” They’ll have a completely different version of what happened and how it felt. It feels like, of course, my perception is a true way because I saw that, I was there.

Debra Maldonado  08:30

Can we tie that idea that we have this memory and consistency of us, the I experiencing all these things, then when we create a persona, it’s driven by that narrative, it’s driven by our assumption of what happened. Then this persona is like personality traits that you would say, like, I’m nice, I’m kind, I’m educated, I’m loving, I’m funny, I’m easy to get along with, I’m hard to get along with, I’m demanding or whatever that is, talented. This persona is what we want the world to believe we are. Even though inside we may doubt that the mask we’re putting on is real, some people really believe that they’re that great. But it’s very rare. That’s why they talk about the impostor syndrome. We have this concept of ourselves, and the part of us that we let the world see or we want the world to see is a little different.

Robert Maldonado  09:36

So going back to the experience of the family because we’re born into a family and the first adaptation that the individual child has to make is to adapt to the family. It makes sense. If you’re accepted by your parents and your siblings, then there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to survive because you’re part of the clan. Our brain is wired, predisposed already. We’re born with that initial innate drive to look at their faces and learn as much as we can, gather as much information as we can about if we’re being accepted or being rejected.

Debra Maldonado  10:30

One of the primary emotions you said is disgust. I was like “It’s interesting that that would be a primary emotion.” But that makes a lot of sense because disgusting, if we eat something that’s not good for us, when we were cave people, we didn’t have language, disgust would probably be a good defense mechanism to say the berries aren’t good here. But also “Your behavior is repelling.” That face of pulling away or a look like “Don’t do that, I disapprove”, we start to adapt just on facial expressions, adapt our persona to fit in with “I’m not gonna have that outburst again, because I’m getting dirty looks.” We can feel that in our social life. We had an event, and I was doing a pitch for one of our cook programs. And this one woman was looking at me, and I thought she was really mad at me. But she was just looking at me intently, but my mind perceived this like she was mad, and I shouldn’t be making this thing. We misperceive that as adults even, and we’ve tried to conform our persona too because it feels uncomfortable when someone is unhappy with us, because it’s almost, like you said, genetic or biological that we have to conform.

Robert Maldonado  11:57

It is biological, it is inherit in our biology to be accepted by our family first of all, to adapt. That’s the beginning of the persona right there that in adapting to our family situation, our family environment, we start to develop a repertoire of behaviors and attitudes that we know are acceptable to the family. That’s the beginning of that persona. It’s almost like the role that we’re playing in the family. There’s almost psychology behind that. People talk about the different roles that the family members take. Somebody plays the hero, somebody plays the fool. But we want to focus on the persona, meaning, what is that? What does it mean for the individual loss as we’re growing up, to have this persona, to have this social role that we start to play? Because as we go out into the world, then we’re going to make different adaptations. Because now it’s not about just adapting to the family. As soon as we step outside the door, there’s a whole bigger world of peers, of teachers, of clergy.

Debra Maldonado  13:29

Let me ask you a question. I noticed over the years of working with so many people that some people have a more fixed persona, there’s just a really set, hardcore persona, they’re absolutely the nicest person in the world or the toughest person in the world. And then there’s these other people that are kind of chameleons, where they conform and they can move. Is one better than the other, someone who’s more able to conform? Because I find that the people that aren’t as hard core, very set in their persona, have a fixed persona, I would say, and they’re more flexible, the flexible people have a lack of identity, they’re basically living all for the group instead of— and conforming to every group, they don’t have that powerful presence. That’s what I’ve experienced is that they have a hard time doing Shadow Work, because they have so many different roles that they play that it’s hard for them to identify who they really are defaulted by. Does that make sense?

Robert Maldonado  14:35

It’s a good question because if we’re saying that the persona is a social role that we’re playing, then what is there to be confident about? It’s almost better to be insecure and to be doubting and to be open to “Maybe I’m not that great.” Or “Maybe I don’t know who I am.” Or “Maybe this role that I’m playing is just this role.” That’s where the impostor syndrome comes from. You start to get a sense that this is just the role I’m playing, I seem to put it on, when I’m in a certain situation. My mind brain knows exactly what to do. And I just go along with it but I know I’m faking it in a sense.

Debra Maldonado  15:27

We all know that because when we see someone that we really wish we could smack across the face or yell at them, because they’ve been mean to us, we act pleasant because we don’t want to cause a fight. And we just go “It’s so good to see you”, even though it’s not good to see them. You put on that face, you pretend that you’re someone else, the great pretender. The persona is really that pretend self, like a false personality that we prop up. It’s really designed to keep people from getting inside, see how you really feel, and survive in the world. To fit in, but also hide your true feelings in a way.

Robert Maldonado  16:14

This is where Jung says there’s nothing wrong with creating a good persona. The mistake most of us make is that we start to believe we are that social role, we start to identify with our persona in essence, with the role that we’re playing.

Debra Maldonado  16:32

Another question. When people take a personality test, would you say that was representing their persona or their ego, their internal personality or more their persona, or both?

Robert Maldonado  16:47

I would say, it depends on how they measure it but usually those questionnaires, what they’re measuring is the self concept, how they see themselves and how they want to be perceived by others.

Debra Maldonado  17:02

Since you take the test yourself, you’re rating yourself on things that maybe other people would see outside of you differently. So you’re reading your own self concept basically, which is not really who you are. So it’s really not you, so when people think about this type or something and they get really hooked into it, there’s so many different personality tests that people use, and then they live their life by that, that’s really limiting in a way because that would say that I am this persona, and there’s no other potential for me. It locks them in.

Robert Maldonado  17:43

I think we could do a whole podcast on personality tests and measures, because it’s such an interesting topic. But if we just follow the thread of the persona now, from that early beginning, that adaptation that we go through with a family and then with the schools and society, we carry that into the present. If we never do any work, if we never examine that persona that we’re playing, and we overidentify with it, why we think “I am this persona, the best I can do is polish up this persona or mask that I’m wearing”, then we start to bring it into the present moment. What that means is that if we go back to the neuroscience, what those early experiences teach our brain is what to pay attention to and how to interpret the data that comes in through our senses. So the attention that we’re paying to things comes from that early experience of the persona. Then the way we interpret the life situations that we experience in the moment, in the present has to do with that persona as well.

Debra Maldonado  19:03

So that self concept of who we are, and then who we want to be in the world is driven by that.

Robert Maldonado  19:11

That’s right. This goes back to Freud, Freud called this the repetition compulsion, we have this compulsion to repeat the same patterns. Some people say, “It feels like this is familiar to me. So even if it was maladaptive or didn’t serve our purposes, it helped me survive in that situation in the past and my family situation. Therefore, it feels comfortable to me replaying it over and over again.” You see this in relationships especially. You worked in relationships for a long time, people tend to be comfortable with reproducing their familial situations in their current relationships.

Debra Maldonado  20:04

If you think about it, if you love your father, even though if you had a contemptuous relationship with him, you still love him. You feel this security and unconscious connection. You’ll feel that with the other person. I’ve heard this before too. We match up like puzzle pieces with not only romantic, but every relationship. They’re showing us another aspect of ourselves and how we relate. But remember that we’re not an island, that other person will pull out different aspects of our persona. So when I’m around someone who is more quiet and easygoing, I can be more present and more strong. And then when I’m around someone who has a very strong personality, I noticed I tend to back down a little bit like I don’t want to fight. I always found that very peculiar, sometimes I could play the leadership role in the past. And other times I would sit back. My persona would change based on the environment I was in, that would be my neuroscientific brain looking at the world saying “Do this now, you can do this now.” This happens automatically. And then our personality that we express in our life is not really true. It’s basically kind of false or limiting. True but kind of limiting concept of ourselves.

Robert Maldonado  21:36

It gets into that question of what is real and what is projection. But in essence, that’s the wrong question to ask. The right question is, if I am creating my own meaning, how do I get at the control of that mechanism, because that’s the only way we experience the world. In other words, there is no external reality. That’s true for everyone. The only way and the only thing we have access to is our own subjective experience.

Debra Maldonado  22:12

It’s so amazing. We think that everything is so fixed and objective. And our life is really just our own. Like you said, we developed our own story in the past. Now we’re in the present and we’re retrieving old data. And we’re repeating old data, because it’s safe and familiar. That’s where we piece together meaning in a way, but we don’t realize that we assume that’s the way it is versus it’s just the way we are conditioned to be.

Robert Maldonado  22:45

Jung thought about this process to free our mind from the compulsion to repeat the pattern, to repeat the past. In essence, he called that individuation. Individuation allows us to break free of that compulsion to repeat the past.

Debra Maldonado  23:08

And the self concept can evolve.

Robert Maldonado  23:12

Yes, because if the persona is a role that we’re playing, that means there must be a true self behind that. Who’s the actor? Who’s the real actor? When the play’s over and they take off their mask, who’s behind that mask?

Debra Maldonado  23:31

Like the Wizard of Oz was great and powerful, and the nice little man who’s running the controls in the back, that’s really our true personality. Jung had said that our shadow, which is the opposite of the persona, the part that we repress, or we don’t express in our life, is more our true self than the persona. When I read that, I was like “Wow, that is interesting.” Because there’s aspects of the shadow that are really authentic, that we aren’t allowed to express because of social. And the thing is, it’s so weird, we think the whole world has these rules that we’re supposed to follow, and that our parents and the people around us, authority figures, had designed a world, these are the rules and this is how you act and this is how you’re liked. We just blindly follow from generation to generation how to be and really the evolution of ourselves as humans is to wake up from that repeating from not only our lifetime, but what our ancestors have taught us how to be, we can really change the world and change the concept of what a human is. Then when you have children, they’ll have a different set of rules that we follow. It it’s not as rigid or not as unconscious.

Robert Maldonado  24:58

If you understand these concepts, then you start to see what is this? Let’s say the way we play our society, we’re acting as if we are individuals making free choices. But the reality is that we’re not. We’re acting out of past experiences, we’re acting out of these intergenerational patterns that have been passed down to us, the individual does not exist the way we think we do. As persona anyway.

Debra Maldonado  25:38

I was thinking about this when we were going to do this call. It’s as if we imagine who we are, we were using our imagination as children to piece together who we are. We create this character in our mind that is like writing a character in a novel. Who is this character? What do they like? What’s their backstory. We construct our own self concept. We think it’s based on something real and solid, but it’s just part of our imagination. So if we can create that out of our imagination, then really, truly, we’re free to become more our true self. There’s one stopping us from doing that.

Robert Maldonado  26:20

Except ourselves. It’s doubly hard because we know our own fears and our own passwords, and everything to our own mind. In other words, we know what scares us and we know how to keep that at bay. What scares us we can say is the shadow, it is the thing or the set of things, emotions, patterns of thought, personality traits, that we say “If I show this to the world, I will be rejected.” And so we hide it.

Debra Maldonado  27:06

A perfectionist persona would have chaos in their shadow or a mess. Someone who’s creative, who wants freedom and not want to have any kind of accountability, in their shadow is someone who’s very rigid and very structured. What the goal is, why are you afraid of that? Why are you afraid of structure? It’s okay to be creative. It’s okay to be any personality, there’s nothing right or wrong about any of them. But why is it, what are we pushing away? Why is that such a threat? Do we not feel like we’re going to be accepted? Like someone who’s a goth person, everyone else in their family is Christian, very Brady bunchy looking, very clean and conservative. And they got the one child who is just the rebel. She’s basically rejecting that conservatism. We think that she’s being an individual, which is very actually brave, to break away, but you’re doing it in order to push away something else. So it’s not really free choice, you’re doing it to compensate or rebel against something. When we talk about creating your true self, it’s not about rebelling or transforming into something. That’s the opposite. I’m going to be a chaotic person now. It’s about why it stopped pushing that away, so now we can act at a choice.

Robert Maldonado  28:40

So we see from the beginning that we’re conditioned by early family experiences. In order to adapt, we have to develop this persona, our role that we identify with, that takes us into the present moment. But if we don’t understand what it is, we over identify with it. We’re bringing those condition patterns then into the present moment. Now, the question then arises, how do I free myself from that? Is there a way to free ourselves?

Debra Maldonado  29:18

Is the answer “Yes”, Rob, please tell us?

Robert Maldonado  29:20

The answer is the Shadow Work. As we start to look at “what have I pushed away to adapt?”, we start to integrate the shadow element, meaning all those things that we misidentified with or dis-identified with, we said “That’s not me”, now become part of our awareness.

Debra Maldonado  29:43

It’s like forgotten self, a part of ourselves that we abandon, a part of ourselves that we disowned. We have to bring it back into the fold. Because you can’t be one, you can’t be nice without having an aspect of not being mean, there’s always opposites. So you want to have to integrate both. The true personality would be, say, you do the Shadow Work. How would you describe that? Is there a true personality or do we just create a better persona? We get that question a lot.

Robert Maldonado  30:20

The answer is like this. As you integrate the shadow, you’re more complete. So Jung causes the true personality, that it’s not just what you’re presenting to the world and what you’re identifying with as what’s acceptable to society, and you’re saying “That’s who I am.” You’re also including the things that were not adaptable in your past. And you’re saying “I am those things as well, the opposite of what I’ve been projecting outward, I am also those things.” That creates a more wholesome, whole sense of self. That’s the true personality. You start to act in a much different way. Because now you’re more complete, you’re not split against yourself.

Debra Maldonado  31:15

Some of us have had the gene of being the beautiful child, being the football star, or the cheerleader young in life. A lot of people would say “Wow, that’s a fortunate DNA mixture, you got everything going.” But I noticed that as these people got older, they’re struggling. They’re so attached to that persona, that they end up when they get aging, or they’re not the popular one in the group anymore. It’s really hard for them. That’s where we see that that was just a persona. That’s not who we are. We’re always changing, our body’s changing, we get older, we change careers, we grow as people by default. If we just hang on to that rigid persona and think “I always have to be the best in the group, I have to be number one”, that’s going to end up causing a lot of misery. Then you’re so attached to other people giving you the authority versus having your own authority internally of saying “If I’m the last in the class, or first in the class, I’m still great. I’m still me”, that non-attachment.

Robert Maldonado  32:30

It’s almost a tragedy when people are successful at the persona, because now they think “I’ve got it in me. Why do I change if things are working for me, I’m getting the adoration, I’m getting the success, I have the relationships” or whatever. But that’s not the aim of life, the aim of life is to integrate the shadow. In other words, to move towards the unknown. It’s very uncomfortable for people. There’s a reason we push those things into the shadow, and Jung says the reason is that it threatens the persona that we’ve created. In other words, if we’re successful keeping away the things that threaten our persona, we’re locking ourselves in tighter into that role. And we’re thinking “I got it”, when in reality, we’re going to hit that brick wall at some point in our life, and usually it’s going to be too late.

Debra Maldonado  33:34

On the opposite end of that, if you were the nerd like I was in school, I was the smartest one but I was the nerdiest, I wasn’t cool. I remember when I met you, you said “Were you nerdy in school?” I used to be ashamed of that. I used to hide that and tried to compensate in my twenties, be fun Debbie and hide that I was smart and hide that I was a little more intellectual and just wanted to be in the popular crowd. I realized that I really loved that nerdiness of myself. We can have a persona that we identify with because it’s who we fell into. Especially in school, we have all the labels and the groups, we had the burnouts, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the brainiacs, the drama people, everyone had their little groups. We end up thinking that’s who we are. That limits us as well to go for being the leader or being the popular one because we just don’t identify with it. We secretly want to be there but then we don’t and so we have a hard time being in the limelight because we feel we’re not used to it. We feel that people are going to make fun of us like they did at school. All of this stuff, whatever persona you created, or this concept of yourself, you’re still trying, it’s really not who you are.

Robert Maldonado  35:10

What I’ve seen over the years is people that do have these difficult childhoods and adolescent years, they have an advantage in working through their shadow, because they know the fakeness of the persona, they can see through it. They’re more comfortable in looking at their shadow, understanding “I have a little streak of rebellion. I have a little streak of badness and all that”, and coming to terms with it.

Debra Maldonado  35:48

A cheerleader would have a hard time looking at her faults because her whole life has been propped up by the princess, she has to be the princess. So they struggle with it. When we say true personality, it’s not your default, the things you love about yourself or your true personality. Your true personality is a part of you that’s basically watching yourself play this role in the world and be able to act without attachment. How would you describe it?

Robert Maldonado  36:21

That’s a bigger question about the nature of consciousness in the mind. Let’s stick to the persona, because it’s interesting just to consider, once we understand we’re not the social role that we’ve been playing, there is the shadow content that we push away, we start to integrate, meaning we start to understand “I am playing a social role. I know I’m not only the things that I want others to believe I am, I have this other part of me, that I’m starting to let in and I’m starting to become aware of, to integrate, that gives us a different sense of ourselves in the world.” That is what Jung called the true personality, the more complete realistic sense of ourselves in the world, not only playing the role of the acceptable adaptable persona, but showing up as more of a real person that understands both good and evil.

Debra Maldonado  37:37

Let’s say if someone takes a personality test for their persona before they do Shadow Work, they get their type or whatever, there’s different, like Myers, Briggs, enneagram, and all this. Then they do the Shadow Work, does their persona change? I know for our personality tests that we do based on the archetypes, our clients, when they take the test, even two months later, their results change because they’ve changed so much. Is it the same thing with those other tests? I mean, from the concept or the theory, it would make sense that their personality could change, or they could take the test. Their self concept changes so much that they would answer the questions differently.

Robert Maldonado  38:27

That’s the whole basis of psychotherapy and coaching, and all the helping professions is that people can change. Otherwise why would you bother to spend time helping them through things?

Debra Maldonado  38:43

But aren’t the personality tests really driven to have you understand yourself better? That’s the way you can navigate the world versus you can change the presupposition. I think that you can change it. I think that everything is consciousness, this self concept is not objective, it’s subjective. If you take a test and you’re in a bad mood, or you’re stressed out, you’ll have a different result than if you take it when you’re calm, things are going well in your life or something flowed. I would say that it probably would change. It may even change just if you haven’t done any work, there’s a different change of attitude. Or after you’ve done your shadow work, you may see that you’re integrating a lot of the— we’d say dormant aspects of your personality that you didn’t realize were there. It is a self test. You’re making your own self assessment. The way you conceive of yourself actually can transform, and then the test results would reflect that.

Robert Maldonado  39:52

There is a debate about what is personality? Is it a state of mind, like you’re describing it as a state that sometimes you’re happy. Or is it a trait? Something that is kind of biologically hardwired.

Debra Maldonado  40:11

So that’s the question, I guess. Is it biologically hardwired? And if it is, can that even change?

Robert Maldonado  40:20

Jung would say, absolutely. And Jung would say individuation is approaching that biologically hardwired personality. That’s what you’re trying to change. If you only change the state, then you’re not really changing much. You just do the play and playing at it. Almost like at the persona level.

Debra Maldonado  40:47

You’re putting on another act. I remember when I first started doing personal development for love, they would say “Be confident when you go on a date, don’t ask these questions. These are the bad mistakes you make”, and how to write your profile. It’s basically creating a persona to attract. Even with coaches, they have to come up with their personality brand, and their style, and their images, and their pictures. It’s that persona, what they want to attract. So the question is, is that who you really are? Actually our upcoming course that we’re doing, we’re going to have you do your personality type. And how it matches how you express yourself to your clients. That’s going to be a really cool part. A little plug there, coming soon. But that’s really the question. I always struggled with “Okay, I’m a Leo, am I fixed? Am I stuck with this biological conditioning? Or can I transcend it?” And Jung would say yes.

Robert Maldonado  41:49

Absolutely. It’s the whole emphasis of individuation to be able to transcend that conditioned self. Condition includes our biology, because we know now from epigenetics and intergenerational studies, a lot of the behaviors that we exhibit really come from past generations. They’re not even in our personal ones, we’re inheriting these behaviors, these states of mind.

Debra Maldonado  42:23

I worry a lot, and I know I inherited that from my folks, my parents. Can I change that? Can I transform that? Am I stuck being a worrywart all the time? And no, that’s actually— I think we have almost like a spectrum of personality, like we have every personality trait in us, some we express, some we repress. And then there’s an extreme in a level and we can move the levers down: more extroverted, more introverted, more emotional, less emotional, more intellectual, more feeling, all the different types that we are, we can change and evolve. The bottom line, you’re saying, is that we want to have free will, ultimately, we want to choose our experience versus feel like we’re stuck in it.

Robert Maldonado  43:15

And the main message of understanding the persona is to understand that you are not your persona. You have a persona, just like you have a body, and it’s useful, but only up to a certain point. If you want to experience deeper dimensions of the psyche, you have to integrate the shadow. That shadow then unlocks the door into the deeper parts of your psyche.

Debra Maldonado  43:42

The shadow is the first step but you have to go through it. As Jung would say, it’s a narrow passage, it feels very tight to get through it, because your ego’s always fighting “Don’t go there, don’t go there.” But he said, on the other side there’s all this freedom. There’s no up or down, no left or right, no good or bad. It’s that kind of concept that we talked about in yoga philosophy, that non dual concept of there’s openness and there’s freedom. And that’s really what we want to get at. We’re going to be talking— I can’t remember what’s next week, I always forget to look it up the week before. But we’re going to continue our series on mindset next week. We are so glad to have you here with us. Hope you enjoyed it. Please subscribe below on our YouTube channel. Make sure you leave a great or honest review of our podcast on Spotify, or on iTunes. We love a review that helps us get more listeners and more people exposed to this knowledge. I’m just excited to see what next week brings. How about you, Rob?

Robert Maldonado  44:55

Same here. Thanks for watching.

Debra Maldonado  44:57

Take care. Bye bye.

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