[noun; ~ Pronunciation: /soo-per-ee-goh/]
- Definition: According to Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis, the superego is the part of our personality in which we have stored our conscience. I, however, thought it would be fun to use this term as a new way of describing the ultimate goal of a lifelong search for yourself, in which the superego equals the true you (basically, using the adjective “super” makes “ego” sound more positive. Plus, I figured “awesome-ego” was a little over the top).
“Every morning is a battle between the superego and the id, and I am a mere foot soldier with mud and a snooze button on her shield” – Catherynne M. Valente
A theory I believe in is that there’s three you-s: the one you really are, the one you show the world, and the perceptions others have of you. What makes us us is exactly all of that. We learn habits from our relatives and society and adjust to our surroundings and the norms we’ve been given, but we also have our own hopes, wishes and beliefs.
One reason why I like to travel is the differences in commonalities, because even just one border away lies a whole different culture. It’s mesmerizing, fascinating and strange at the same time. How come none of us are alike? Not even two people are the same!
I remember having friends over as a teenager and they remarked on the way things were done in our household, and vice versa. It’s funny.
What’s also funny is that I practically spent my entire life thus far searching for who I really am, while in fact it was there right in front of me all along. The true me is in everything I do, think, feel, and own. The same goes for you.
When I hopped on a plane to Reykjavik in 2011, I think part of me actually thought I’d literally find myself in Iceland. Just bump into her, or whatever. We’d go for a coffee and talk things over. I was under the same spell when I went to China a year later.
Like there’s a second me roaming the Earth and I have to find her to know who I am…
The truth is, I did find myself during those trips and every other journey I’ve been on. I found parts of me. I learned I am very capable of handling myself in a (small) group of strangers, and that people don’t immediately think the worst of me but actually find me humble and kind.
In China, I amazed myself by not killing off my extremely annoying fellow assistant panda keeper, and I learned I do really well in stressful situations (I got on the wrong bus with another China adventure friend, and while she was flipping out I was cool as ice and got us back safely – I always thought that was so not me!).
In Ireland, I found out I rock at reading maps! I do! And apparently I make people feel at home, as one of my Dublin friends confessed to me once. She literally said: “I talked about you with M, and we both think you are very kind and generous.”
But my superego didn’t manifest itself on vacations only. At home, I learned I do not run away from hardship, I set clear priorities, I am loyal, strong, honest, and hard-working, and I have zero-tolerance for bullsh*t. I learned this all by the choices I made in (tough) situations, and by observing my own feelings and thoughts.
The point is, stop looking outside for answers that lie on the inside. You can’t learn about your superego from others, only from yourself. Your experiences, thoughts, feelings, they all make up your inner you. Quit searching everywhere, take a break, and start listening to yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
We keep learning, we keep moving through new situations each day, and we keep adding to our superego.
Who are you really? Take a look at your reflection in the mirror. Does it show who you are on the inside? Mine does. A little more every day.