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Astra Niedra
Self Awareness is important For Better Relationships

We all conduct relationships with other people using our personality. Our personality, however, is made up of various parts, which can be called subpersonalities or selves. So when we relate with others there are a number of different selves involved. This is why relationships are never simple or easy. It is rather like there are two families or two groups relating, and not just two people.

This is why sometimes we feel caring towards our partner and at other times we want to be cared for; it is why sometimes we admire a quality in our partner and at other times we see that same quality as a fault; and it is why sometimes a particular action our our partner takes amuses us yet at other times that same action irritates us.

The selves which constitute our psyches include parental selves, child selves, rational selves, emotional selves and many more. Usually we are aware of only some of them, and these are the ones that we identify with, those aspects of our personality that we all call 'me' or 'I'. At different times during the day, your sense of 'I', your identity, will be a different self. At work you might be an organised business self who is rational and impersonal, and with your children you might be a nurturing parent who is more warm and personal.

A way of labelling these selves (originated by Drs Hal and Sidra Stone) is to call the ones we identify with our primary selves. We also have selves that we have repressed, which are our disowned selves. These disowned selves affect our actions, feelings and relationships as much as our primary selves do. In fact, they also strongly influence what kind of people we get into relationships with.

Once you understand that you have a number of primary and disowned selves, you will understand why relationships are so complex. And once you get to know who your primary and disowned selves are and why they behave the way they do, you will be able to dramatically improve your relationships.

How do you know who your primary and disowned selves are? The qualities that you admire excessively or overvalue in others, and those qualities that you really judge in others, give you a good indication of who your disowned selves are.

Astra Niedra

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