The Mental Self can be likened to a large and powerful sledgehammer. This sledgehammer is a perfect tool for pounding nails and knocking out two-by-fours. Because it is so capable, and because we live in a very intellectually validating culture, we ask this sledgehammer to do jobs it’s not suited for. Your Mental Self (Mendelson) is very eager and willing to do what it is asked. He will sometimes create a rationale for why his is the right method. For example, if you ask the sledgehammer to frost a cake, it will think it’s doing a great job and try to convince you of it. The cake, however, isn’t going to look or taste appetizing. Cool and rational, logical and sensible, Mendelson is certain he can do any task at hand and if the result is less than optimal, it must be because of an external problem. It was served too late in the party, no one likes chocolate, and the pan wasn’t the right shape.
This attitude is bred into him through generations of belief patterns. This can really impact the other two Selves and cause great confusion, discomfort and disharmony. If your Mental Self muscles his way into projects or is invited to participate at a level that is over his head (pun intended), he may take control and lead the proceedings. Your Emotional Self is denied her unbridled joy and enthusiasm and your Physical Self may suffer pain from neglect. Many times your Mental Self will ignore the other Selves until the entire system is threatened by a breakdown or broken body through “accident” or illness. Perhaps you know someone who allows their Mental Self to dominate their life until they are in tremendous pain. Something must change or the entire system suffers. Many people, when they contract a life-threatening disease, receive great insights and change the patterns of their lives. Some of them survive the experience.
Bea was married to George for just a short time before they began having babies. They were devout Catholics and had six children very close together. George was unhappy in his low paying job and drank heavily. Many nights he would return home after midnight and take his frustrations out on Bea by pushing her against walls and beating her up.
Over twelve years, Bea received many broken bones and bruises. Bea always rationalized his behavior and made excuses for his foul mood. “George is just having a temporary set-back. He’s depressed. He really is a good person.” Bea had many logical reasons to stay married. “It would break my mother’s heart if I left George. The church does not sanction divorce. The kids need a father.” George continued to beat her, eventually in the presence of the children. Early one morning he returned, drunk as usual, and not only slapped Bea, but he began threatening the eldest daughter. It was then that Bea’s Mental Self could find no other logical reason to stay. She had reached the darkest level of emotional and physical pain in her life. She was willing to tolerate her own pain, but it wasn’t until her daughter became the recipient of George’s abuse that Bea was able to pull her Selves together and change the situation. It finally became obvious that her Mental Self didn’t have a clue about how to handle this situation.
Your Mental Self’s job description includes:
- Takes external information and processes it to make logical, rational sense according to information already stored in its experience-banks.
- Language. The Mental Self can verbally communicate its needs, interpretations and perceptions.
- Processes the symbols that evolve into writing, reading and mathematics.
- The analyzer. Loves to figure things out, prove theories and fix problems.
In addition to recognizing your Mental Self and personifying him, you can encourage him to develop his strengths by offering him the following:
- Recognize and write down jobs that he is good at. Validate him, verbally, for his fine work in his areas of expertise.
- Give him specific jobs to do such as balancing the checkbook, reading maps and making to-do lists. Make this a conscious act and intentionally engage your Mental Self.
- Recognize when he has stepped into the realm of controlling the emotions and body. Simply being aware of current patterns of mental involvement will assist in balancing Mendelson’s enthusiasm and return him to only those areas in which he is proficient.
- When embarking on an activity that involves only the Emotional Body (an intimate moment with a lover, meditating) or Physical Body (digging the garden, washing the car), ask your Mental Self to wait outside until there is work for him to do. You could also visualize an analyzer shut-off switch in the Center of Your Head. You might find yourself turning it off many times at the beginning. That’s okay. Beginning to use this tool is similar to working out at the gym. You are developing a muscle you haven’t used much until now. Don’t expect it to lift 150 pounds at the first attempt.
- Notice people around you who are dominated by their Mental Selves and how they’re experiencing their lives because of it. Are they emotionally at ease? Are they happy and healthy?
In Part 4 – The Spiritual Self
By Jim Self and Roxane Burnett
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