Who are you?
Like me, you have a name, you know the colour of your eyes, you probably remember your phone number, perhaps you can tell me how many children you have.
There are many facts, I’m sure, that you can tell me about you. Facts that - you think - define you, that can tell me who you are, and, somehow, reassure you of who you are.
But this is not who you are, nor who I am. At least not in a profound, absolute sense. Who are you? is one of the most difficult questions to answer.
Connecting to who we are and embracing that individual, in a whole, can be thought as a process of self-realization and self-discovery. This idea dates back to ancient times and is often related to the ancient symbol of the yin and yang, two halves that together complete wholeness.
There are two energies, opposite and complementary, within ourselves. The ancients called them feminine and masculine, while in more recent times, the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Carl Gustav Jung, named them anima and animus. Anima refers to the feminine energy present in the male and animus is the masculine energy present in the female.
Each energy carries fundamental elements that the individual requires; the feminine energy shows intuition, calmness, creativity and ability to express emotions, while the masculine energy is represented by logic, energy of action, determination and competitiveness.
Why do we have them and what do we need them for?
I would like to invite you to think about the word wholeness and try to ask yourself how you, as an individual, can feel whole.
Put it simply, in both Taoism and Jungian theory, in order to be whole we need both masculine and feminine energy and these principles must be in balance for us to achieve a state of harmony and happiness.
We must recognise, embrace and connect with the unconscious energy within ourselves to reach balance, as not encountering our inner animus or anima will limit our development of self-awareness.
An unbalanced self has an excess of feminine or masculine, while having a deficiency of feminine or masculine; such dynamic can trigger deconstructive behaviours and incapacity to connect with the true self. For instance, due to the ‘macho’ cliche that society imposes on a man, he tends to suppress his inner feminine energy and distrust his own emotions; likewise, a woman who is constantly battling for her own rights within a male focused society, is forced to rely especially on her masculine energy, abandoning, as a result, her intuitive and creative ability, so deeply rooted in her femininity.
It must be noted, though, that this balance is not a 50-50 ratio; it’s not absolute and the same balance doesn’t apply to all of us. This balance is profoundly personal, isn’t static and has no rules.
It is, therefore, essential to listen to our inner self, let it guide us and tell us what it needs. Meditation, which guides us through self-awareness, is a powerful way to get in touch with our inner self and learn to understand how to communicate with our unconscious anima or animus. And, ultimately, to reach our uniqueness, becoming one’s own self.