In this issue ~~
Over the last couple of decades, psychology has shown us that each of us has many "voices" within us. That may conjure up the image of "Sybil," where Sally Field played a woman with multiple personalities. For most of us, though, these "sub-personalities" are smoothly integrated. They function like an orchestra, with each voice chiming in when called upon by the situation.
Through the work of John Bradshaw and others, we've become aware of some of these parts, such as the Inner Child and the Inner Critic. The part I'd like to address here is the Inner Rebel. The Rebel may show up when things are not going your way, when you're feeling bored or trapped, or when you feel you're the victim of an injustice.
The Inner Rebel can get you in trouble, acting up like a petulant teenager when it doesn't get its way. It may come out as, "Nobody's going to tell me what to do." It may talk back to the boss or lash out at someone you care about. The release of pent-up energy may feel good at the time, but it can damage a relationship or cost you your job.
The Rebel can also be a powerful, positive part of you. It can be the part that refuses to accept the status quo or to settle for less than it knows is possible. It can be the part that refuses to be told that you can't follow your dreams. It can be the vehicle for your unique creative voice.
We want to nurture that positive aspect of the Rebel, but we also need to accept that it comes with a "dark" side. We can make friends with it by acknowledging and addressing its concerns: It hates being stuck in drudgery or feeling a loss of freedom, and it reacts (sometimes without thinking) to the residue of negative childhood experiences that left us feeling enraged and powerless.
You may need to appease the Rebel by giving it a reward for completing an unpleasant, but necessary task that it doesn't want to do, or even by just acknowledging that it's not happy. The rebelliousness may also be a red flag that you're ignoring something you need – something you're denying yourself because of an outmoded belief or a constricting situation you need to leave.
The trick with the Rebel is to rebel for something, not just against. The Rebel without a cause is just lashing out because it feels trapped or disempowered. A Rebel with a cause can be a powerful force for good, not only in your life, but in others'.
Many great artists were considered rebels in their time. Let your Inner Rebel empower you to stand up for your creative ideas and not let anyone deter you from your vision. Make it your ally, and let it give you the courage to be the unique individual and artist you are, wherever or however that artistry is expressed.
For the next week, notice when your Inner Rebel comes out. Write down 3 ways that it’s coming out positively and 3 ways that it’s coming out recklessly. With the latter, look at what the Rebel is asking for and how you might work with it to avoid it coming out in ways that will harm you or your relationships.
“Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere.”
“He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a real writer is a rebel who never stops.”
“Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is.”
“A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”
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