Halloween is my favorite holiday: I love dressing up in costume and seeing how everyone else dresses up. What is it about this activity that we find so enticing? I realize that as children, the main draw was going from house to house to get free candy. But now, as adults, that cannot be it! After all, with cash in my pocket and keys to the car, I could conceivably drive to the nearest CVS and buy a bag of the sugary stuff for myself! No, that’s not it.
In Imago theory, we posit that we come into the world as perfect, complete, vibrating balls of energy. If we receive messages from our caretakers which encourage our thinking, feeling, sensing, moving, being…then we remain relatively whole. If, however, our early messages are repressive (“stay still”, “don’t cry”, ” you’re not smart enough”, “I wish you’d been a boy”, “you were an accident”, etc.) , then certain parts of our wholeness are either shut down or exaggerated. We make these adaptations to our personalities in order to survive the family of origin. These “lost parts” are called the denied self, the lost self, the disowned self, or the “shadow” in Jungian terms.
In a recent training on Characterological Growth, the participants were asked to come to the workshop as their Lost Self. One woman who had been sexually molested as a child came dressed as a beautiful, sexy, powerful woman after years of having shut down her sexual self. One man came as a daredevil after a lifetime of “playing it safe”. I dressed as a goofy, silly, outrageous girl in response to parental messages about the importance of behaving within acceptable guidelines. Get the picture?
So, back to Halloween. Is it possible that we love Halloween because it offers us the possibility and the freedom to play with our Lost Selves; to dig deep into ourselves and bring out that missing part? I invite you to think back on your choice of costumes, this year and in years past. Perhaps, in your choice of playful disguises there is a kernel of information to help you see what you may have lost along the way. It’s never too late to grow into your perfect, complete wholeness!
I have the tools to help you heal the wounds of the past and experience your full potential as an individual and an intimate partner.