Archetypes are tools that can be used to develop self-awareness. Archetypes are universal patterns of behaviour that manifest as roles that we play. According to Caroline Myss (2001) we all share four roles. They are the Child, Victim, Prostitute and Saboteur. These roles can influence our mindset. Our mindset can influence the roles we play. We slip in and out of a them without thinking, without self-awareness.
Therefore, every role we play, the thoughts we have, the emotions we experience, the words that we speak and the actions that we take may be productive or unproductive. How well we play our roles may depend on the awareness of our own mindset and the impact that a productive or unproductive mindset can have on the world around us. Here are the four mindsets we need to be aware of if we want to develop self-awareness.
Challenge: Responsible vs Irresponsible
A productive Child mindset knows when to be serious and when to lighten up. When to grow up but not lose our sense of wonder, humour and curiosity. To do this we can:
- Enjoy ourselves rather than being serious all the time
- Be resilient rather than rigid
- Be strong enough to learn from experience rather than avoiding the issue
- Be dependable rather than unreliable
Challenge: Protect vs Endanger
A productive Victim mindset knows when to draw the line, to be pro-active and when to be vulnerable. To do this we can:
- Set and maintain our personal boundaries rather than feeling used.
- Stand-up for ourselves rather than let ourselves down.
- Move on rather than dwell too long in self-pity
- Safeguard rather than jeopardise ourselves or others
Challenge: Ethical vs Unethical
A productive Prostitute mindset knows when to compromise and when to stand firm. To do this we can:
- Be loyal to our values rather than compromising our integrity
- Negotiate a win/win deal for all rather than selling out ourselves or others
- Be true to ourselves and others rather than losing trust
- Maintain our personal honour rather than lose our dignity
Challenge: Constructive vs Destructive
A productive Saboteur mindset knows when to listen to the critics (and the inner critic) and when to listen to inner guidance. To do this we can:
- Be objective rather than biased
- Supervise our thoughts, words and actions rather than overlook them
- Be guided by our conscience rather than shutting it down
- Be productive rather than unproductive or counterproductive.
How do we know if the voice in our head is the inner critic or the inner guide? We need to ask: Is what I am about to say or do responsible or irresponsible? Will it protect or endanger myself or others? Is it ethical or unethical? Is it constructive or destructive?
We can develop and improve our self-awareness by asking these four simple questions.
Myss, C 2001, Sacred contracts: Awakening your divine potential, Harmony Books, New York.