I’ve acquired an addiction recently.  And while I’ve never had cocaine, heroine, or any of their friends over, I’m going to go ahead and assume mine is just as addictive. What is this mysterious thing that has made me it’s slave?

I’ll tell you: My ideal self.

My ideal self. The “me” that I can be. The perfect Trystin.

What set this addiction from being a harmless pastime to a full-blown obsession was a task I received from my Life Coach last week.  The task: Write for 5 to 10 minutes in your journal every day as if you ARE your ideal self; as if you are and have everything you want to at this point in your life. The goal of the exercise is to make a person form a stronger attachment to their desires, making them seem all the more attainable. There’s also the aspect of manifesting your desires, but that’s a little more metaphysical than I’d like to go right now. (We’ll save THAT for later)

The exercise has the effect on me that it was supposed to; one that I’ve preached but never felt so strongly. Try it some time. You’ll love it.

It also succeeded in bringing to the foreground another idea that I have always spoken about but never put in writing or lived as deeply as I should: The YOU Network.

We each consist of a single self. That self is what we refer to as “me” or “I” (or by our names if we’ve got a case of the Elmo’s). It’s who we are. It’s what we are. But we are creatures of desire, of need, and these desires fall into categories that tend to separate the self into six pieces. These pieces include:

  1. The work self (Your job)
  2. The social self (Your friends/family)
  3. The health self (Your physical and emotional health)
  4. The extracurricular self (Your hobbies/interests)
  5. The romantic self (Your love life)
  6. The material self (Your belongings)

As these creatures of desire, we often have the tendency to want one of these so badly that others suffer. A new job. A better relationship with our mother. A book club that selects more than the latest John Patterson every month. Whatever it is, it’s SO easy for us to allow that one thing to stunt our growth or attention to the others. It’s a danger of seeking out the ideal self. It’s not the ideal health self…or the ideal material self…it’s the ideal self. Singular. If we ever want to find true happiness and balance, we’ll have to grow them ALL.

To take it to an extreme level, let’s say someone is ALL about satisfying the romantic self. It’s all they can think about. It consumes them. The pain, the fixation, is so deep that all they can do is think about it. They think so hard that it interferes with their work life and they get fired. It intereferes with their health life and they stop going to the gym. They don’t have the drive to engage in any of their hobbies either and just spend the day shuffling through online profiles for “the one”. Tell me: Who’s going to fall in love with an out-of-shape, jobless obsessive with no active interests? Exactly.

We are each a single entity, but our desires form a sort of network. A YOU Network. And only by maintaining a balance between all six pieces (and the mysterious seventh) can the ideal truly be reached.