The Other Self

There were many times I question if it’s possible that there’s another personality lurking inside me that I’m not conscious about. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about anything really serious here. Just a random thought that popped up in my mind in this ridiculously warm evening and would love to share my thoughts here.

Now, have you ever wonder if there’s this other self within you? Are you aware of your other self?

We’ve seen this, or at least I did, in many anime. A character battling another personality that resides within himself or herself. Bleach has the best example. At the beginning of the series, Kurosaki Ichigo often find himself struggling to suppress his other self, widely known as Hollow Ichigo. Hollow Ichigo is the dark side of Kurosaki Ichigo, a part of him that never question the ethics behind each actions. Naruto apparently also has another personality within himself. A persona that holds grudges against every one he deems has wronged him.

If you’re not familiar with shounen titles, we have the recently completed series Persona 4: The Animation that saw the main characters tackled their Shadow Selves. These so-called shadows represent emotions that were not consciously acknowledged by the characters themselves. Or maybe even Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. Despite being a funny series, the supernatural/comedy series offered a good ground for us to attempt to understand why some of us chose to suppress sad emotions and memories. In fact, I think it’s rather normal for us to reject negative emotions and keep to ourselves only happy memories like Yuuko did.

All these four series I mentioned here share one similarity – none of the characters are aware of the other self until they meet them.  They were all caught off guard by the revelation of their heavily suppressed negative emotions. When confronted, their natural instincts kicked in and chose to deny the presence of negative personalities within themselves. And this action resulted in serious consequences.

Back to my question – do you think you have another personality within yourself. If there’s such a thing within us, how would we confront our other self? The other self is often projected as dark and scary, but the truth is it can be just an innocent side of us that we chose to hide. When we find that, would we reject or embrace? If there’s such a thing within us, would it snap under intense pressure and do things outside normality? Again, I’m not suggesting anything violent, just a behaviour out of the ordinary. I know no doubt this is a scary thought. It’s as if we’re Dr. Jekyll shapeshifiting into Mr. Hyde, losing the ability to control our emotions.

After many ponderings, my answer to my own question is yes. All of us has another self hidden within us. Unfortunately though, I’m pretty sure you can’t find out what they are by entering the TV (don’t get this? Watch Persona 4). Heck, I don’t even know how to know. But when the time comes, we shall follow the examples of Narukami and friends – identify with and embrace our Shadow Selves. What do you say?

On a lighter note, have you ever wondered if there’s another you? Like the guys in Fairy Tail? Each person in Earth Land has another “clone” in Edolas. I’d love to see if I have a “clone” in Venus, but that’s entirely different thing altogether…

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25 thoughts on “The Other Self

  1. thats a good post

    I’m sure that I have another self, but I’m not sure which self was there in the beginning, the friendly one or the angry one. When feeling corned the angry self is a little scary, but I can’t stay angry for more than a few minutes anyway so it vanishes as quickly as it surfaced.

    If I would ever met my angry self, I hope it isn’t a scary and creepy as Shadow Yuuko.
    It always gave me creeps when I saw the scary shadow with the sharp teeth *kyaahh!*
    Haha Im so bad with horror elements 😦

    “I think it’s rather normal for us to reject negative emotions and keep to ourselves only happy memories like Yuuko did.” I agree, well what Yuuko had to experience must have caused a real trauma in her soul, it’s more than understandable, that she rejected these emotions of her. But even people with less big problems tend to show their positive side, well a few people also do the opposite 😀

    • Thank you!

      Lol, I hope mine isn’t as scary as Shadow Yuuko too. I’ll be horrified T.T.

      I guess most of us would prefer to show others our positive side, good side. After all, leaving good impressions on others help us in many ways. But you’re right, there are a few people who tend to show the opposite. I know two people in real life that are often angry and bitter for no apparent reason. =(

  2. I wouldn’t know much about my “other” self even if there was one. . . . I think. As humans, it would only be natural to stay in the better side of life, dwelling in negative emotions usually decrease one’s quality of life, though it’s not necessarily better to reject or run away from them.

    • Usually the other self is the total opposite of your usual self. So you more or less can guess.

      I totally agree with you. I’m a strong believer in living a happy-go-lucky life. As in living a day at a time and try not to worry too much about what lies ahead. Sometimes I fail though.

  3. I think we all do have other selves, and even if we start to understand them, it may bring about whole new traits in these other selves. It’s doubtful that anyone can truly master that part of their mind, and not just in the way that gets you a Persona.

    It would be interesting if Edolas counterparts existed, but I probably wouldn’t want to meet mine because of what that would imply. What if they’re different in some way you consider to be very small? What if the biggest difference is that your Edolas version is a devout Catholic?

    • Lol. But I actually thought it’ll be fun to meet my “clone” although the risk is there. It’ll be horrible revelation if the other person is something you never imagine yourself to behave or be like.

  4. I remember watching a cartoon way back (Martin Mystery I think, lol) and they had this episode about doppelgangers – which is essentially your other self, whom you have no way of splitting off with. A bit creepy and cool at the same time I guess 😀

    I don’t really know if this is my other self (could be) but – whenever I write stories, I almost always use the same calm, quiet, cynical lead with a semi-cold demeanor. Mostly because it feels more comfortable doing so. I sometimes “borrow” that persona to change my thought process during say a class or a serious discussion where I need to be calm.

    • Martin Mystery! I watched that before! =) Way, way back ago. Right, now I feel so old T.T. “Other self” or “doppelgangers” are common plots well used throughout various literature I suppose. In a way, it’s fun to discover another person who looks like you but not necessarily you.

      Well, it could be. You’ll never know.

  5. I suppose your other self is just the difference between the facade/mask that the society require you to wear in order to be “accepted” and your true self.
    You remind me of a novel I read in the high school age related to an italian writer named Luigi Pirandello named “Il fù Mattia Pascal”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Pirandello

    “Jung published his work The Self and the Unconscious in 1928. In that work, he attempts to scientifically investigate the relationship between the individual and the collective psyche, between the being that appears and the profound being. Jung called the self that appears a persona saying that “…the term is truly appropriate because originally persona was the mask that actors wore and also indicated the part that he played.” The persona is “that which one appears”, a facade behind which is hidden the true individual being.

    It’s difficult not to be stunned and impressed by the wisdom of Pirandello who had been employing these concepts in his art from his very first novel. But within the genre of novels, it was with Mattia Pascal that Pirandello inaugurated the series of personages to whom he would assign the arduous task of searching for their own authenticity in this Heideggerian sense. But upon the emptiness left by his presumed death, in fact, Mattia quickly reconstructs another persona which, only apparently different from the first, in reality represents its grotesque double. Mattia’s voyages, without any precise destination or practical utility, can seem like the modern transcription of the great romantic theme of vagabondage.”

    • Now you make me wanna read that novel. Mattia’s life is so sad based on the plot summary.

      A persona assumed in order to be accepted in the society can be also part of a reason why a person has other self. It can be also because a person chooses to suppress and ignore other emotions within himself/herself, not necessarily to be accepted but to feel better, that the other self exists.

  6. Another personality residing within oneself, that is indeed true. Sometimes, under intense pressure, I tend to acted out of nature myself, and 5 minutes later, I always thought, why did I act like that?

    I wouldn’t want to meet my “doppelganger” in Edolas if it even existed. Something “bad” would happen if you somehow meet your own doppelganger.. or at least that’s what I heard.

    • I read a few stories about that before, about seeing doppelganger bringing bad luck. It was said those were true stories…

      But then again, it’s still cool right? If they’re like the ones in Edolas, of course. Not some scary phantom…

  7. I certainyl believe there is another “self” in me. Talk to anyone and they’ll tell you that I’m calm and passive; I would never hurt anyone intentionally. On the other hand, I know myself better than anyone else and there are some things that I thought about doing that would’ve been totally out of character. The only reason I didn’t do those things was because I was able to suppress those thoughts.

    As for a clone of myself somewhere else, that would be cool, but I doubt it could happen.

    • I do wonder though – does this other self gradually disappear as we become more capable of balancing our emotions or will it always remain as suppressed emotions even though we grow to understand and handle ourselves better over time?

  8. I’m unfortunately not familiar with any of the mentioned anime, but I do know a lot of them that have this described “other self”. I think we all have one locked within us and it’s just waiting for us to release it from the prison within us. I know that if I let my inner self out more I’d probably be a lot happier in life, but fears and what not are holding me back.

  9. Nice read, hoshiko. I always enjoy the discussion about binaries / dichotomies.

    Yes, I believe that we have that “other” self. Persona 4, for me, shows a really good example on how the other self can be a “shadow”. It’s not necessarily bad but it’s something that we try hide and then overtime it leaks because it’s a part of us that we can never deny.

    And just to add, another way of forming that “other” self is through the use of different mediums. I, for instance, surprised a lot people. I was always being told that I don’t sound the way I write when I talk and vice versa. I don’t know why, but I guess whatever medium we’re using more or less adds something to our personalities.

    • Thanks, SnippetTee.

      Ah, yes. It’s like a different persona some people adopt when writing, acting, performing and such. Certain personalities tend to become more prominent in different situations.

  10. “Now, have you ever wonder if there’s this other self within you? Are you aware of your other
    self?”

    Not really, at least not until I stumbled upon Persona 4. And yes, I’m somewhat aware that I have some flip side to my usual self. However, I think the term “other self” is kind of inaccurate since (I believe) we wear different sets of personas for different situations and of course, people.

    “If there’s such a thing within us, how would we confront our other self?”

    As you said, like Narukami and Co. did. I’ve done a pitiful amount of reading on this, but this seems to be the best way-acknowledge and accept your Shadow’s (yes, it’s a real psychological term) existence. Sometimes though, you’ll need time to do it if your Shadow is uncontrollable. Totally rejecting or fully accepting it is going too far, you don’t want to sever ties with it or neglect your other selves.

    “On a lighter note, have you ever wondered if there’s another you?”

    You mean a “me” in a parallel world? Of course! I imagine another me who’s actually capable of maintaining a steady stream of posts for my blog and who has a legion of (willing) commenters.

    Or is that more of a daydream? XD

    Nice topic and post btw, I liked the broad examples you gave.

    • I watched too many psychology dramas and movies that I question myself a lot on this. It’s interesting actually. Well, the psychology subject itself is fascinating. Too bad I don’t do as much reading as I’d like to.

      The popular term seems to be “the other self”, although I agree with you on the accuracy of the term. At the same time, it’s understandable why the term is largely used – it’s a simple and straightforward explanation to what the whole thing is. That is to say having other personality(ies) besides the dominant one.

      It sounds like a tricky thing to do, isn’t it? We can’t accept or reject our shadow entirely. Need to strike the balance.

      Yes, yes, I meant another you. Nah, you can make that a reality here in this world. Speaking of blog, is there a reason why your gravatar isn’t showing your blog link? I only manage to find your blog after reading your Twitter profile >.<.

      • Likewise, I’d like to read more but I’m afraid of the dry writing and weird terms. Psychology itself is also quite subjective, making it hard to understand as well. To me, it’s more of a passing (yet fascinating) interest than an actual passion.

        True, it’d throw up a lot of “Huh?”s if “the other selves” were used. I do wonder though, what other selves lurk beneath my shell…

        Balance, baby! That’s why I’m of the Justice Arcana, according to what a tarot book told me. Although I’m not entirely sure you can calculate such a thing using your birth date, what it says tends to fit me.

        No link? That’s probably because I haven’t put it in yet. =_=” Sorry, will get right on that.

        • Hey, same here! Some of the things revealed based on my birth date or month, depending on what they need, tend to fit me. I wonder why…Also, I like taking personality tests as well. Just to sort of wanting to discover a part of me I might never know! Don’t know if it works, but so far none of the results surprises me.

          • Likewise, though I suspect we unconsciously twist the vague results to fit our expectations most of the time. XD Still, it’s something worthy enough to mull over a bit. I’d rather trust psychology, but isn’t that field equally vague at moments?

            • Lol, that could be. Psychology is a field that I feel has very unstable foundation. A lot of things that has been said can’t be scientifically proven. Sure, there are experiments and then there are results. But at the end of the day, it is still up to human beings, through their own experiences and observations, to define what the findings are. That has a limit.

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