Most of us fear looking too far inside. I used to be afraid to look too far inside. I was afraid of what I now call the inner monster. I didn’t know what this inner monster was, but I was afraid that it was something dark and terrible–something I would be very ashamed of. But when I looked inside, I didn’t find a monster at all. I just found many interesting parts–a little boy, a baseball player, a scholar, a brother, a psychologist, a lover, a philosopher, and much more.
Many clients have the same sort of fears about looking inside. They are afraid of finding their own personal monster. They may fear that their basic nature is “selfish,” “evil,” “dirty,” “weak,” “stupid,” “crazy,” or “sick.” However, after intensively exploring the inner cores of hundreds of clients, I have not found one monster! Not one rotten person!
People don’t find monsters–they find outdated or limited beliefs. When we find the causes of our problems, we don’t find “sick” inner parts; we find old assumptions, old beliefs, old expectations, old commitments, or old goals that we now see as limited.
We feel excited about finally finding the inner causes of our problems, and we want to change these old parts of ourselves. The result of self-exploration is not horror at what we find, but relief that it is not nearly as bad as we feared–and peace at discovering the truth. That relief gives way to enthusiasm as we open new life paths to explore.
If you fear finding inner monsters, you will feel anxiety whenever you look inside yourself or question some established belief. You can replace that outdated belief in inner monsters with a better metaphor.
The process of self-exploration is NOT like looking for an inner monster, it’s like looking for buried treasure. You may find inner roadblocks you didn’t know about; but you will find at your core that you care about yourself and others. You will find you care about many higher values such as truth and beauty. You will find new sources of interest, competence, inner strength, and motivation. You will find that you have more potential for success and happiness than you ever realized.