The trap for many people is to become too focused on how others see you. Too many build their self-perception based on what they are to other people. How do I influence other people? How do I serve others? More than a few people appear to be caught in the trap of being the muse’s of their friends and family members. What does that mean? One of the sixteen archetypes in Neojungian Academy is the muse (-++-). And it appears to be one of the more common archetypes. Take the test to find out if you are one.
A muse is someone who builds their identity on what they do for others. A muse is more occupied with how they impact others, building their identity on how others see them. Usually, a muse asks themselves how others see them. Do others like me? Do others need me? And do others love me? And while this selfless approach may seem admirable, it can really hurt a person in a longer perspective. I see so many people who identify only with what they do for others, not what they do for the sake of themselves. I worry that this causes a distorted view of the self. I’ve met many that appear to compromise themselves for the sake of others.
Often, muses have their first and fourth letter flipped. Introverted muses behave like extroverts. Judging muses behave like perceivers. ENFJs appear like INFP muses, and INTPs appear like ENTJ muses. This is because we are more caught up in our outer perception – and blind to our inner self. So don’t be surprised that recentering requires you to flip your perception somewhat. The muses are not the only archetypes that are partially built on self-compromise. Others include the mentors, and the princes.
We are taught that kindness should be selfless, and we are often taught that it’s bad to be egocentric. So we learn that goodness should never be self-serving, goodness should be selfless. We also tell ourselves that there is no such thing as a truly selfless person, but that doesn’t seem to stop many from trying to be.
The scary thing that happens when you forget to set boundaries
- It becomes more difficult to separate your own emotions from others
- You become more anxious – and you worry more about others than about yourself
- You find yourself thinking more about what others need than what you need
- You begin to doubt yourself – but you always trust others
- It becomes more difficult to know what “you” want
- You become less understanding of yourself thinking “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “I shouldn’t think this way”
- You struggle to move forward in your own goals and projects
- It feels easy to relate to others, but it becomes difficult to accept yourself.
- You can experience issues long-term with energy and motivation
- And you become an easier target of narcissists
What does it mean to transcend the ego?
Many religions and spiritual teachings suggest we should seek to transcend the ego. This is not wrong, but the approach to get there is often misunderstood. We should transcend the ego, but we should not forsake it. To transcend the ego, we must climb it, and then take a leap to reach beyond it.
There is no problem with goodness that comes from the self. You can help others out of a feeling that it makes you feel good about yourself. You can give of yourself because it makes you happy. Kindness can reinforce your ego, and it can destroy it. A martyr is someone who has completely forsaken the ego. But why is this a bad thing?
The problem of forsaking the ego starts with the fact that someone who is good for the sake of others, becomes reliant of others appreciation and love. You become overly occupied with being liked, your gratification comes from seeing others happiness and joy. Your sense of goodness relies on external support, and whenever you lose it, you begin to feel starved of love.
Someone who reaches outwards for love, often forgets that they can also find love inside themselves. The issue with the martyr is that they often have a distorted perception of what love and kindness is, and they often assume that kindness is self-harm. No. True kindness is grounded in self-love.
Isn’t self-love narcissism?
Our idea of egocentrism and narcissism is twisted. A narcissist isn’t someone who loves themselves too much, a narcissist is someone who loves themselves too little. A narcissist feels starved of love and demands it from others. Their whole perception is built on how others see them.
A narcissist feels that, because they have worked so hard to help others and to support others, compromising themselves, others are obliged to give them the love and appreciation they feel starved of.
It’s not narcissistic to be a muse
I’m not saying that a muse is a narcissist, far from it, a muse is someone with passion, love, care, and a fascination with the world. A narcissist on the other hand, lacks motivation, passion, and inner power. A narcissist craves energy from the outer world. A muse has a lot of passion and energy, but because they lack boundaries they can become the target of a narcissist.
A narcissist is a muse who has been starved of love and care, a muse without the feeling of love, care, and passion. Muses have many amazing gifts to offer the world. Muses inspire us, muses help us see ourselves, and muses allow us to show our gifts to the world. Sometimes we all need a muse that can show us our own reflection. Muses are usually very inspired, passionate people. They may only be lacking in self-trust and a solid judgement of what is right and wrong.
But we need to remember, when we meet the muse, to not hold back the muses own self-expression. To teach the muse to also explore their own self, independent of others. To teach the muse to practice healthy boundaries and to find their way to their own selves.
Lessons for the muse
If you find yourself in the trap of being another persons muse, practice self-love. Think about who you are. Take your time to explore your own independent person. See yourself as you are, independent of what others think of you. Go into your own depths. Say no. Think about if you want to say no. Find out what you want, and what you need to be happy. Think about what your boundaries are when dealing with friends, lovers, and family.
In the process of setting boundaries, friends and family members can be thrown aback by the boundaries, feeling like you are building distance between them and you. Let them know that you don’t want to distance yourself from them, but that you want to find a healthy way to relate to them. Get the me-time you need, let things happen your own way, and decide how you want to reach your goals, independent of others. Respect your own process.
Think about what you want. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help, wanting to be good, wanting to be loving, and you can still be loving, even more so if you have healthy boundaries. The lesson for a muse is that being a muse is not sustainable in the long run. You need to find your inner passion, your inner energy, and your inner calling. You need to trust your own instincts, and your own judgement.