Respect your Selves

................................................................................................................................................................................


Ventura: The more I think about it, you do have an image of what your face will look like. You do feel other people in you, who are older, and they talk to you - they talk to me, at any rate. In have a much older man inside me who talks to me every day, quietly, usually kindly, tolerantly, sometimes sternly when I'm really fucking up, always with humour. I like him enormously; he seems very much the best part of me.

I know several men who are, like me, in their forties, and they're starting to feel middle-aged in the flesh, and they say, "My body is betraying me." They even dye their hair and lie about their age. And I know women the same age, not Beverly Hills housewives or movie stars but women whom I never thought would do this, getting breast implants, tucks, that kind of thing - and I'm afraid for them, because they are deeply insulting the older people in them. And those insults are weakening the older people in them.

So when they finally turn sixty-five, when it's their sixty-five-year-old's turn to be, that sixty-five-year-old has been so insulted and weakened that he or she may not be able to do the job.

Hillman
: I saw a drawing of a woman - she was about forty-four. It was a pencil drawing, very touching. She didn't like it because it made her look too old. I said, "That drawing, that's the old woman who is waiting for you at the end of the corridor." They're there. Those figures are our companions, they're always around, and they need strengthening all the way down the line.

Ventura
: And if we've insulted the older people in us sufficiently and attacked them every time we, say, cursed an older driver -

Hillman
: - or the person in front of you in the supermarket who doesn't put her money away quickly enough -

Ventura
: Every time we've done that we've frightened and diminished the old ones in us, and those figures shrink until maybe there isn't anyone there.

And when we attack young people, in the same impatient way we've attacked old people, we weaken our young selves who are still in us, the way the older selves were in us when we were young.

Hillman
: Absolutely. We attack the younger people in us. As you say, the young ones who give us urges, send us fantasies. And so we no longer allow ourselves to feel or to imagine sexuality, we no longer allow ourselves to imagine risk - the incredible risks that young people take! They just do it! We don't allow ourselves to risk in the sense of abandon, letting go.

[James Hillman]
with Michael Ventura
We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy - And the World's Getting Worse, p.21, 22, 23


................................................................................................................................................................................

Related posts:-
Live In The Now
Growing old, imaginatively
A Fresh Challenge

1 comment: