Inner Worlds

by | Jan 26, 2023 | Change, Identity |

inner world

All of humans have an inner world. Stories, voices, emotions and so on happening within us. These inner worlds are often raw, full of questions, doubts, uncertainty and worry. Our inner worlds is where we are often vulnerable. Our inner worlds or innder selves know that we need and are affected by others, that we are not totally self-reliant. And this terrifies us. Therefore, some of us keep these worlds locked up behind very thick walls, others have thinner walls. But our inner worlds are never on full display to others.

Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. 

Martha Nussbaum (H/T the Marginalian

These inner worlds are always highly active when we experience change. Whether we are leading the change or havnig the change brought to us. But each of our inner worlds are different as are our reactions to it.

So what can change makers do?

First, we can acknowledge our own inner world. Cultivate it, enrich it and most of all love it as it is us. Second we can acknowledge and recognise others have inner lives too. And we can encourage them (but not take responsibility for) to cultivate their own inner lives. And perhaps we can also recognise that the anger, angst and lashing out which sometimes happens in change has some likely connections to what’s happening in their inner worlds.

According to Martha Nussbaum again, stories are one of the best ways to nurture our inner world. Often our soceities, our workplaces subtly or not so subtly communicate to us that emotions are bad. Vulnerability, incompleteness, fear, and so on are bad, a sign of weakness (which is also deemed to be bad). Stories, in their various forms – written, spoken, theatre, music, art, (and bedtime!) – can help us remember ourselves. They can help give space for our inner worlds to connect. Good stories are often full of emotions, suspense, and unknowns. They are the opposite of the one dimensional, strong, never doubting, and often male, leader changing the world.

As you embrace, accept, and enrich your inner world, you will become a better change maker. And even more than that, a better human.

Photo by Sage Friedman


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