The Fragile Self presents as frail and vulnerable; we are scarcely able to face the light of day. We lead with our sensitivity and we feel everything with a daunting intensity. The stories that we tell ourselves accommodate our perceptions and feelings, stories of loss and weakness. When we identify with this version of ourselves we are diminished and refuse to challenge life. It is the first stage of actualization, and the most difficult to navigate. It brings with it a sensitivity and sensibility that will be useful later.
The Authentic Self emerges from this Fragile Self and is a breath of fresh air. No longer do we feel helpless and weak, but rather, angry and enlivened. Our strength and our passion begin to emerge in a way that feels boundless. The Authentic Self, rather than hiding from life, runs toward it without discretion. We engage with life, but are just as likely to run into a brick wall. This stage is useful in building our passion and determination.
The Integrated Self is the combination of the sensitivity and empathy of the Fragile Self combined with the power, passion and drive of the Authentic Self, and includes the discernment to know which to apply when. It is truly the best version of ourselves, a combination of all of our strengths and colors applied with great skill. It is a joyous experience to be in this self, sensitive yet powerful, understanding, yet still determined and passionate. In the process of actualization we must wade through the trials of the fragile and the impulsiveness of the authentic to get to this self, but it is well worth it.
We come through the process of actualization as the best version of us, like forged and tested steel. This is the process of growth, the journey from crisis to transformation. It is critical we understand this process in order to move through the versions of ourselves without getting stuck or trapped in a lesser self.