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Opinion

Our objective self vs. our subjective self

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

Yes, there is such thing as our objective self as contrasted to our subjective self. The former is who we truly are, while the latter is what we make of ourselves that may contain some truth, but it most likely will miss the most essential part of who we really are.

It’s important that we know this distinction, so that we can do what is proper to us. While we will always have the subjective self, we should not forget the objective self which is more important.

The objective truth about ourselves is that we are, first of all and always, children of God, image and likeness of his, meant to share in the very life and nature of God. We are supposed to be one with God. This truth should always be affirmed and lived as best that we can. Thus, we have to find ways of how to be always conscious of it and, more importantly, how to be consistent with that truth.

Our subjective self is what we know and understand about ourselves that often sets aside God in our self-knowledge. Our subjective self-knowledge is often based on what we can gather from our senses and what our human understanding can fathom. But it ignores the inputs of faith that actually contain the basic and general truth about ourselves.

Our subjective self is simply the result of the conditionings that we are subject to --like our physical and biological, our emotional and psychological, our cultural and social, our historical and educational conditionings, etc.

It’s important that we realize that while we are always subject to temporal conditionings, we should never forget the faith-based truth about ourselves that enables us to enter into the spiritual dimension of our identity that would set us to enter, with God’s grace, to the supernatural dimension of our life.

In this regard, we have to realize that Christ is the pattern of our humanity, because he is the Son of God and as such is the perfect image that God has of himself. Since we are created image and likeness of God, we can say that we are patterned after Christ. How Christ is should also be how we should be.

Thus, to have a proper knowledge of ourselves, to get to our objective self, we should know Christ. Knowing him leads us to know ourselves properly. And what can we say about who and how Christ is?

We can get some ideas about this from some words of Christ himself who said: “I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” (Jn 5,30)

Thus, to be like Christ as we should, we have to always do the will of God. That is how we can become one with God, his image and likeness, making us like Christ himself.

So, like Christ, we should do nothing other than the will of God. We have to be most wary of our strong tendency to do our own will, contrary to what Christ did who did not seek his own will but the will of the one who sent him.

We would know our objective self when we identify ourselves with God, a child of his who does nothing other than the will of God. We need to train ourselves as early as possible to assume the very identity of Christ who does not seek his own will but only the will of God.

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