I believe that to be self-actualized, the person has to be united in love with every aspect of who he or she is. Each one of us is made of many different parts, a band of personalities. The unconscious and subconscious is full of characters that pop up in the most unexpected ways. For example, sometimes we meet a new person and, with no rhyme or reason, instantly like or dislike the stranger. One explanation is that we are projecting one of our own personalities on the unknown person. At that point we are not seeing the other person, but only a projection of a characteristic of the self that we like or dislike. Sound complex? Well, it is; the human mind is very multifaceted.
Human beings are different than other creatures. Genesis 1:26 states, “Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness … “ Interesting that our one God speaks of himself in the plural (us and our). Does this refer to the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, three persons in one God? Genesis 1:27 continues, “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” The Father and the Son are male. The Holy Spirit is neither male nor female. And yet humanity, who was created in God’s image, is both male and female. Could it be that besides the Trinity, God the Creator is also male and female? And if we are created in his image, then do we too have different personas, plus being both male and female?
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote extensively on the subject of the anima and animus, the male and female unconscious self. He observed that male children are conscious of being male, but are unconscious of their feminine self. Likewise, female children are conscious of their femininity, but do not see their masculinity. But once they enter adolescence and discover the unconscious self projected onto the opposite sex, there is no stopping their interest and curiosity.
The Adam and Eve story continues with the thought that the opposite sex is a reflection of the inner self. When Adam first sees Eve he proclaims, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” This is not an invitation to get to know each other over coffee. Adam literally sees himself in Eve. The passage continues to explain, “the two of them become one body” (Genesis 2:22-24). The intimacy between the two persons awakens the inner self, which is male and female living within one body.
This might explain why adultery and promiscuity is such an offense to the Lord. The sanctity of marriage means we must be true to not only the spouse, but also to the self. Separation from multiple partners will divide the inner self. The maxim ‘To thyself be true’ depends on also being true to the beloved.
But not all are called for marriage. Though never married, Jesus came to see the beauty of femininity through Mary his mother. Mary Immaculate was conceived without sin and therefore the perfect image of God. By agreeing to carry Jesus in her womb, she became the intimate reflection of God the Son. And through the Eucharist, Jesus is like a mother, giving us his Body as food for eternal life.