A second-self created by the individual, usually to live out a better version of the self.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
It can be scary to try something that’s out of your comfort zone. Your ego starts shouting “What are you doing? Stop! Why would you take a risk?” Your alter ego can come to the rescue! When you’re facing a new challenge, and you’re filled with doubt or fear, switch from your ego to your alter-ego. You’ll be switching characters, and you’ll have a window of opportunity to tap into that inner courage and let go of your hang-ups. Use that window of opportunity to push against your comfort zone and try something new!
Your Alter-Ego Can Empower You
Your alter-ego isn’t somebody else—it’s you. But it’s a part of you that you don’t normally allow yourself access to. Maybe as a kid, you were told that girls shouldn’t be so aggressive or that boys who take too many risks always get into trouble. So you buried parts of yourself so deep, you forgot they were there. But they are still there! There is a force within you that is ruthless, fearless, and powerful. You have every right to tap into that force and use it to your own advantage. A well thought out alter ego can help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. It can allow you to step out of the box that you’ve created for yourself and do something that’s totally out of character for you. Get out of your own way and discover you who you could be!
Create Distance from Yourself
Alter egos can help give us distance from ourselves, which can help us deal better with the past, the present, and the future. If you’re dealing with painful memories or traumatic experiences from the past, you’ll experience less stress and anxiety if you tell yourself that they happened to somebody else. That is, tell yourself that they happened to your alter-ego. This will allow you to work through the issues that arise because of the traumatic event without being overwhelmed by negative emotions.
When it comes to the present, distancing from yourself helps willpower. Suppose you’re trying to cut back on donuts. When you pass by a donut shop, and you’re tempted to go in and get yourself something, Ask yourself: “Does my alter ego want a donut?” This works because when you think of yourself in the first person, you’re more likely to get caught up in your momentary feelings and cravings. But when you think of you alter ego, you’re more likely to make good decisions on their behalf. The self-distance that you create when you think in terms of what your alter ego should do allows you to focus on the bigger picture and on your long-term goals.
When it comes to the future, you’ll be more willing to take on challenges if you think of your alter ego taking on the challenge instead of yourself. Then it won’t be you having to face obstacles and risking failure, and you already know that your alter ego is more than capable of handling the challenging situation.
Make Life More Fun
As an example of how you could use you’re alter ego to make life more fun, you can imagine “turning into” your alter ego when it’s time to go do something you don’t really want to do, like go to the gym or take on a huge project. Then it isn’t you going to the gym to exercise or cross one more chore off your to-do list. Instead, it’s your alter ego creating a superhero body so that you will have the strength and stamina necessary to complete missions and go on epic quests. A good reason to create an alter ego is to make life more fun.
Obviously, your training exercise is to figure out a name for your alter ego. You’re not married to the name. You can totally change it anytime you think of one you like better, so don’t feel too pressured. Once you’ve got your name, let’s take this exercise a step further.
Do a quick Google Image search to find a picture of a character that portrays your alter ego. Maybe a pic of a well-known movie character… or maybe just a stock photo of some nameless model. It doesn’t matter who it is. You can even choose more than one image to collectively represent you like your alternate self. The point of this photo is so you can have a mental image anytime you call on your alter ego to boost the effect.
Post the url to your photo(s) in the comments section below along with your alter ego’s name. If you can, save the image in your portfolio for yourself as well, for whenever you need a little reminder of who you are when you’re in “the zone”.
Don’t forget your Joy Journal entry tonight! You’ll thank yourself later.