Why are we under so much stress and find it so hard to seek solutions and healing for the mind? Why do we constantly make wrong choices, get anxious about things that aren't frightening, have an immediate dislike of certain people and find it so hard to change, blaming all our woes on everything around us? According to Freud, the self is composed of three different parts: 1) the “Id” which represents instinctual drives or our “nature;” 2) the “Superego” which represents values or expectations imposed on us by society, our “nurture,” and 3) the “Ego,” which is the part of consciousness we are aware of and which can take control over the other parts. For example, the Id may give you an impulse to open another bottle of wine even though you know you have to get up early for work next day . The Superego could reinforce that impulse through peer pressure from others around you wanting to carry on drinking. However, you still have the ability to reject these demands and choose to do what is best for yourself, and this is your ego.
Jung goes further than Freud when he describes something he calls ‘self’, which is a true integration between all aspects of ourselves, and is how we heal ourselves and become whole. Often the ability of the ego to make good choices and decisions is sabotaged by unseen and unknown impulses from the unconscious – repressed feelings of shame, not being good enough, not being lovable, for example. Jung believed that journeying to find integration was the key purpose of life and involves a relationship with our internal self and unconscious mind as well as the conscious, rational aspects of life.
Recent studies on happiness have shown that our genes play a big part in how easily we are happy (50%). The next 40% is made up of the way we choose to live our lives, and only 10% of happiness is achieved from things we own, material objects. Part of our problems come from the fact that many of us spend most of our time living a life involved in activities that only contribute to this final 10%. There is much we can do to connect to and improve the 40% by living more insightful and whole lives.