Internal vs. External Structure
Let’s explore this difference when it comes to Our Selves.
One is supportive, ongoing and lasting. The other has a superficial, even fleeting impact.
Wouldn’t it be worth distinguishing between the two?—and nurturing the one that taps into resilience, strength and steadiness?
One of the best ways to work with this concept is to consider how a building is built. Whether it’s a small home, or a towering urban skyscraper, we’ve all witnessed the process. A foundation has to be created and allowed to set. Then a framework can begin—whether it’s wooden boards or iron girders. We can see the progress as it takes shape and become more of a recognizable structure.
In time, this framework becomes hidden by its very outward appearance: siding, shutters, glass and steel panels, etc. Then the finishing touches of decor mark its style and set it apart from other buildings.
Over time, that style and decor may change. We’ve heard of buildings getting a “facelift” or being “spruced up”. And yet, for the most part, that internal structure remains.
Now let’s take that metaphor and work with it.
Our Internal Structure is our personal history—the challenges we’ve moved through, the upheavals we’ve weathered and the joys we’ve basked in. It is our framework and consists of a wealth of riches that we can draw on to guide us through a given moment.
Our External Structure, on the other hand, is our style—the situations, people, things that we’re surrounded by and can get caught up in—much like a net.
For example — how many times have we all said something along these lines: “When this happens”; “When s/he does this”; “If they’d only”; “I’ll be happy, content, feel more at ease when I get….”? This is External Structure—setting Your Self up to be dependent on a situation, person or even an item ( car, house jewelry, clothing and the like ) for a particular outcome. Do you see how it’s up to something / someone other than You to create your ease in life? It’s conditional—if / when.
On the other hand, when we’ve cultivated our own Internal Structure, we can meet a moment by going back to our distinctive histories:
We can recognize and track the common thread of a situation.
Cross-reference that thread to a previous experience.
Access the knowledge from that experience.
Use that knowledge to efficiently move through the current situation.
We can take this Internal Structure anywhere and draw on it in any situation. I liken it to always being able to come home to Our Selves—not unlike a snail or turtle. They can literally go within and then respond as needed.
Let me be clear. I’m not saying that External Structure doesn’t have a place. It most certainly does. It’s often what can give us the pop, fizz, and jazz in life. It’s when we expect it to serve as a source of strength and reserve that we run into trouble. When we’re dependent on outside factors for our inner well being, the energy is dissonant and not nearly as effective as we need / want it be.