A Person’s Internal Realm can be thought of as the ownership and command a person has over their inner life; their thinking, feeling, and acting. No one else can truly know or judge another person’s internal realm. This internal realm is the Dominion of the person, though they may choose to place a deity (i.e. for Christians, Jesus) over themselves as their personal King.
For Christians, valuing another’s internal realm, as a purpose, is second only to honouring God. We are commanded to “love one another.” (John 13:34)
We all presumably know the importance of loving others through the practical means of respecting people, enjoying polite relations, and living as peaceably as we can in society. But the means of behaving in these ways can be lost on us, as we struggle to achieve consistently and mutually caring and respectful relationships.
So there is a wide chasm sometimes between knowing how we should behave and behaving that way consistently. A good example of this is when others hurt us and we respond by hurting them back.
To protect ourselves from hurting others, especially at the possibility of us responding poorly because we have been hurt by them, we need to—first—work on ourselves.
We need access to a safe personal identity.
To value another’s internal realm we need to first establish and value our own internal realm.
The Importance of Safe Personal Identity
The ability to relate with others in caring and respectful ways has much more to do with how we relate with ourselves than we might realise. We cannot care for and respect others if we cannot, first, care for and respect ourselves.
The more grounded we are in ourselves—the confidence of safe personal identity—the better the ability we have to respect the autonomy of another person.
The better we can hold our own, safely and happily in our own skin, the more we allow others to be themselves without judgment.
If we can stand honestly in our own bodies, we can gladly allow others to stand in theirs.
Valuing another’s internal realm, then, is truly about investing in our own development and being as integrally authentic as we can be. The prize we get for having let God disciple us toward such authenticity—the realisation of integrity—is the capacity to care for and respect other people. Because we avoid irreconcilable conflict by our care and respect our sense of safe personal identity is further reinforced.
Simply put, a harmonious self-life promotes a harmonious relational life which in turn, because of the lack of harmful or lasting conflict, promotes a harmonious self-life.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.