Is your alter ego a hero or a villain?

Rana's Words
3 min readApr 18, 2021
Image Source: by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplash

For quite some time, I have struggled in understanding the depth of my personality, due to its impossibly complex dynamic between various aspects that shape who I am as a person. I often stood in front of my mirror and gazed upon my reflection in sheer frustration and perplexity, because I fought relentlessly to comprehend myself completely. Evidently, there still remains an abundance of unexplored dimensions that fit as puzzle pieces of the overall picture of who I am.

If you’ve found yourself in the same position before, you would start to notice that there’s a different part of you that comes out to play depending on the situations you are placed in. These different versions of yourself are entirely you; they all mould you into who you are. In other words, they are alter egos of yourself.

So then, do your alter egos save you from stressful situations, or do they get you in trouble? According to a study conducted in 2017 by Streamer et al. (2017), participants have shown evidence that developing an alter ego allows them to positively react when placed in stressful situations. If acquiring an alter ego helps you overcome tough circumstances, then could it really be a superhero? After all, it was there for you in ways no one else was.

However, there is no denying the debate on whether an alter ego harms you or has your back.

What makes your alter ego a villain? Perhaps it could be deduced that when forming yourself an alter ego, you are really pulling yourself back and letting your other personality’s half to step in and take charge. If the entirety of your mentality is not present when handling a problem, then are you really doing it right? You’re letting just one part of you come out to play, and suppressing other parts of yourself in the process. Maybe that’s what makes your alter ego seem like a villain, because with one personality attribute, it cannot use all emotions to its benefit, and instead reacts in one standard way.

Let’s say for instance, your alter ego is a merciless person with no room for empathy or forgiveness. A person in need walks up to you asking for help, while your alter ego was holding the wheel in your mind. Ultimately, your alter ego shuns the idea of helping this person. In reality, your dominant nature is helping people, however, with your alter ego in charge, it went against what you stand for.

So does this not make it a villain?

It is safe to say that alter egos are tricky alternate versions of yourself that need heavy training to ensure it abides by the rules you set for it to avoid any complications. Who knows? Maybe if you are able to control your alter ego, it can be a hero after all.

References

Streamer, L., Seery, M., Kondrak, C., Lamarche, V. and Saltsman, T. (2017). Not I, but she: The beneficial effects of self-distancing on challenge/threat cardiovascular responses. Journal of Experimental Social Psyhcology, 70, pp.235–241. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022103116307764?via%3Dihub [Accessed 18 Apr. 2021].

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Rana's Words

There's infinite beauty in the countless worlds of fiction.