When I created this artwork, the phrase that leapt to mind was “Beside himself.”
Being beside yourself often has a negative connotation, usually meaning intense emotional stress, and the phrase is used in such ways as “She was beside herself with grief” or “He was beside beside himself with anger.”
Jethro Tull‘s song, below, epitomizes that meaning.
Beside oneself is one of several old phrases in which a loss of a mental faculty is explained as being, broadly, away from one’s person. The most common phrase is out of one’s mind, which is first found in the fifteenth century, slightly earlier than beside oneself.
But one can also be beside oneself with joy, ecstasy, surprise, amazement.
Or, perhaps, extreme curiosity, where we want to see ourselves as others see us, and so adeptly use our imaginative faculties that we end up beside ourselves.
What would we see then?
Could we take it in, stand it, have compassion for ourselves, love ourselves? Hopefully, we would not turn away, in despair or disgust.
In either case, self knowledge is essential if we seek self actualization. Whether our experience of being beside ourselves is attractive or repulsive, we can at least congratulate ourselves for having the guts to face ourselves, and grow from there.
FYI–I have posted about this topic previously.