I’m Into My Self

Maybe it’s where I live (the USA’s South), but there is something of a shame game going on here toward being fond of what you got. Not what you own (this is a personality blog, after all), but the gifts /talents / benefits of your personality and its accompanying perspective.

So many people agree that it’s important to “be yourself”. However, some of these same people let themselves get involved in competitive behavior, such as who can get the most attention in a conversation. That kind of behavior is in direct conflict with the stated goal of being true to oneself.

When I dance from the soul, can I not love the way I dance? When I have original thoughts, can I not be a little smitten with myself because of my love of said thoughts? I pose these ideas as questions, but I don’t need answers to tell me it’s healthy. It is. And the fact that some people maintain that permission is necessary, some green light before they go, are only robbing themselves. Sad.

Moving on, you need to be your #1 fan. There is a surplus of people in this world who don’t understand you, wouldn’t recommend you, and generally dislike you. If the ship went down, and there was only one more spot on the raft, haters would grab the hand of a stranger and let you drown. So don’t waste any more time from your life on them, except to get them out of your life.

There may be psychological reasons for how you are, environmental reasons, astrological reasons, etc. Most important is that you think and feel freely.

Which Voice in the Dark is Mine?

I had a stressful week at work, and just didn’t have the time and energy to write a post, at least not at the kind of quality I expect of myself.

The other disappointment is that I am so strapped on time/energy, that reading about the topic of personality is a challenge. I was posting every day, and although it was all based on internet sources, it was something to point you, the reader, towards in the hope of facilitating a deeper exploration.

In stressful times, I talk to myself in my head, give myself directions, sometimes scold myself for being foolish. It feels like it’s coming from the front half of my brain.

When life is calmer, perhaps when I’m still but not too tired, I’ll “hear” a voice say something very brief, in one or two words. Sometimes it’s just my first name (this occasionally happens when I’m dozing off in the day, when I have things to do), as if a gentle reminder to wake me back up. Usually that voice is a woman’s, spoken in a motherly way. Fairy godmother? This voice sounds around late-twenties or early-thirties, and she sounds like she’d be attractive. I’ll wake up for that.

Other times it’s my voice (coming from the back of my head), or a man’s voice with a somewhat deeper, older, richer tone. A little spooky. I don’t know what any of this means, but I’d love to find out.

Where does this phenomena intersect with personality? If people were more open and honest, we could start this a little better. But when you say “I hear voices”, people get a bit concerned about you, or back away out of concern for themselves, even if they themselves have the same thing going on. But that’s average people, not psychologists or other health professionals.

My guess would be that personality in this case is better revealed through what the voice or voices are saying. Without getting into the nature of the subconscious (I’d need a lot more of an education to do that), the motivation of the subconscious (supposing there is one) has already helped shape the personality, is perhaps shaped by the personality, and thus is an inseparable part of the personality.

I’m not talking about auditory hallucinations, at least not as I understand it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression of auditory hallucinations is that the person having one perceives it as though it came from one or both ears. It sounds as though it’s real, occurring externally in the environment around the person.

When I’ve heard a voice, there has only been one time when I thought I heard it with my ear. I was young, maybe thirteen or fifteen, and it was late at night. I was in the bathroom, just standing there, inspecting my face in the mirror. In my left ear, I heard the aforementioned woman’s voice say my name very calmly. The voice sounded so caring and affectionate, that I wasn’t scared or disturbed by it. If I believed in angels, she was mine.

All of the other voices I’ve heard while awake clearly come from my own mind and do not involve my ears at all.

Voices (and sound effects – Exploding Head Syndrome) that occur in half-sleep are usually louder and clearer, sometimes very loud and alarming.

I’m fortunate so far, and hope that I don’t develop any problems with this as I get older, if my mind deteriorates.

Enactors of Factors

XII. Dimensions of Personality
Eysenck’s methods of measuring personality limited the number of personality types to a relatively small number. Although many traits exist, Eysenck identified only three major types.
A. What Are the Major Personality Factors?
Eysenck’s theory revolves around only three general bipolar types: extraversion/introversion, neuroticism/stability, and psychoticism/superego function. All three have a strong genetic component. Extraverts are characterized by sociability, impulsiveness, jocularity, liveliness, optimism, and quick-wittedness, whereas introverts are quiet, passive, unsociable, careful, reserved, thoughtful, pessimistic, peaceful, sober, and controlled. Eysenck, however, believes that the principal differences between extraverts and introverts is one of cortical arousal level. Neurotic traits include anxiety, hysteria, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Both normal and abnormal individuals may score high on the neuroticism scale
of the Eysenck’s various personality inventories. People who score high on the psychoticism scale are egocentric, cold, nonconforming, aggressive, impulsive, hostile, suspicious, and antisocial. Men tend to score higher than women
on psychoticism.

via Theories of Personality | Chapter Outline

I thought Trump is psychotic, but now I know for sure that it’s true.

So is my dad. They have a lot in common, those two. My dad supported Trump, and if Trump knew about him, he’d support my dad.

Self-justified in any situation, no matter how red-handed you catch them.

Anyway…getting away from two bitter topics for me,

I used to be introverted, but over time and by desire I slowly became more extroverted. Some of the behaviors of born extroverts turn me off, so I’m not fully flipped to the other side of the spectrum. I’m something of a hybrid. Most people, I will assert from personal experience, are somewhere between the two poles.

Neuroticism vs. stability – a good summary is found here:

Neuroticism for Winning

Psychoticism vs. superego – This is, in my barely-informed impression, is a question of unrestrained (psychotic) vs. self-restrained (superego).

superego definition

Eysenck You Very Much

Source:

Cattel and Eysenck: Trait and Factor Theories

“XI. Measuring Personality
[Hans] Eysenck believed that genetic factors were far more important than environmental ones in shaping personality and that personal traits could be measured by standardized personality inventories.”

Eysenck he’s right, but I would like to read more about where he drew the line between these two factors. If a person’s intrinsic personality traits (genetics) are at odds with accepted norms of a given culture (environmental), where do we consider the resiliency of those traits against the social tide? If said person also has the trait of persistence, rebelliousness or at least stubbornness, could these traits “come to the rescue” of other traits?

It would seem to me that we end up needing to consider so many environmental factors in the shaping of personality. However, if genes are the stronger force in ultimately determining an adult personality,  then in any given culture will their be natives to that culture who feel ‘freer’ (the genetic personality is a better match to the cultural values) than ‘constrained’ (an ongoing disharmony between the genetic personality and cultural pressures to conform)?

Given that we accept Eysenck’s statement above, is it not a mystery that genetic personalities come and go, but culture remains? Culture changes, but that change is slow, and people are born and die without seeing considerable change in a culture. Is there not enough variety in possible personalities? I hope you’ll agree that is not the case. Thus the rough-and-dirty conclusion is that the average person does not seek change does not forcefully seek change in his/her culture. Why is that? Is it only to gain or maintain social acceptance?

I’m trying not to confuse ‘self-concept’ with ‘self-expression’, but I find that difficult to do, and I don’t even know if making that distinction leads to any better understanding. So for now, I’m leaving my statements as-is, but I welcome anyone to direct me to a source that could alter my views.

 

Let’s Go the Long Way Around

Yesterday my 5-year-old son explained his experience with the piece of gum I’d given him: “I smashed it with my teeth so many times…” He went on to explain that suddenly all of the flavor disappeared. I’m sorry I can’t recall the exact wording of the rest of the sentence. I was too busy being smitten by his long-way-around description of chewing.

That made me think about our use of words, especially the ones with moderate-to-lengthy definitions. “Chew” does not require a long definition to explain. It’s fairly straightforward. But when you don’t use the word and take the long way around an idea, it has the potential of illuminating the way toward other ideas.

The kind of words that I’m talking about are shortcuts. “Jealous” has to be explained. “Vivacious” as well. Furthermore, many words are loaded with nuances. Instead of vivacious, we could say lively, but those two words each have their own subtle differences, their own character, their own “feel”.

When we describe someone’s personality, when we describe our own personality, we use loaded words. When we use these terms in conversation with others, we use these words in order to spend less time to get the idea in the sentence out, keeping the pace of the conversation up, but we make a bargain in the process – these adjectives, adverbs and idioms don’t always provide any shortcut to understanding or, in the case of your own personality, being understood.

What someone else thinks of when they hear you say “anxious” may not be exactly what you mean of when you use the word. So often we have to further describe: Anxious how? Then you end up performing some kind of corrective measure with an explanation of what you mean by “anxious”. Your “shortcut” is no shortcut after all.

We have art for self-expression. Paintings, dances, novels, sculptures, plays, films, poems, etc. Each work of art comes from someone trying to express something. They are taking the long way around. Although some could argue that working with words is the long way around. It could depend on what you’re trying to express.

Back to personalities, telling someone what you see in your own personality may be best served by taking the time to avoid terms that might trigger a mental image or response that you don’t intend. It will require more care before speaking, and a bit more time to finish a thought, but being as close to perfectly understood from the start is far better than having to repair what you said in haste.

Your Possible Selves Want to Talk With You

If I watch myself on tape, I’m not only viewing with my self-concept in mind, I’m comparing “me” to my “possible selves,” the “me’s” I wish to become. Here is where an unbridgeable gap opens up between people: I will never have a sense of anyone else’s possible selves, nor they mine.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

Ever seen Defending Your Life? It’s pretty good. The part where they go to the Past Lives Pavilion and get to see who they once were and how they lived in past lives is the part I’m latching onto here. Those were other selves, weren’t they? Other me’s, he’s and she’s?

If we could have a Possible Selves Pavillion, we could each watch what we could have been (or are, if you’re game for the concurrent alternative reality concept) and at the very least see your potential on display. Could be depressing, could be inspiring. There’s no reason you couldn’t aspire to what you consider the best of your selves.

Ooooh, what if you could carry on conversations with your possible selves? Then they could tell you their alternate-reality stories, and you’ll get to know what they’ve been through and what worked for “them” (namely, you). You would benefit from your (their?) experience.

You and the possible you’s could work as a team for the benefit of all of you’s (that sounds kinda mafia).

And what if in said Possible Selves Pavilion others could view your possible selves? Wouldn’t they get a more well-rounded idea of who you are? This is what the author quoted above is lamenting about, and there is something of a solution for now, though not nearly as cool as what I’ve been talking about.

Here’s the solution: share more of yourself. Let people get to know you in as many different ways as you can. Even those silly online quizzes of “Which color do you gravitate to?” and “Which dog breed are you?”, “Which Star Wars character shares your worldview?” are valuable for your Facebook friends to reconsider another take on their impression of you. If there isn’t already, there ought to be a website where all of those results from personality tests and less serious quizzes end up in one place. Then your “friends” can get a better look at you. It’s not just based on chance experience.

When you consider any given moment of your HPA Axis, and the way the world went down those nights when you went out with your friends (plus whatever was going on with them), you have to admit that soul-connection moments are fewer and further between than you might prefer.

You need to make up for what a roll of the dice didn’t deliver, and that’s by being a little more insistent on getting people to see you in new lights. Of course, it’s up to you to be as jarringly honest about yourself as you can. And that’s not easy to get right, even if you’re willing.

The great thing about writing is that you can hammer it out, put it under your bed, and read it in the morning to see if you still agree. If not, make changes. Then sleep on it again. Eventually you’ll feel good enough about it to let it be. But before that happens, let it go. Throw it into the public for all to see. Maybe there’ll be something in it that you didn’t mean to divulge, but is nonetheless true of you. (See my post on the Johari Window for a decent explanation of the value of this.)

Baring yourself is scary (trust me, I feel it in a very real way). But baring yourself is good for your soul, no matter the outcome. You can be proud of yourself for taking the chance. Beyond that, you can royally complicate your life, but that’s just part of the fun! C’mon, what are ya, a Scorpio? Don’t you want to find out who can withstand your true self (true friends) versus who would turn away from you (fake “friends”)? Weed them out. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy and heartache.

I had to get rid of a friend that I’d had for over 25 years. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did it myself instead of tolerating that person and maybe suffering worse. I came out the winner. Some people just won’t value you the way that you deserve to.

You and Your Perverted Self

“The true emotional meaning of the accident was all along hidden from the patient, so that in consciousness this emotion was never brought into play, the emotion never wore itself out, it was never used up.” – C.G. Jung, The Theory of Psychoanalysis

The urges that drive us, even now. We interpret and reinterpret them, make excuses for them, think we need them, go to great lengths (even commit crimes or risk our lives) to satisfy them. But do we doubt them, turn on them, question ourselves before we go too far? We know too many real-life cautionary tales, but they don’t satisfy our longing. We must do something to satiate our “need”.

The fact that many of these urges get channeled into sexuality is more a statement of the culture you’re brought up in than any kind of judgment of you. As long as sex and wish fulfillment are lumped together by you, that’s all you’ll feel comfortable with – someone whom you feel comfortable expressing those urges with. I come from a drama background, so I know there’s at least one other way. Who you are and what you want go hand in hand at any given moment in time, so why not express both publicly? That’s a pretty good recipe to get a number of people jailed, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If we fought against it, over time, things could improve. I know, that’s some pie-in-the-sky thinking, but shit, man, what better solution do you have?

Culturally, we’ve seen some pretty unexpected advances recently. Let’s not doubt that momentum, but keep it chugging on. Keep that ball rolling. It’s not like your perversion is going anywhere good. Just kidding!

I want to see more people expressing their deep inner urgings in public, as long as they are only hurting consenting adults.

I take that back – I don’t actually want to see it, that would give me nightmares. I just want someone to tell me it happened somewhere in public without making me watch the video to find out. Thank you very much for understanding.

Dump Vultures

How much of your personality is your intrinsic self? If y0u are braving against mere survival instincts, then against comfort, then in spite of these influences insisting on having your personal preference – are you then displaying true personality? It takes some comfort level before types will declare their independence and take a chance on their guns to see them through. Some types won’t be needy, will test fate even when they’ve got next to nothing to depend on. Others will need to be much more self-assured before they’re willing to risk (astrological Cancers, I’m thinking of you). Where do we draw the line between the effect of our environment and the effect of our soul’s urge to change our experience of our environment?

Where do you draw the line? I want to know as much as you do. I want to sleep at night, amidst both my dreams and my nightmares, knowing whether I’m being true to myself or giving in to impulses based on fear, even when I’m afraid. I want to know what I fear is being taken from me, so that I understand that fear better. So that I understand me better, so that I might become a stronger person in its wake (no pun intended – but not too shabby, eh?).

“True personality” might include an acceptance of childhood environment and adult environment into its calculation, but I have a hard time accepting this. If we were born and raised in our personal rendition of Utopia, and still there, among other Utopians, who would we be upon our choosing? Or better yet, if we could design it, what would “Utopia” be like?

On my route back from work I usually see many vultures circling over the dump. They are attracted by the scent of bacteria in the wind, their best chance of eating in the way they are designed. I want to believe that humans are more than that. When we are assured of our basic or “physiological needs”, our “safety needs”, and perhaps our “love and belonging needs”, according to Maslow, we seek to satisfy more personal desires. That’s where personality may shine brightest, for we are no longer burdened by the seriousness of our needs or the grasp it has on our minds. When we feel a sense of desperation or duty and we must stave off less immediate concerns in order to accomplish a basic level of security, making adjustments to our personality to do so, we are some other version of ourselves. Are we each one personality, or a set of personalities tailored according to the situations we find ourselves in?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Here’s an interesting version:

Murray’s Needs

One final question: Is a unique personality a total combination of all consistent traits in action or reaction to the fulfillment of needs, wearing a slightly different “mask” of the self as befitting the needs of the moment?

Idiosynchronicity

The top line: You probably do know what people think of you

But it’s likely you don’t know any one person’s assessment. “We have a fairly stable view of ourselves,” says Bella DePaulo, visiting professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “We expect other people to see that same view immediately.” And they do. On average there is consensus about how you come off. But you can’t apply that knowledge to any one individual, for a variety of reasons.

For starters, each person has an idiosyncratic way of sizing up others that (like metaperceptions themselves) is governed by her own self-concept. A person you meet will assess you through her unique lens, which lends consistency to her views on others. Some people, for example, are “likers” who perceive nearly everyone as good-natured and smart.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

I dunno. My view of myself seems deeply influenced by my mood, but if that’s what she thinks is within the realm of “fairly stable”, I guess I’ll go along with it.

I asked my wife if I seem like a nervous person. She said no. I was surprised. I told her that a lot of times I feel like a nervous wreck, and then she was surprised. She assured me that I don’t come off that way. I believe her when she says that. I’d know if she were only trying to make me feel better, because I know her so well.

I do agree with the above statement that we each have “an idiosyncratic way of sizing up others” according to our self-concept. People expect me to hold opinions of them that are not what I caught on to when I met them. Then I wonder what kind of face I was making when I met them. I was probably aloof, off in my own head, trying to think of something clever due to my ridiculous desire to say something funny to make them laugh, because that’s what I think will have the best chance of making them like me and not think I’m boring.

If I get to know them well enough, we’ll probably agree. Or at least I will have addressed the disparity in their expectations and the actual outcome of what kind of person I believe they are.

Integrity, Anyone?

As an infant scans his mother’s face he absorbs clues to who he is; as adults we continue to search for our reflections in others’ eyes. While the parent-child bond is not necessarily destiny, it does take quite a bit to alter self-concepts forged in childhood, whether good or bad. People rely on others’ impressions to nurture their views about themselves, says William Swann, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. His research shows that people with negative self-concepts goad others to evaluate them harshly, especially if they suspect the person likes them—they would rather be right than be admired.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

If you don’t mind, read that last sentence again for me. Does this explain assholes? I’ve been puzzling this out for years and years, and this is the best explanation I have heard. Another way to say it, without putting words in the mouth of the author, is that because people who have negative self-concepts may also value being true to themselves, “being right” and being awful is being a real person, and being admired is “selling out”. It’s a matter of pride to show resistance to mass pressure. I can understand non-assholes having a tough time understanding that someone’s idea of a better choice is to be a worser person, but that’s the topsy-turvy logic of someone who feels like their existence is not a benefit to the world, and yet still has a shred of integrity.

In order to change such a mentality, one would need to admit how wrong one got it, come back to human and face the fact that they’re not so smart after all. In effect, they’d have to take back all they’ve said and done in the name of showing their contempt for themselves and for the lack of understanding they’ve received from others. They’d have to abandon the sinister vines they’ve wholeheartedly nurtured in the garden of pride and defense.

When we talk of someone’s idea of conviction and standing their own ground, it is hard to give up and change, no matter who you are, or in which direction.