Much appreciated man, thanks. And yeah, I don’t give myself enough credit for that. I guess I get so caught up in the guys already in the music full time so despite how much I do it always feels like it’s not enough. It took me a long time to break away from that psychological hold I got from my parents to just “do it as a hobby”. And even today I still encounter people that recommend that. Everyone is so quick to put the job and career first and then just leave a little slice for what you really want. I always knew that wasn’t enough for me. So I’ve been working hard to make sure I never lose sight of what’s important in life for me and to not be derailed by what everyone else recommends is best.
Chasing super technical crap completely burned me out with my music. And by technical I’d sit there for hours trying to make sure a sound only lasted for a certain period of time. I had this absolutely insane compulsion to have everything fit neatly, flawlessly, nothing overlapping, basically perfection and we all know how that goes. In addition to that I wanted to create super unique stuff, I’d throw out anything that was “plain”.
And thinking about all of it. Why did I do it? Why was I so obsessed? I seriously questioned it. I kept telling myself for years I was just dedicated to the craft. But really I was just basing all my self worth in it. Now a lot of the stuff I learned was useful and a lot of the obsession led me to things that I’m now utilizing. But along the way I became a slave to it vs the music energizing and fulfilling me.
There’s a lot I’m questioning about life in general right now. I feel like I’m paused and I need some time to re-assess everything I’ve ever been told about what I SHOULD do.
I’m kind of thinking about INFPs/HSPs and Reconciliation
It’s always dicey to make generalizations based on personality type, but here goes one anyway. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.
It seems like there’s this tendency for INFPs to go really hard on self-improvement. I’m thinking that it comes from 1) the power of that Ideal vision and our desire to realize it, and 2) that unfortunate reality of having personal qualities that are not ranked highly on the cultural totem pole.
We wouldn’t have been satisfied anyway, but the weight of socio-cultural judgment (or non-valuing, anyway) adds insult to injury.
Which brings me to reconciliation. I feel like I may have been living with reconciliation already since long before I ever played a subliminal. Coping with overwhelm is so normal. I don’t know which part is reconciliation and which part is the overwhelm I was already dealing with in the first place.
That may not actually be an INFP-specific issue. But that’s the lens through which I was regarding it.
I just haven’t found a whole lot of truly terrible reconciliation happening, but I’m pretty sure a lot of reconciliation has happened. I think it’s just that I treat it the way I’d usually treat overwhelm.
What’s your experience of reconciliation like as you work through these programs?
Like you, the reconciliation doesn’t seem new to me. I would say that my entire life has been filled with a bunch of cognitive dissonance. And I personally believe that’s what reconciliation is. Two or more competing beliefs in your head. Same here before ever starting subs, I’ve just always been “different”. And its been a constant battle of just figuring out what’s good for me vs what people and society pushes on me. And there’s no facts or anything behind any of it. That’s the troubling thing. It’s just my intuition and feeling on it and I have to trust it, but then we loop back around to the fact that that kind of knowledge or awareness isnt fostered and at times criticized in life for being illogical.
Yeah so I can’t say subs have been any different to what I’ve already experienced in my life as far as reconciliation goes. I think a lot of your insight is on point. Especially the self improvement thing. Ive found myself at moments realizing the self improvement coming from a place of shame vs positive self growth for me and only me at times.
I definitely relate.
That’s so interesting.
You know, one turning point happened for me when I was in my 3rd or 4th year of college. I took a class entitled Primate Origins of Society or something like that. It’s funny because I didn’t actually get a very high grade in the class, but one aspect of it really changed my life.
We spent quite a bit of time in the class just watching videos of various non-human primates going about their business. It was a valuable meditation for me. On the one hand, I was able to gradually soak in how similar we are to our close evolutionary relatives. On the other hand, for kind of the first time in my life, I was able to observe that as different as I seemed to constantly feel to other people, I was much more similar to any human being than I was to them. (Well, in my own estimation, anyway. ).
I felt SO different growing up that the above experience was actually really major. It downgraded the difference a bit. It was like ‘Well, you’re different, but you’re still a different sort of human’.
Yes. I actually think everyone else is in the same situation. They just aren’t confronted with it, so they don’t have to deal with it. But when your basic patterns of thinking and perceiving are undercut regularly, you sooner or later learn to face the arbitrariness of social and cultural norms.
In my own case, I think I literally had to study cultural anthropology in order to make sense of my life. Maybe another option would have been to travel the world and experience first-hand how protean our human social and cultural structures really are. In my case, I did it through reading, learning theories, and watching videos. The normal reason for studying cultural anthropology is that one is fascinated by ancient and contemporary cultural forms, maybe archaeology, or linguistics. Perhaps you liked Indiana Jones and wished to do his job. Not me. I was studying it to find a way to be on planet Earth.
And it actually helped too.
Kind of wish I hadn’t needed to study it though. I think my nature is to learn primarily through contemplation and only secondarily through intellection. But that’s another question.
That does seem like it would put things into perspective better. Those base needs and desires that makes us all human. Thanks for the perspective.
I was thinking this exact thing when I was reading your first paragraph. My self imposed isolation I think pretty much kept me away from those experiential discoveries.But I think it’s definitely an early childhood/adolescent thing for me. Being different just enough growing up to be a bit of an outcast. It has a domino effect later on in life and I know for me I still have that loner/outcast mentality to me. It’s hard to shake because it was built on first hand experience in a very primal way. It’s a shift from “I’m different and that makes me unwanted” to “I’m different, but it doesn’t matter”.
Heh heh. I might not put it quite so disparagingly. I’ve learned to truly honor some of those base needs.
But, haha, fair enough.
Sheesh. Yes. This makes me wonder if there are INFPs all over the place having this kind of experience.
I have met INFPs who seemed not to feel this way, but, you know, it’s not like it’s truly visible from the outside. I guess that to know someone felt this way, you’d need to have a way to speak to them in a very genuine way.
You know, when I was about 15 or 16, I read a book by M. Scott Peck entitled The Road Less Travelled. It introduced the author’s ideas and experiences as a therapist/psychiatrist. It thoroughly inspired me (that same Self-Help orientation in action). I determined then that once I moved away from home, I’d seek out a therapist and then maybe I could finally transform into something better/uncover my potential/etc., etc., etc., blah blah.
I did it when I got to college. First I went to the phone book and sought out a hypnotherapist. It was not the mystical metamorphosis I was hoping for. Then later, I went to the university counseling center (continuing the search). I was 17. I remember that the therapist never ‘really got it’.
Oh, yeah didn’t mean for that to come across as disparaging. Quite honestly I could probably use some more acceptance of those base needs vs being in denial about being some superhuman.
It’s definitely a trend I’ve noticed as well. There’s a certain strength in INFPs that also seems like a curse. What we absorb is held onto, a lot. It’s like an energetic impact that just causes ripples of waves outwardly towards the future. Some INFPs kind of hit the lotto with their environment growing up and that energetic impact set them up for future success and happiness. Almost like they can’t fail because underlying drive pushes them forward at all times in a positive direction. Whereas others have this unrelenting tear down of themselves that has to be stopped first. But either direction is a powerful force, just seems like some of us don’t get to choose which way that goes when we are young.
I can relate to the therapist thing. I also went to a hypnotherapist and oof, what a terribly patronizing experience that was. I essentially got told “you’re creating this anxiety and depression, all of it”. Then she did some relaxation thing, threw some NLP around by getting me to visualize the anxiety as a block of ice and to “melt it away”. I won’t paint every therapist with a broad brush, but that experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth for sure. 1 because I knew every technique she was using and they felt shoehorned in 2 because she blamed me for making it more difficult. I admit I’m a difficult subject but that was her job as a hypnotherapist to build rapport and work with me, not try to have me appeal to authority and just “do what she says”.
And what you said about “not getting it”. Yeah, to have a problem and then going to someone for help only to have them state the obvious, it’s not a good experience. But it is eye opening because here in front of you is supposed to be some expert in a field until you realize they are just human and maybe they aren’t actually good at what they do. You want to trust them, but how can you trust them if they aren’t even understanding you? That sounds arrogant now that I say it, but putting blind faith in therapists always seemed to cause more harm than good for me.
I feel that therapists are like explorers and ‘guides’ (to some extent) in the inner, experiential world. In a sense, there are two dimensions of competence for us to consider.
The first is competence in dealing with areas that the therapist knows and understands. In other words, when it’s appropriate and timely to apply a particular method or intervention, is the therapist able to do so in an effective and efficient way. That is important, but…
The second is more what we’re talking about. When faced with an unfamiliar area (like an explorer who moves into a kind of terra incognita), does the therapist have the ability to effectively develop a working map and growing familiarity while not losing that connection and relatedness with the client.
Therapists who have a strong need to present themselves as competent authorities, ‘experts’, or ‘specialists’ are likely to do more poorly in that second area. That’s the area where the ‘don’t know mind’ that zen practitioners work so hard to achieve is the required strength. When it comes to the unknown, not yet understood areas of the client’s experience, a therapist needs to be ‘expert’ in ‘not knowing’ in a supportive manner.
Connection and relatedness are based on genuineness. If I, as a therapist, have hang-ups about being transparent in my learning process about you, as a client, that is going to disrupt the sense of being connected. If I try to compensate for my sense of unfamiliarity by leaning more heavily into my ‘expert’ role, it will further reinforce that disconnection and most likely also contribute to a perception that I am being patronizing.
At the core of it, I think, is the vulnerability of admitting that I genuinely do not (yet) know. That can be a scary space for a therapist to inhabit. And the anxiety of that space can be reinforced when a client seems to urgently need or desire for the therapist to be an expert on the topography of the client’s inner world.
That makes a lot of sense. I’ve been thinking about giving therapy another try lately. But I definitely need someone to work with me as a whole person. Not give me breathing exercises and techniques to “manage” anxiety.
As always thanks for the insight. I’ve definitely learned I don’t respond well to authority figures so finding a therapist that works with me, that will definitely be a large part of it.
An equal. Someone who can work with you as an equal.
I think that’s what I’d seek also.
Life is legitimately challenging. Experiencing difficulties does not make you inferior.
There are probably no final ‘answers’, but having the resilience to face the questions without losing hope is probably worthwhile.
And there is this:
Sometimes the therapist may help with that upper right quadrant. But they should be aware of and interested in all four of them.
Well I’ve been struggling for a while now. More of a silent struggle. I’m moving along in life but it feels like I’m dragging a boulder behind me. I think I definitely am going to start seriously looking into a therapist.
I know the subs have helped, but I probably put too much expectation in them for where I was coming from. Or rather I can’t do all this on my own. And I’ve actually been causing myself more distress by trying to shoulder all this on my own. I guess that’s less of a pride thing and more a consequence of not being able to let people in and finding a way to work around that.
Keeping in mind they are an equal will help. I know I used to feel a lot more worthless so I’d put people above me. That led me to just going along with the therapist without getting benefit.
Just thinking about it more, maybe I’ve understated the psychological impact a lot of this has had on me. I’ve done that all my life with my emotions. Trying to assume it’s not a big deal, but having it manifest in my life. At the very least having some outside perspective from someone in a personal setting who isn’t biased might take some of this guilt off my shoulders for not being able to just pull a 180 and turn my life around.
This therapy thing is probably gonna be a long term goal and what I mean by that is actually finding one. Goddamn it’s disheartening reading advice on how to find one. I still have to make up a list and phone a few for an interview. Trying to avoid anything cognitive behavioral therapy focused as it doesn’t deal with the subconscious at all and seems to have been worse than useless for me in the past.
Don’t worry about the disheartening advice, man. It’s just words.
And therapists are just people, at the end of the day. It’s mostly going to come down to chemistry.
The older you get, the less you need a so-called ‘perfect’ therapist.
Trust yourself. Pay attention to the chemistry. Remember that you can leave at any time.
Here would be my biggest ‘advice’ (if it can be called that):
Dare to speak as yourself and to be yourself. If you feel like you have to ask a person for permission to be yourself, you’ll end up resenting that person. Try to take responsibility for your own journey, as tempting as it is to imagine that someone else may be able to take the wheel. Fuck that. You have the insight and the ability to set your own goals. Instead, look for someone who is able to listen to your voice unambivalently. The sooner you talk in your own voice, the less time you’ll need to waste finding out if the person can listen to your voice.
Here’s a possible device:
Write down a statement that you feel represents you, your unique perspective, your quirks, and your quest fairly well. Tell the prospective therapist you’d like to share something that you feel sums you up reasonably well. Email it to them or let them read it in person if you prefer that. Then let them talk to you about what you’ve written and see 1) how well they’re able to accept it and 2) how well they’re able to understand it. Both are important, but the former is probably more important.
That’s the test and you can see how the therapist performs at it. Make it as challenging as you want. It’s not a mind-reading test, it’s a mind-exploring, mind-accepting, mind-suppporting test.
But it’s not just a test, it’s also a legitimate declaration of what you want from the person. A clear statement of intent does significantly increase the chances that you’ll get what you want.
Thanks man really needed to hear that. I’m gonna work on something this weekend that sums up the entirety of what I’m looking for. Hopefully I find someone I click with. This has been really valuable in giving me a focus for how I should approach this. To be honest I was slipping back into my “I’m messed up and need to be fixed” mentality. The one where I just get desperate and listen to anyone. Not empowering at all. I think it was a sort of regression to my attitude going into previous therapists, but as you’ve stated here there’s other ways to approach therapy that are empowering.
Not going to lie, I definitely know that bag.
Yes, empowerment, man. It’s so key.
Support, encouragement, and just freaking company along the road, can be very valuable resources as we do the work of exploring who we are and how we want to live.
Keep journeying well. More power to you.
Had a spontaneous insight today. The energy behind fear is a strong force. What if the thing holding me back isn’t negative beliefs, but rather the fear behind not having the beliefs and mindset I want? Feeling not good enough is essentially a fear of being perceived as less than in the eyes of others, so the initial goal upon learning that would be to raise that worthiness. But maybe the real goal should be to diminish the fear surrounding it so it’s no longer seen as a survival threat and I’m free to let go of the need to constantly prove it to others.
I don’t like using the word trauma because there are people that go through far worse things than me. But I’m seeing now how these negative beliefs are held in place not because I believe them, but because of the fear they generate in me. A deeper motivating force.
Neville Goddard says something about a bridge of incidents. Basically events that have to happen to bridge you into your new reality. I think that’s where I’m at right now. I keep wanting to think life is a very linear process, but it’s anything but. I’ve been warming up to the idea that there are things in my life right now I’m meant to experience. To learn and grow from. But my mistake has always been trying to “cheat” but my higher self knows better and doesn’t allow that.
There’s always been a desire to control from me. To have circumstances work out exactly as I intend. The irony there is that need to control is rooted in fear and that becomes the center of my universe. Consequently I attract more of the situations I don’t desire. So I’m starting to think my task in this lifetime is to transcend fear. To really understand what freedom is, my freedom not what society dictates as “free”
Try to look at circumstances as neutral not good or bad but just facts. Know that your thoughts about the circumstances in your life that you have is what dictates your outcomes. It’s all in your thoughts w about the circumstances in your life.
You have a circumstance, then it’s followed by a thought, the thought will trigger some type of emotion, and the emotional will drive a certain action which will produce the results that you see in your life. Then that result will reinforce the original thought.
I could just as easily type this in my own journal, but it’s equally inspired by topics we’ve discussed.
I was doing a little personal work/life review this evening. Looking back on the patterns in what has brought me to this point now.
There were a number of bifurcation points where I had a decision to make or something like that. I thought about how I would advise him at those points. (i.e., what in the hell I think I may have learned by this point).
Here’s one: approach life as a set of parameters to be negotiated and navigated; not as an indictment. Pain is not punishment. The fact that you are experiencing suffering or discomfort is not a comment on your worth or your moral legitimacy.
We human beings, like it or not, are attachment machines. We are freaking wired to attach. No one’s arguing with that. But there’s more. The forces that govern attachment are somewhat arbitrary, somewhat amoral. But this makes them no less powerful, no less determinative.
When a tsunami hits, the particular shape of the waves is arbitrary. Where they hit the shore is to some extent arbitrary. At least from a moral standpoint. But no matter how arbitrary the wave shapes and patterns are, if one of them hits your hut, it’s gone. Social/attachment forces work the same for us because of how we’re wired.
If you think that pain is a punishment, there will be many, many, many times where your mind’s meaning-making programs will have chances to interpret arbitrary circumstances as indictments of your errors and shortcomings. But this is not accurate.
The pain of loneliness, of insecurity, of not being approved of, of feeling afraid, and so on and so on. The meaning-making, narrativizing part of our brain is just wired to make that into a narrative with causes and effects, and with heroes and villains. That’s not because it’s accurate, it’s because it’s a kind of intrinsic organismic tendency that supports instinctually-defined agendas around survival, connection, reproduction, etc.
We kind of don’t have a chance with that stuff because it’s already ingrained, online, and running before we’ve got anything like a foundation for critical thought. Oops. sorry. But well…it works. It really motivates us to carry out those survival programs, so…c’est la vie.
I was really just intending to write the first paragraph, but I felt like I wanted to unpack it a little bit. So wrote a few more.
But to recap: approach life as a set of parameters to be negotiated and navigated, not as an indictment of who you are. It’s not personal. You can’t just disconnect from your program, and you wouldn’t even want to. (For one thing, the capacity to ‘want’ is itself a product of the program.). But what you can do is recognize the nature of the program.
You could replace ‘life’ in that sentence with ‘wild tigers’ and it would be just as true. Approach ‘wild tigers’ as a set of parameters to be negotiated and navigated. If one of them harms or kills you, that’s not because you’re a bad person. If one of them lets you go, that’s not because you’re a good person. It’s because you ran afoul of an animal that has the power and sometimes the tendency to f**k a human up. Deal with it respectfully, but that does not mean you have to worship it as a god, or abase yourself before it.
That’s the thing. We humans are innately programmed to worship anything that has the power to harm us or to cause life and death. We can’t help it. It’s an ingrained response. When something has the power to determine our lives, especially the powers of pain and/or death, we fixate on it, and start dedicating lots of our ideas and creative energies to it. We’re meaning-making machines. And much of the time that meaning is made unconsciously. We don’t even know we’re doing it.
Even recognizing this does not do anything to stop me from doing it. But it does increase the chance that I might work to gain a tiny bit of perspective on the programs that continue to powerfully shape me. And then if I work really hard I may be able to respect them without worshipping them.
Much longer than I’d planned.