Archives for Inner Life
I have been away from this blog for quite awhile due to a health issue requiring surgery and an on-going relationship issue. Both combined is enough to make me think my life over. At this low point in life, existential loneliness is vivid. I have been questioning: Why do good people experience unfairness? What does love mean? What is my life purpose? Am I the cause of these unfavorable incidents? In dark hours, we are so restricted with what we can see, think, and feel at that time. Being around friends and relatives who don't quite understand how things work cognitively might not help because they tend to relate our specific experience with their past experiences, which can be quite different from what we are experiencing.
In the extraverted world we live in, introverts are oftentimes considered “weird.” In extreme cases, they may have been considered “outcasts.” Many labels are placed upon these quiet and deep-thinking individuals, yet the world needs them to balance out the louder and more outspoken type of individuals, known as “extraverts.” How many introverts are out there? Many studies have resulted differently: 25 percent, 50 percent, or even 57 percent of the world population are introverts. No one knows for sure how many they actually are in general population, but among gifted individuals, introverts are the majority. Of course, not all introverts are gifted. If you think all introverts are shy, well think again. Introversion has nothing to do with being shy or shyness. The latter is about being awkward, uncomfortable, and doesn’t like being around people. Many introverts are comfortable around many people. The main difference between an introvert and an extravert is the source of their energy.
Almost twenty years ago, I bought a small book written by Thomas Nagel titled What Does It All Mean? Since then, I have read it many times over, lost it, and bought it again. Only to have it lost again and, this time, found. This tiny volume is only 101 pages long, which is divided into ten small chapters: Introduction, How Do We Know Anything?, Other Minds, The Mind-Body Problem, The Meaning of Words, Free Will, Right and Wrong, Justice, Death, and The Meaning of Life. This book provided a structure on how I should look at life, its meaning, and death. It is a philosophy book, yet it is so practical and applicable, unlike those esoteric volumes by big names who lived a few centuries ago. I learned to approach every decision and every event in life with a pair of critical eyes and critical mind since I finished reading it in one sitting.
We may not be aware that we are moving forward from childhood to another childhood. According to Carl Jung, the first phase of life is called “individuation,” while the rest is named “transcendence.” Once we've hit “transcendence,” we are likely to hold on to the notion of “innocence,” which is a characteristic of the “childhood” period. However, the quality of “innocence” differs. In “individuation” phase, we are focusing on things and events outside ourselves, with which we learn how to maneuver and polish our survival skills, as well as physical survival and reproduction. In Developmental Psychology, this phase occurs during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. In this phase, many things would create confusion and uncertainty, hence considered the most “turbulent” time in people's lives.
Every one of us copes with life’s expectations, challenges, and turmoil uniquely in our own specific ways based upon individual self-system. According to Toru Sato, PhD the author of The Psychology of Human Relationships, Consciousness, and Development, self-system is “an understanding in our minds that enables us to maintain the energy necessary for us to both psychologically and physically survive.” In short, we all need a good working self-system to maintain a relative peace of mind in performing activities and progressing. A person with “resilient” self-system knows the timing and the amount of holding on and letting go, which would affect feelings, maintain a sense of fulfillment, and overall well-being. While there is no specific self-system that’s more favorable, it is most logical to cultivate resiliency through assimilation and accommodation processes, as Jean Piaget posited. “Assimilation” requires minimal change, while “accommodation” requires registering new information and making it our own that may cause more internal conflicts including repressive thoughts and denials.