October 19, 2007

Introspection Part 2

In my last post on introspection, I remarked, "The hardest and largest effort involved in the process of introspection is observation."  And I concluded, "If the relationship had persisted, the conclusion would have been the same: in romance you have to listen to your emotions for critical feedback about the status of your subconscious evaluations of the relationship."

I don't want to leave you with the impression that you should run your life just following your whims.  There's a second step to introspection.  Once you've observed your emotion in action, you have to identify what value you're responding to.

For example, I am opposed to circumcision and a couple of my coworkers who are fathers mentioned that they would have their sons circumsized.  I pointed out all the reasons why they really shouldn't do that, but they refused to hear of it for no good reason at all. I was outraged. 

In observing this emotion, I identified it as a form of anger.

In order to identify the values I was responding to, I compared that situation to other situations in which I felt that way, like when I found out that my friend's house was robbed or my sister experienced sexual harassment at her work.  Although my response varies in degrees and may be combined with other emotions, by comparing it to other situations, I could identify common threads.

Basically, my outrage about my coworkers circumsizing their sons was a response to injustice.  They're mutilating children who have no way of defending themselves or making an informed decision on the topic.  That is not their body to mangle.  There isn't a good reason to mangle it.  It's a violation of that child's person in an extremely intimate way.

In the course of inspecting my emotional responses, my objective is to sort of map out my subconscious and find out what values I've actually integrated.  It is possible for a person to integrate values that run counter to what they claim consciously.  This is all the more reason to figure out what's really there in your subconscious, but in romance, I think this is even more important.

Reader Qwertz requested some clarification around one of the comments I made in my earlier post that I think will make some sense here.

If you think your subconscious mind is wrong about your relationship (either responding positively or negatively when it should be responding in the other way), being in a relationship is not where you should be while trying to correct it.

I found this part most intriguing.  Might you at some point elaborate on it?

~Q
Here was my response:
Well, let's say you're in a relationship with a person who isn't good to you, but you have the emotional response of something you call love to that person and the relationship -- perhaps even the worse they treat you, the more loyal and committed you feel toward them.

In that case  your emotions are saying, "This is a very good thing!" but your conscious mind is saying, "Dude.  This is totally effed up.  I should not be here."

I'm thinking specifically of people in abusive relationships.  These people feel desperately attached and even in love with the person abusing them, but at the same time they say they know they shouldn't put up with it. 

In this situation, this person has to straighten out the part of their subconscious that is telling them that being abused is a good thing.  They should not be in that relationship, though, and it is unlikely that being in that relationship will help them in making that correction to their psychology.

Now, consider the opposite situation: someone -- perhaps with the same psychological problem -- in a situation with someone else who is absolutely wonderful.  Their partner is successful, happy, supportive, attractive, and madly in love with them in the proper sense of the word and they have a ton of things in common.  There is absolutely nothing that is apparently wrong with that person, but for some reason our subject responds negatively to them or at least does not feel love for them.

This situation is obviously less immediately threatening to our subject, but neither is it fruitful.  They think they should be in love with their partner, but something is wrong; they don't love them.

Again, our subject wants to figure out why their subconscious isn't responding positively to what they claim are their values and they really do want to respond to those value they've consciously chosen.  To do so, they must embark on a process of integrating those values into their subconscious mind.  Again, I do not think that being in the relationship is where they should be while doing this.

So, in both cases, I am of the mind that a person should not be in the relationship.  The bottom line is that your conscious and your subconscious should be on the same page and if they aren't you should consider very, very carefully whether or not now is the right time for love.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 12:32 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: Romance
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October 14, 2007

Trusting Your Gut

I wasn't conscious of what would happen today when I started writing this post last week.

The hardest and largest effort involved in the process of introspection is observation.

Emotions are reactions, not actions in themselves.  The only clear signs that we have that reveal the nature of our subconscious are emotions.  So, in order to understand what your subconscious is like, the first thing you have to do is watch it in action.

In a sense, your subconscious mind is who you "really" are.  It is the compilation of the sorts of things that you hold important in your life.  Not to oversimplify things, but your subconscious allows you to respond instantly to the world around you.

Love is a powerful positive emotion that comes in response to encountering your most deeply held values in another person.

A lot of people ask themselves how they will know if they're in love or not and the only way to answer that question is through introspection.  You have to observe your emotional response to the person in question and see if that emotion is love.

Your subconscious mind may not have your best interests at heart.  I mean, it's possible that it doesn't hold rational values.  This is why some people end up in codependent or destructive relationships; they actually respond positively to bad things.  This obviously causes significant conflict and unpleasantness in their lives.

In my life, I've tried dating the guy who is perfect on paper and it just doesn't work that way.  If the feeling isn't there, it does you a disservice to try to trick yourself into thinking otherwise.  It's such an unpleasant experience.

I've also dated guys who are not the right person on paper, but they had something compelling about them and although those haven't worked, I think it was easier for me to learn from the experience in those cases.

When someone has some obvious characteristic that doesn't work, it's easy to break up with them.  It also seems easier to pick out the things I do like.

It's a lot harder to break up with someone when they're really good and the only thing you have to go on is the fact that you're not having the right emotional response to the person. 

In romance, I think you do have to trust that emotion.  Observe it and try to identify the source, but the emotion you're having is the conclusion of your subconscious mind.  You will not be happy in a relationship unless your subconscious mind is satisfied.  If you think your subconscious mind is wrong about your relationship (either responding positively or negatively when it should be responding in the other way), being in a relationship is not where you should be while trying to correct it.

I'm not saying you should always just up and dump your partner when you think something isn't right.  You have to assess your relationships for yourself depending on what you want out of life, the relationship, and your partner.

Mister Bookworm and I broke up today.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 09:51 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Category: Romance
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