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Double-Whammy 茶

Posted on 2011.12.06 at 09:09
Current Location: 67114
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"We deem those happy who from the experience of life have learned to bear its ills without being overcome by them." ~ Carl Jung

I am consistently amazed at not only everything I see around me, but everything I also experience no matter the size of that experience. I'm fascinated by the Kansas wind, and the depth of bone-chilling temperatures. I marvel at my children every single day - at their growth, and their articulation of the world as they view it. I shun all negative thoughts and live a full life alone, outside the hustle and bustle of community. That too, astounds all my senses. I never have to speak to anyone in person, outside my wife, my clone, and my children. Perfect.

Consider the recurring pattern in the following 3 examples:

  1. INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.1

  2. They are not generally susceptible to catchphrases and do not recognize authority based on tradition, rank, or title.2

  3. Masterminds [INTJs] do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don't, aren't, no matter who thought of them.3

Now consider this trait of a self-actualized person even if their personality type were the opposite of an INTJ:

Is strongly ethical and moral in individual (not necessarily conventional) ways; Is capable of detachment from culture4


The self-actualized individual does not conform to other people's ideas of happiness or contentment.5

It would appear that I have a double-dose of creating and living in my own reality - not letting my happiness be defined by anything other than myself, and certainly not being constrained by any convention whatsoever. Either one of the two traits would be enormously freeing, but both? Very nearly incomprehensible.

And speaking of happiness, codekitten left THE TOP 5 REGRETS OF THE DYING on my Relationships post, which covers a portion of self-actualization without actually addressing self-actualization and I was astonished to discover two things - one, that I have already accomplished four of the five, and secondly, that there was no mention whatsoever of religion or spirituality. Curious:

  1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
    • This was the most common regret of all.

  2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
    • Working from home 24x7 has provided me a wonderful opportunity to always be available for my children, but I'll have to get back to you on this one.

  3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
    • We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

      (I've done this myself recently and the jury is still out.)

  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
    • This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

People, I have been posting on this last one for years now. Its good to see I'm on the right track. WHY do so many disagree that happiness is entirely intrinsic? WHY do the rely solely upon external influences to be motivated? WHY do so many disagree that happiness is a choice? I've done my part in spreading the joy. I did it for years! I positively affected people - not like Jesus preaching to the masses, much more insidiously - spreading my happiness individually amongst others, and watching them light up one by one, spreading that happiness outward exponentially. Its always truly a sight to behold.

Yet many who read this will they think they too are happy, not understanding that true happiness is being content with what you have right now - today, not tomorrow, not some future date; today - being content emotionally, financially, even perhaps spiritually if that's your thing. If you cannot choose when you're happy and when you're not, you're not there yet - you're not truly happy until you are 100% effective at dialing it in on demand and maintaining it. If this concept seems foreign to you fine - but its not impossible, and its not magic. Its how happy, successful people live.

I've heard it said that if you don't experience sadness, or frustration how do you know what happiness really is? Really? Who here has not experienced those things already? And it not about not feeling sad, or angry, or frustrated - its absolutely about acknowledging them as such and then not letting them affect you. So yeah, I feel those things to from time to time, which must mean I am re-defining and re-asserting my happiness often. Ergo, I absolutely know what true happiness really is. Do you?

"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein.

1 - http://typelogic.com/intj.html
2 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INTJ
3 - http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/mastermind.aspx
4 - http://www.amid.com/werd/15-traits-of-the-self-actualized-person
5- http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/tp/self-actualized-characteristic.htm


michelle1963 at 2011-12-06 18:37 (UTC) (Link)
Double Whammy! Exactly! And yet precisely the characteristics you mention ~ not allowing convention to define our world view ~ is what gives us an advantage in choosing to be happy.

How many people are fraught with the idea ~ promoted by the dominant culture of our society ~ that because they do not have enough love, money, the perfect job, the nicest house, etc. they cannot be happy. This type of thinking, "I would be happy if...," just insures that a person will never be happy. Why? Even if a person is fortunate enough to achieve one or more of the things on their list, the psychology of happiness being dictated by external circumstances assures that when the thrill is gone ~ because the thrill of all things external eventually does fade ~ then happiness becomes dependent on a new external thing. It's ALWAYS just one more thing. Pretty soon, a person has spent a lifetime never being happy.

There is a line from a Sheryl Crow song that seems perfect to this subject:

"It's not having what you want; it's wanting what you've got."

Edited at 2011-12-06 06:40 pm (UTC)
ehowton at 2011-12-06 18:51 (UTC) (Link)
Lao Tzo, the founder of Taoism said something similar.
pcofwildthings at 2011-12-06 18:57 (UTC) (Link)
You can't always get what you want; but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need. ~ R. Stones
pcofwildthings at 2011-12-06 18:53 (UTC) (Link)
I think I'm pretty happy. Now and then I'll wonder if I could be happier and question whether I have just settled for a certain level of contentment, wondering whether it may be pretty low on the rungs of the happiness scale if I were to be able to perceive it as a whole. But then again, whose scale? Right here, right now, I'd say I'm happy. I don't chase happiness, at any rate, as something external. Although the last good steak I ate made me pretty damn happy.
ehowton at 2011-12-06 19:04 (UTC) (Link)
Yes! (And I always leave at least one thing out.) I should've mentioned the importance of questioning it as you have. Its one of those things (and I'm just gonna say the author of Antigone and the King 'cause I don't want to lose my thought by looking it up) like the insanity trial which was won by the question, "If I know who I am, how can I be insane?" Asking the question proves that while you may not actively seek it, you do test against it. Excellent point!

Your steak comment made me giggle. I remember a quote by the editor of (then) CD Review who said, "Money may not buy happiness, but dollar for dollar every buck I spend on music makes me happier than anything else I could've bought with money."

michelle1963 at 2011-12-06 19:02 (UTC) (Link)
I do feel that I would be remiss if I did not address some external circumstances. If a person is truly living in dreadful conditions ~ a war zone, not enough to eat, in other words, basic needs are not met ~ then yes improvement in these external conditions would no doubt improve a person's sense of happiness.

Recovering from the death of a loved one takes time, because it shakes one's sense of security. However, a person does adjust if s/he allows it. It's not a straight shot. One must keeping working at it. Eventually, a sense of equilibrium is again reached.

However, allowing bad weather, an inconsiderate driver, an unexpected inconvenience, a rude co-worker, etc. to ruin one's day ~ totally unnecessary. We all have to deal with these things. Such is life. If these types of things make a person unhappy, it's because s/he's allowed it.

Edited at 2011-12-06 07:09 pm (UTC)
ehowton at 2011-12-06 19:59 (UTC) (Link)
Of course! Which is why I made no allusions whatsoever to time. But your comment on war makes wonder how applicable my new Theory of Situationality (future post) would affect that. I may have to revisit the limits of my definition. Thanks!
michelle1963 at 2011-12-06 21:11 (UTC) (Link)

The point I believe we are both trying to make is that under the usual circumstances of life in mainstream America, given that life-threatening circumstances are not the norm, being happy should not be overly difficult.

If one finds himself being unhappy more often than not, it is because s/he is focusing on the wrong things.

michelle1963 at 2011-12-06 21:16 (UTC) (Link)
Re: situationality. I'm sure the theory has fleshed itself out since you and I discussed it, however, I would offer that there are conditions in the human situation that can be so extreme that it may be hard to encompass them all.
(Deleted comment)
ehowton at 2011-12-06 19:56 (UTC) (Link)
Indeed! I'm attempting to more narrowly focus my scope to the few who experience less contradiction, almost zero consternation and do in fact know who they are (without broaching the existential question of why). But yes, we live amongst them.
codekitten at 2011-12-14 13:01 (UTC) (Link)
I've heard it said that if you don't experience sadness, or frustration how do you know what happiness really is? Really? Who here has not experienced those things already? its absolutely about acknowledging them as such and then not letting them affect you.

my process is more
1) experiencing sadness/frustration/whatever
2) letting myself feel it deeply even if it's painful...i let it affect me for a period of time where i just "sit" in it. usually this part isn't too long...my average for light/medium things is 3 days. obviously if it's more difficult/complex this would be longer.
3) then and only then can i process it, identify what's really going on and then figure out a way to remedy, change the way i think about it or live with it as the case may be.

the quickest way for me to not make progress is to not allow number 2 to happen.
ehowton at 2011-12-14 13:19 (UTC) (Link)
Yes! The acknowledgement phase is a very important step which is often misunderstood by those who do not understand genuine happiness I am afraid. I spent the majority of yesterday "processing" and my wife asked,

"Why aren't you happy? I thought you said you could make yourself be happy?"

"Yes, of course. And this is how."

michelle1963 at 2011-12-14 14:35 (UTC) (Link)
I agree 100%. One must acknowledge the emotion, experience it, in order to move forward. When I was a 20-something, I'd feel a certain way about a situation and tell myself, "that's stupid," insuring that I did not experience the emotion. I learned that if I let myself experience it, it was likely to evaporate much sooner than if I just relegated it to the "stupid" pile.

That said, at this juncture, daily annoyances do not get much time or attention. I'm tempted to say they do not get processed, but I suspect the truth is that they get the same treatment and it lasts about a minute.

Big stuff. Yeah, it still needs to be processed.

I guess I often find it hard to understand why some people must treat the annoying crap we all deal with daily as medium or big stuff. But then perhaps they enjoy the wallowing that I try to get through as quickly as I can.
michelle1963 at 2011-12-14 14:44 (UTC) (Link)
After I pressed "post comment", I realized I had more to say.

For myself, over the years, I would say that things that used to be bigger stuff when I was a teenager or young adult has become little stuff. When a person faces the same annoyances time and time again, it would stand to reason that processing such annoyances would become quicker. Now, the bulk of my processing time is taken up with novel situations for which I have little or no previous experience.

And yet, I have known many people, who do not seem to learn how to deal with the commonplace stuff more efficiently. I can't decide if they are in fact not learning, or if they enjoy the wallowing. Some combination thereof?
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