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A Beautiful Mind

Theory of Situational Acknowledgment

Posted on 2011.12.10 at 08:45
Current Location: 67114
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I know, spirituality to you is a load of mumbo jumbo, but it does help people find peace with themselves. I'm not talking about religion. I'm talking about shedding yourself of guilt, of anger, of ill-feeling, of anything that makes you feel shame. And then you can focus all of your energy on ascending. I don't know what you truly believe about yourself. For all I know, you use your intelligence to compensate, to make yourself feel better for other things you think you may lack - I don't know. But maybe you could start reading your own mind? ~ Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Stargate: Atlantis [to Rodney McKay after he triggered an Ancient device which increased his cerebral activity and allowed him to read minds] (The Tao of Rodney)

In the not insubstantial task of attempting to catalog not only my own behavior, actions, intents and motivations but those same concepts in other key players, I have not only run across an old pet peeve, but have several times found myself spewing the same pet peeve I despise in others! I ask you, how is that even possible? Complexity. Given the complex nature of intertwined intellectual and emotional tendrils, separating them has not been a simple task. And this gives rise to sloppy secondary control mechanisms when wholly focused on completely draining primary mental activities.

That finally answered, I required a definition for this peculiar occurrence that I was now falling prey to myself. To set some ground rules, why yes pulling this plank from my own eye first gives me jesus-authority to remove the speck from yours! Additionally (and more secularly) since I don't live in a glass house that clearly affords me the freedom to throw rocks. Hey, I didn't make these parables up, I'm simply following them. That being said, let's discuss (y)our shortcomings!

So I have this aversion to substantiated wistfulness, with a side of expectation. Its complicated. Anyway, while I myself was prone to deep pining during the Romantic Period of my life, I've grown quite accustomed to the whirlwind events of what I like to call, "life" and the many changes it brings. And I assume that everyone learns about the same lessons about life that I do, and that if they haven't yet, an explanation of that lesson should be sufficient. Not sufficient enough for it to replace their actual experience, but enough to understand where I'm coming from. They don't have to live their life the way I live mine, but I do expect them to be able to comprehend my point of view as I attempt to comprehend theirs. So far so good?

Right. So my theory attempts to minimize that woe-is-me feeling of melancholy when you are aware of the events surrounding its conception. Surely by understanding the steps which precipitated the (potential) loss you wouldn't be as prone to its influence. Or would you? If the answer is yes, we're discussing grief and while these helpful tidbits may assist in accelerating the process, it won't supplant it. But if we're not - if we're just talking disappointment, or failed expectation - then knowing the *why* ought to be enough to offset that, right?

I was working on another project today and I required an online English-to-Latin translator. I pulled up the first two which hit on google and after I put in my word, but before I hit "Translate" I double-checked that it was set to English --> Latin. It was, and I proceeded. Much to my dismay it gave me a dictionary definition instead of translating it, and I noticed it had somehow flipped to Latin --> English. I sighed heavily and opened the other tab. It did the same thing! Curious, I looked up the word to discover its etymology - yep, you guys are way ahead of me - it was a latin word already. (And because codekitten is going to ask, the word was quiesce.) Anyway, it dawned on me* that perhaps I was doing that in r/l too? Trying to define things which already were, as I understand them, self-defined. I don't have to explain myself to anyone but myself, and I'm finding that the most challenging of all.

* - What photogoot would call one of my Water Cooler Moments.


michelle1963 at 2011-12-10 15:15 (UTC) (Link)
I don't have to explain myself to anyone but myself, and I'm finding that the most challenging of all.

Very true. However, it is a natural condition to want to be understood ~ especially by those closest to us. And when we can share who we are with those we trust, we often learn more about ourselves and the person with whom we are conversing, which leads to greater understanding of both. It enhances the relationship.

I would make the distinction though between the desire to be understood and the feeling that one must "justify" who they are. On the surface, these can appear the same, but they are in fact very different. One is based on the desire to communicate and become more intimate with another; the other, the feeling of the need to justify, would indicate that the person is insecure and looking for external validation.

michelle1963 at 2011-12-10 15:56 (UTC) (Link)
But if we're not - if we're just talking disappointment, or failed expectation - then knowing the *why* ought to be enough to offset that, right?


When I was researching the characteristics of happy people, I came across the term "recasting". It means that one looks at the situation causing disappointment (or any negative emotion), puts forth the effort to understand it, "recasts" it as growth experience, challenge, opportunity, etc. and then replaces the negative feelings with positive ones.

Upon reading it, I realized that this is exactly what I do. Sure, when I have put substantial effort into something and it does not bear fruit, it is disheartening. But rather than wallow in the disappointment, I immediately begin trying to understand why the situation came to pass ~ viewing the chain of events and the motivations of the players. With understanding comes a philosophical acceptance, and with acceptance I can then learn from the experience, which gives the experience meaning and value.

However, I am often amazed how many people can get thrown by relatively minor events ~ and yes, I understand that these events must not seem minor to them, but why? Each and every day we all have plans, expectations, etc., that do not get met for a variety of reasons. As you said, the challenges and surprises of "life". I factor these things into my reality map. I inherently know that things are not always going to go as planned because I'm not master of the universe. I can't control external events. So knowing this, when something unexpected arises that changes what I am able to do or accomplish it does not devastate me. Why the complication arose is usually easily understood, and I adapt and work around it. I do not spend much time and energy (maybe just a few choice swear words) bemoaning it. All of this occurs in the space of a couple of minutes. A bump in my day, and I go on.

But for others this situation can ruin their entire day. Again, why? How are they viewing this that allows a commonplace complications to cause such an out of proportion reaction?

Edited at 2011-12-10 04:28 pm (UTC)
ehowton at 2011-12-10 16:37 (UTC) (Link)
But for others this situation can ruin their entire day. Again, why?

As you have taught me, many tie their self-identity to tangible things, and ruining self-identity could conceivably have far-reaching effects such as that.
michelle1963 at 2011-12-10 17:46 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the reminder. I sometimes forget how widely encompassing that characteristic can be.
ehowton at 2011-12-12 16:02 (UTC) (Link)
With understanding comes a philosophical acceptance, and with acceptance I can then learn from the experience, which gives the experience meaning and value.

I learned this in my early 20s. So much so that I used to seek out things I thought I may despise and forcibly inject myself into it in ways I couldn't easily extricate myself for two reasons: One, to ensure (test) my hypnosis was correct, and (if not) LEARN FROM IT.

I used to say to all the 20-somethings around me at the time, "Good or bad, you'll learn from it which makes it a valuable experience!"

They looked upon me as if I were a leper.
michelle1963 at 2011-12-12 16:38 (UTC) (Link)
True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.

Winston Churchill

Many people want to be skilled and smart, but they are not only unwilling to undergo the hardships that promote such, they actually fear the lessons. And so they remain stuck.

jobu121 at 2011-12-10 16:26 (UTC) (Link)
I like the quote of "you can start reading your own mind" Stay out of my head LOL. WITCH! sorry for the ramblings but someone else is in my mind. HAHAHAHAHAHA Isn't that they way of the day - blame others for your own faults. Oh well.

Right - grief can be overcome by the pharmaceutical puppets called Doctors when they drop nothing but pills down your throat.

It is a challenge to look inward into ones own mind. It's scary in there my friend. SCARY indeed. Good luck on your quest as for my quest is ever on-going.
ehowton at 2011-12-10 16:36 (UTC) (Link)
[to Rodney McKay after he triggered an Ancient device which increased his cerebral activity and allowed him to read minds.]

Fixed it!
pcofwildthings at 2011-12-10 19:46 (UTC) (Link)
I am prone to mull things over a little too much; I'm talking about situations here. Going over what I did/said, what he or she did/said, throwing in a little fantasy if/then scenario and mentally testing that hypothesis...perhaps this is some kind of imaginary "recasting"? This is usually something I seem to have accepted on the surface and think it doesn't bother me, but then I'll wake up at some ungodly wee hour with those same thoughts swirling. Gradually, I've learned better how to shut that shit down before it gets away on me. Think of something else, focus on the future, even if it's as mundane as what's on the grocery list or menu for tomorrow. Can't do anything about the past or the other person's actions. Call it accepting what is. Call it letting the chips fall where they may. Call it acknowledging what is within my control and what is not, and most of the worrisome stuff is about things beyond one's own control. Maybe even call it some kind of denial, because I think that factors in there somewhere too. It is complicated, as you say.
michelle1963 at 2011-12-10 21:06 (UTC) (Link)
Whatever you call it, it appears you have developed coping skills to banish the unwanted emotions triggered by things you can do nothing about. And that is awesome!

(Btw, that scenario running is an INTJ thing ~ a specific function of the "N". You may indeed bounce between ISTJ and INTJ.)
ehowton at 2011-12-10 21:11 (UTC) (Link)
Wasn't her 'S' like 1%? Hrumph!
pcofwildthings at 2011-12-11 00:38 (UTC) (Link)
Well, it doesn't always work, but it's better than stewing. As far as emotions, it feels more about trying to reduce anxiety than anything else. But maybe (probably) the anxiety results from underlying emotion.

Interesting about the N function. I'd like to know more about that.
michelle1963 at 2011-12-11 00:48 (UTC) (Link)
This site gives a pretty thorough description of all of the functions: http://www4.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/learning/kirby4.htm
ehowton at 2011-12-12 15:43 (UTC) (Link)
That's a GREAT ONE! Thanks for linking. I need to keep a copy of this on my handheld (or a paper-copy in my wallet for all those technophobic Luddites.)
michelle1963 at 2011-12-12 16:44 (UTC) (Link)
I am glad you think so! I refer to it from time to time.

(Ah, the bane of the technophobic Luddites.)
ehowton at 2011-12-12 17:14 (UTC) (Link)
(Ah, the bane of the technophobic Luddites.)

Which may be naturally redundant now that I think of it...
michelle1963 at 2011-12-12 17:43 (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps! But fun, nonetheless.
codekitten at 2011-12-14 13:44 (UTC) (Link)
(And because codekitten is going to ask, the word was quiesce.)
ha! it's like you know me or something :P

to drive home this point, as i was reading this i really wanted to know what you meant by So I have this aversion to substantiated wistfulness, with a side of expectation

but if you don't want to elaborate it's fine...just seems to be a key point in this post.
ehowton at 2011-12-14 14:53 (UTC) (Link)
For something different, I was going to try to express that key point through its construct rather than by example - for while my examples are very accurate representations, in this household they often get confused with *actual* events rather than the similes they are, which opens up a whole host of additional problems.

That being said, while my post started out being about that key point, my "water cooler moment" made me realize I was going about it all wrong - that if it were something I myself could overcome, I may worry less about it in other people.

So with fresh eyes, let me attempt to reconstruct my obviously failed first draft:

"When you're feeling wistful over something which used to occur and no longer does and/or let down because you expected something to transpire which didn't - if you know the series of events which led up to your wistfulness or disappointment - that knowledge could be used to alleviate part of the melancholy."

Better? Worse?
codekitten at 2011-12-14 14:57 (UTC) (Link)
which opens up a whole host of additional problems

sorry, sometimes i get lost in trying to understand the whole picture.

better! or rather better for me...not trying to pin you down...

ok, thinking...
ehowton at 2011-12-14 14:58 (UTC) (Link)

As I mentioned in the body of the post, its not an infallible thoery, just a pet-peeve.
michelle1963 at 2011-12-14 15:13 (UTC) (Link)
I remember when I was babysitting a 5 year old boy one evening. His mother had brought some fish home and wanted to keep them alive to stock her pond. Time was of the essence. The little boy threw a fit about not getting to see the fish. I explained that his mom needed to hurry and get the fish in the pond before they died. He wailed, "I don't care." His disappointment over-ran the facts.

Understandable in a five year old. In an adult, not so much. And yet, while not quite this extreme, I have seen adults behave much the same way, allowing their disappointment to over-run any extenuating circumstances.
ehowton at 2011-12-14 15:35 (UTC) (Link)
Allowing disappointment to over-run extenuating circumstances.

That's EXACTLY the succinctness I was hoping for!
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