Whether in different aspects of life or looking at dispositions through different lenses, I think certain qualities naturally go hand-in-hand.
This page is a stub, created on 2020-11-23 (last updated on 2023-02-17). Its contents are notes on the issues and angles I want to address about this topic.
- mind, body, and spirit: intellectual development, bodybuilding, and psychological/emotional growth
- work and non-work life (not work-life balance)
- being fundamentally the same person "at home" and "at work"; manifesting different aspects of yourself in contextually appropriate ways as not being a violation of authenticity
Not all of these qualities are under direct volitional control (they may take years of work to develop), but as I learn more about different ways of looking at and approaching various areas of life, these all seem like variations on the same basic theme:
- growth mindset
- secure attachment
- believing that people are generally doing the best that they can
- believing that people's true interests are fundamentally harmonious
- comfort with uncertainty
- rejection of authority / being willful / independence / "being the wilderness" / immunity from conformity/peer-pressure
- believing in liberty / (classical) liberalism / (laissez-faire) capitalism / rejection of central planning
- being process-oriented
- guilt talk (instead of shame talk)
- positive identity and negative behaviors (as against negative identity)
Other ideas to consider:
- that episode of Russel Brand's podcast with Brené Brown and that one point about her views leading inexorably to certain political views
- role of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
- There's something about assuming that people aren't generally doing the best that they can that's associated with not feeling comfortable expressing needs (assuming others don't want to meet your needs?). If you assume people are generally doing the best that they can, it's easier, maybe, to hold them accountable and express ourselves and our needs. I was wondering what makes it hard to speak up for yourself and what you're wanting. I think it's partly (or perhaps most directly) premised on the idea that others aren't interested in meeting our needs. That seems like the premise that needs to be challenged.
- Eventually experiencing compassion and empathy for an abuser can help you to understand what's going with them and that it is about them and not about you or your own worthiness, lovability, etc. Compassion and empathy for someone who does horrifically bad things can only arise in the context of truly understanding/believing, in a subconsciously integrated way, that people are generally doing the best that they can, and they have failed to select appropriate goals and approaches to achieving them. It does not excuse the behavior, but knowing that other people aren't being bad for the sake of being bad, that they are trying to achieve values and happiness and prosperity (and are just horrifically mistaken, even willfully so in some ways) helps one to identify oneself with the same idea and not condemn oneself too harshly or inappropriately. It helps with true, consistent integration, not just a superficial labeling of "abuser" to "deal with" one's own agony in being hurt. Subconsciously, I suspect that someone who can dismiss other people as inherently bad as a matter of identity can't truly compartmentalize and experience themselves as fundamentally different. How you regard other people in your own mind strongly affects your own experience of their behavior. There's a connection here to a particular understanding of the idea of "unconditional love".
- What is the role of our media (books, TV, movies) in promoting the idea of some people are actually/inherently bad via their melodramatic battles between good and evil? Have our cultural stories brainwashed us into believing that what we see dramatized in those stories of the "truly bad guy" is applicable to real people in real life? This is especially prevalent in superhero shows/movies, but it's everywhere. Have our stories made us susceptible to imputing evil motives to people who do things that displease/hurt us?
- It's maybe worthwhile to consider the opposite correlations and the compartmentalization that's required to maintain certain contradictions. I'm always disappointed when I hear about people preaching compassion, empathy, and connection, and then I hear them spew hatred (and envy) for rich people, express political/economic viewpoints that are premised on the idea of a zero-sum game (instead of harmonious interests between people), and end up getting mired in "us versus them" dynamics in numerous ways (from casting some people as inherently bad (reflecting their own fixed mindset, belief that people aren't generally doing the best that they can, etc) to myopic obsession with oppression, classism, racism, sexism, etc). There's also a lot of desire for effects without causes, such as supporting laws that compel people to take actions that they might if they were being compassionate, but voiding them of the opportunity to make the choice themselves. And then these people are surprised that we live in a culture where people rebel against being coerced (oppressed!) in that way and then reject the compassionate approach altogether.
- While it may seem silly, avoiding saying "Bad dog!" and instead opting for something consistent with "Bad choice!" is not so much about whether the dog understands the linguistic distinction, but is more about (1) the speaker's experience in dealing with unwanted behavior (and how the speaker internalizes it) and (2) the subtle subconscious signals (body language, intonation, general energy) the speaker sends the dog and what that does to connection and the relationship.
- If someone practices social subjectivism in the realm of ideas, that the truth is whatever other people generally agree on or believe (that what matters is consensus, for instance), it's extremely corrosive of genuine self-esteem, often manifesting in a preoccupation with others' evaluation, one's "brand", one's "reputation". This sort of person will readily believe that only appearances and impressions and others' beliefs matter, not any basic fact of the matter.