Saturday, December 10, 2005


One could easily go too far with this self-help/self-psychoanalysis stuff. However, so far it seems to have been constructive. It occurs to me that a person could easily pay 50$ an hour for therapy. My past experiences with personal therapy are that it is less helpful for me than simply doing the research myself. The reason why: I assimilate better when reading a book than when talking to a person, because interpersonal stuff distracts me from the actual substance.

Anyway, knowing that I'm not a sensory or practical type person helps me see why I have a tendency to float like a cloud above it all, and therefore ignore the maintenance details in my life. Also, it helps me see why I procrastinate or avoid unpleasantness -- because emotional discomfort really impinges on my idealism in a way that physical discomfort does not.

Seeing that makes me realize I have to be all the more conscious of these weak areas and figure out ways to compensate for them. The index cards have been great. It's all sitting right there and I can just pull them out and use them as a reference point for what to do next. It's simple enough so that I don't get bogged down in paper-shuffling. I can add more details over time, but the groundwork is there. I realize that I'm not lazy or physical comfort-bound. I can easily expend TONS of energy and endure lots of discomfort without too much of a problem once I engage. And there's the part that doesn't just come by itself.

Reading the procrastination book makes me realize that I spend a lot of energy avoiding psychic discomfort. Decisions, disapproval, uncertainty, are all extremely hard to bear for me. It's strange though that when I know it's important enough, those things are no longer hard. It's just that most things in life aren't that clearcut to me. It has to be something basic, like the welfare of a child or a definite moral principle.

So to manage that I have been trying to consciously put myself in harm's way, so to speak, proactively, in a controlled setting. Now that will have to stand for now because it makes me anxious to put it down like that. And that's not really how I do it. It's more of a mindset that I will be conscious of my anxiety and just move on anyway because the goal is more important.

Also, I've given up negative self-descriptions, which is a "shy" habit of mine I've acquired over time. It hasn't been that hard to stop once I was aware of it.

Generally, I have invested a lot in going for the minimum. Why is that? I think it's because success doesn't have much value for me, while failure has become invested with tremendous significance. In other words, psychically, going beyond the minimum is like gambling a a $1000 to gain a fiver. Maybe even worse than that, because recognition of any success has always embarrassed me and made me uncomfortable, so it's like getting the fiver and then having to use it to get out of a debt or something. Realizing how I've unconsciously set it up, I can get past it better. St Therese said she could always do more from love than from fear, and that is the way I'm set up too. I am not gifted at being loving, but there is more room to grow there for me.

One last note in this awareness entry. I am primarily a melancholic. Melancholics are perfectionists and I'm no exception. While I have trouble engaging in practical, sensory details, I become very demoralized when things slip because it falls short of my ideal. I am finding it healthier these days to encourage my inner perfectionist (in a healthy way, not indulgent) rather than ignore it.

Oh yes, and because I'm trying to tolerate the discomfort and anxiety of dwelling on challenging sensory things, I realize how sensorily defensive I am in some ways. Depriving myself leads to sensory seeking in other ways, which may explain my eating habits and my coffee drinking and also my tendency to over-collect and under-utilize things.

For example, I go to a message board or a blog that describes hands-on projects or some form of "real learning". It makes me anxious and overwhelmed. Tolerating that feeling for a bit makes me realize that part of the anxiety is longing -- like when Aidan used to try to bring a toy to his mouth to explore, and then some force would seem to turn it away about an inch or so from his face, and he'd substitute his hand for the toy.

By the way

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