False Modes of Being

The Six False Modes of Being I’ve Identified so far: The Heart of Negativity, Emotional Vampire, Dull Giant, Philosophy Knight, Demanding Critter, and Emotional Cynicism

Today my Self-Doubt was fed up with always having to struggle to get things done. You know the feeling: When you try to do something, but then all these other thoughts come in that make you want to just forget about what you wanted to do, and engage instead, perhaps, in some pleasant distraction.

Well, my Self-Doubt (with the help of my Critic), decided it would be a good idea to try and come to a compromise with these parts of myself who were always getting in his way. Rather than fight with them, he thought he could get them to all come to an agreement about what to do.

As soon as he had decided on this task, a number of forces became evident to me. I began to visualize them, and six made themselves apparent at that time:

  1. One appeared like a hawk, hovering over the rest of the forces. An ominous feeling came from it, and it had blood-stained wings. It was extremely negative, so negative, in fact, that I call it “The Heart of Negativity”, thought I don’t know if that’s accurate. This part of you shuts you down with hopelessness, a lack of faith, joylessness, and negativity.
  2. The next (going off the picture above), was one I’d run into before. This was the “Emotional Vampire” – this guy likes intimidating people, finding pointless but pleasing things to do, and doesn’t care how he accomplishes what he wants to. He puts thoughts in your head that get you to start doubting or defending yourself.
  3. This guy, the “Dull Giant”, appeared first. He is concerned with physical needs, and will easily abandon things that you think are important in favor of things like eating, sleeping, exercising.
  4. The “Philosophy Knight” is always checking his beliefs against what is going on. He seems almost mechanical, just thinking about whatever is true or false without much emotion. This side of you decides on a course of action and just keeps going even when it doesn’t make sense.
  5. The “Demanding Critter” gets impatient, angry, uptight, and creates a huge fuss whenever it’s not doing something it wants to do. And when it is doing something, it often does it for reasons such as: proving a point, winning, getting some cheap feeling of superiority or excitement.
  6. “Emotional Cynicism” is the part of you that frowns at “Free Hugs” videos. He doesn’t give a crap about all that touchy-feely emotional stuff, in fact, he’s downright suspicious of it. Your idealism, your upbeat attitude, all of them just seem misguided to him.

As my self-doubt soon found out, not only do these guys tend to not agree on anything, but when questioned they get very explosive, giving you those kinds of feelings that, when you want to get things done, make you want to give up. After going through this encounter, my self-doubt decided that it wanted to become more powerful, so it didn’t have to just bend to the demands of these guys anymore, but could stand up to them. Let’s see how that goes.

P.S. I call these guys “False Modes of Being” because the way they go about things seems backwards, wrong, and petty. But then again, these sides of me don’t think so. They’re quite pleased with their mode of being.

Balanced Apologies

Today, someone got upset after I touched some stuff of theirs. At the time, I had no idea that this person would get so upset, and to me what I was doing was no big deal. But to them, it was, and when they found out they got angry, calling what I did as “wrong”. I started to say things like “only according to you” and acted as if I had done nothing wrong or anything I need to apologize for. But at the same time I felt an inner conflict brewing over the issue.

So I separated myself from the situation and went to go utilize the techniques I have to work through the issue. The technique I used here was to just listen to the thoughts with my eyes closed, and get a general sense of the different parts of myself who were in on this debate. The issue, whether or not I should apologize, brought up several responses:

  1. A stubborn, fiery, demanding guy. He said things like, “why should I apologize? That other person over-reacted! I did nothing wrong! And I felt nothing was wrong at the time. Don’t try to force an apology out of me!”
  2. A thoughtful, calm, concerned guy. This guy thought things like, “But… it would be the courageous thing to apologize, the right thing. I mean, there are a lot of people who act the way you do and just act like a brat… Well, what is the right thing to do here?”
  3. A nasty guy who just wanted to gobble up praise from others: “hehe if we apologize then we’ll be thought of as a brave, courageous person. Oh boy!”
  4. A calm peaceful force, which, when asked, admitted that it didn’t care about the issue at all.

The first guy didn’t want to look weak, or put on a show of being pathetic. It knew I had thought it was the right thing to do at the time, I wasn’t “doing wrong”. However, that’s always the case, and I knew that apologizing is important on some occasions, or, if not apologizing, at least something to make it right. The way I resolved the issue was by the second guy saying, “Ok, it’s true we weren’t wrong at the time, but that was because we didn’t know how the person would react. If we had known, we would’ve chosen differently. So, we can at least tell them that.” Then the third guy popped up, getting excited about apologizing because it would make me look good. I decided I did not want to be it about that at all, and would say so as well.

So, when I went to apologize, I did so without getting all depressed or guilt-ridden. I simply said “let’s talk” to the person, then, in order to keep in balance between all sides of myself, mentioned three things:

  1. That at the time I thought what I did was right
  2. That if I had known how the person would react I would have chosen differently. And so, I was sorry for that.
  3. Then (after they said “well it takes a big man to say that”), I told them I did not want to be considered courageous or strong or a big man for saying what I just did. And I explained why. They understood and I got 0 praise after that, thankfully.

And things were made right, the barrier of bitterness was broken down and I could talk openly with this person again. Granted, that barrier wasn’t up long, but it’s easy to imagine that it can stay up for a long time between people. Moreover, after doing this exercise, I now realize how easily I could’ve just gone along with the first voice, and stayed self-righteous. A lot of people go about life this way, always blaming others and never taking responsibility for things themselves. But there’s always holes in the blamer’s argument.

I also realized that an opposite approach can be taken as well. You can punish yourself, and force yourself to feel guilty and wrong because of something that felt right to you at the time. Instead of taking the time to consider the voice that says “I am NOT at fault here”, you can impose an edict on yourself that you ARE at fault and you must apologize. This is also unfair to yourself, and it might be done to just not lose favor with other people.

That third voice, that likes praise, seems like another pitfall, because just wanting to be praised and esteemed by others is not a good reason for doing things, and I feel like it points to hidden insecurity. Remember to address this if you ever do something that others would consider praise-worthy. I guess I would call this ego, and that continuing down that path of collecting praise is one that will just continue to inflate one’s own ego.

In any case, when apologizing, I’d just say that just make sure that you settle all your conflicts about it first before you go ahead with it. Both the knee-jerk defensive reaction and the caring, thoughtful parts of yourself have things to learn from each other. I feel like if you favor one or the other your decision just won’t sit right.