Is the name of the game when you decide that you want to take responsibility for you and your life. At least, that has been my experience. We are trained much like we would train our pets. It is known as conditioning and for the most part it is subtle and primarily done with good intentions. It can also be very damaging, especially if you fall into one of the rarer personality type spectrum. The reason?
The reason is because you process the world around you differently than the majority of the population that the conditioning standard is geared towards. I found that this made me feel isolated and misunderstood, which I understand most people feel at one point or another in their lifetime. My epiphany was when I realized, painfully, that I was actually being misunderstood roughly 99.3% of the time by 99.7% of the population. Now, as an INTJ I secretly loved this fact and simultaneously hated it. No one likes to be that much of an oddity, including an INTJ. Shocking, I know.
I realize that INTJ’s have this cold as ice, aloofness that makes us appear to be sinister, sociopathic, alien masterminds but underneath that façade lies a tremendously insecure being that just happens to lack the emotional intelligence that God gave the rest of the world. We have emotions but it is going to take us a significantly longer period of time for those emotions to be processed and understood. It is also an intensely private process so don’t expect us to share until we are sure we know what we are feeling; this not only gets easier but executed more quickly with age and life experience.
In my case, that insecurity had me making choices that really didn’t benefit me and indirectly anyone else in my circle of family and friends. I somehow, somewhere along the line stopped being me in order to fit in and please those around me. In truth, all I really wanted was to be understood, which sadly never happened. No matter how hard I tried to be “other” than how God intended me to be. I was stressed and with a genetic predisposition towards Bipolar I eventually de-railed like a runaway train. It turns out that stress is a catalyst for all sorts of physical and mental disorders.
It dawned on me one day during group therapy, as I was listening to everyone share their stories, that we were all trying to live up to a standard set by someone else; we were no longer being authentic. It took me several more years to figure out how to make this a personal movement towards self-improvement/self-expansion and hence where the trial and error came into play. I literally had to destroy me in order to become me. I realize that sounds odd but bear with me just a bit longer for there is truth in those old adages of “in order to create something new you must first destroy the old,” and “To be reborn, first you must die.”
Obviously, I am not dead but I don’t think that those adages actually are referring to a literal death; it is more along the lines of a symbolic demise. Symbolically, I needed to let go of who I thought I was supposed to be and just be…well…me. I was soon going to realize that this epiphany was the easiest part of my self expansion. I found myself at the edge of a precipice, before me an abyss and behind me a catastrophic storm. I clearly understood that I couldn’t remain where I stood; I had to make a choice and neither option was preferable.
Photo: Scene from a Train; Rajasthan, India
Taken with a Nikon DSLR 5300 by Pamela