The Need For Others

An introvert risking being seen

It has been a few days since I last posted here, busy days. Today is another busy day for the most part, but I am able to find a bit of time for this place. So what has kept me so busy? Well, it is a combination of things, mostly garden work, long countryside walks, and some work on my various writing projects. With sunny days and warmish temperatures, it is hard to sit inside and write. These days are very numbered as deep autumn and winter tend to rush in at the first opening. As a result, here I am, writing before the sun rises for another day.

When I talk about psychological concepts, I find that I somehow embed a bit of Buddhism. It isn’t because I am a Buddhist. Though I once took refuge in Buddhism, I found out like with most things in my life, I couldn’t commit to being contained by this philosophy, or even less by the religion. Regardless, I found a lot of resonance between Jungian psychology and Buddhism. And that, enlarged the lens through which I see and understand the world.

The same holds true for naturism. There is no doubt that being nude and knowing that one is nude has a powerful effect on the psyche. Like everything else, humans are ranged along a line of tension in response to being nude. At one end, there is extreme distress and at the other end of the polarity is extreme bliss. For most, we find ourselves somewhere between the poles, just as we find ourselves somewhere along the line between introversion and extroversion. Now, it must be noted that one rarely sits still between the poles. Different times, different days, different circumstances will have us constantly shift towards one pole or the other. However, when the psyche is at rest, there one’s authentic is revealed.

One’s authentic self is also revealed in relationships. Relationships are messy, and they aren’t limited to face-to-face relationships. Aside from the need to be in relationships [this is also variable] and the biological imperative, there is a psychological dimension. It is only through interaction with others, and in particular a significant other, that we can finally come face-to-face with ourselves. We are drawn like a moth is pulled to a light in the darkness, to an “other.” Sometimes it is about love, sometimes it is about hate, and sometimes it is about a sense of being safe and protected. There are other reasons, but all have the same intent, one that comes from within one’s inner, unconscious self. What pulls us is part of our internal shadow that is projected onto the other. With no “other” all that is left is a substitution with material objects or with “pets” who are given human qualities, we anthropomorphize.

We need an other to engage with and confront if we are ever to know ourselves. I have put something called the Jo-Hari Window here to illustrate just how important the “other” is when it comes to self-discovery. My psych students used to have fun with this as they challenged each other to learn more about others, stuff that others had never disclosed, and about themselves as classmates pointed out characteristics that were known by them, but blind to the self. When one really thinks about it, almost everything we do and say when it involves other people, whether that other is friend, enemy, lover, offspring, stranger – it all is driven by biological and unconscious psychological imperatives.

I write, you read and you see. Any response on your part says more about you than it does me. Any response on your part also gives me an opportunity to discover something about myself if only I dare to listen. Social media is a powerful world of relationship. The moment you or I engage in a response of any kind – a smile, a “like”, a comment, a “share” or any manner of negative response such as “block” or rebuttal – a relationship and all that it entails has been activated. And with that activation, one can turn inward and “meditate” upon what it is inside that has been activated.

There is too much that can be said, so I will leave this as is for now. I hope that some of you, my readers, will have something to offer in response in the comments.

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2 Responses to The Need For Others

  1. rhpayne says:

    I don’t do people well. I do find some interesting enough, but slowly loose interest. I do have a close connection with some like minded people. Those few are my ground. I will always hold them close.

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