Sunday, January 22, 2012

Your Personality in an Irrational World: Remaining Yourself

Ah! A powerful urge to write! I shall indulge, for I don't think I'll be able to concentrate on anything else until satisfied.

As some of you may know, the central theme of my new year's resolutions is mastering myself as a person. It's the year of Self-mastery as I've dubbed it. When I first discovered Objectivism and underwent my original, major change of character I turned out as a person with a very desirable and virtuous set of habits, such as being assertive in public, meticulously and laborious conducting self-study regularly, writing non-school essays for my own benefit, continually chasing ways to better myself, and so on. Ultimately, while I wasn't perfect I certainly was higher in character than I am now. When I got into my major conflicts with my family, which lasted for years, I devolved into a meeker, weaker, more mellow person, falling far from what I had attained (and will strive to reattain this year). What happened is that I was immersed deeply in an execruciatingly irrational set of connections, where at the slightest whim a person could be ignited to yelling. Simple, polite, civilized, and proper questions would be met with shouting. When asked for my opinion I would give it in a decent manner, and more often or not it would cause a person to have a tantrum, meltdown, freakout, and you name it. I was constantly harangued on both big and trivial matters to the point of bullying and harassment, and worse yet the discussions were often like tape recordings. Oh, it was miserable.

I think a lot of what I've lost, as such, is the result of my having had to adapt to a total saturation in this insanity. Given how consistent, over-the-top, and downright unpredictable it was, I watered myself down as much as possible in order to avoid these conflicts as much as humanly possible. The frustrations were just so damn consistent: I was dealing with it every single day. I've made incredible progress on recomposing myself, but I'm still far, far away from where I want to be.

While bartending today I realized that, while I may never have to deal with irrationality that thoroughly again, I will always have to deal with irrational people, and, at worst, that irrationality could at least be severe enough to take up a significant portion of my days. If that ever becomes the case again, then what can I do to resist and overcome that kind of pressure to be meek to avoid strife? Furthermore, how can I actually go on to continue developing my personality for the better when better people aren't around to aid in that process?

I ask this question and worry about it since I now realize that in order to fully go forward with my life I'm going to have to answer both of these so that I'm better equipped to fend off irrational influences. It's always a help to develop your set of ideal character habits in the presence of ideal people who won't irrationally punish you for that endeavor, so what do you do when you don't have those people and instead have to resist those who have temper tantrums, force their psychological problems (such as begging for your approval to make them feel better), constantly bring up dead and resolved subjects, and so on?

Overall, I want this consideration to tie into my emotional health goals, as my pursuit of emotional health will inevitably have some visible, concrete effects on how I act as a person, so I want to pursue this as a side of the mental health coin.

I'll write more when I have more thinking invested, but what say you?

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