I bet you're confused about the title of this week's post. As each new season comes my memory readjusts. The feeling of the air changes. So as we settle into spring all the prior springs I have experienced come into my mind. In psychology the term that closely mirrors this is state dependent memory. Basically something learned or experienced is easier to recall when you are in a similar state.
Spring is about getting out and greeting the world. Many of us have been sequestered against the cold during the winter (especially this year). My social life has pretty much been on hold since December. This is nothing new. However what has been new in the past year is how much I have socialized. Lately though I find myself retreating into my insecurities into the hermit loner archetype.
This can all be boiled down to heuristic algorithms that my brain has been running for years in social settings. A heuristic is basically an analytical shortcut based on past experiences that is used to navigate situations. Being empathic made social settings uncomfortable a lot of times for one reason. I was very good at sensing emotions but not as good at assigning meaning or distinguishing between my feelings and the feelings of others. So someone would be feeling angry or sad and because of the human tendency to project I would think I had somehow caused it. There is of course a perverse negative narcissism involved here. Basically I made everything I was feeling about me. I took it a step further and started predicting outcomes based on feelings. Now I was really good at this with other people which is why learning to read for people was easy, but when it came to my life I was way too heavy in factoring in my fears and insecurities. In short I was running prediction software with very questionable data.
I bring all this up because I have caught myself doing this recently. I've even indulged in nihilistic confrontational inner dramas. Mostly they involve imagined accusatory standoffs with people. When I snap out of it I realize I am playing at the victim role. It is getting to be a stale role. Those old heuristics just aren't serving me anymore. Maybe they kept me out of some trouble in the past, but now they just keep me out of the fullness of life (and maybe a little bit of good trouble). It is time for me to realize that while I may sense things I am not in any way a neutral observer in my life as of yet, and without that neutrality my predictions for personal matters are inherently flawed.
So what does this have to do with you? Well are you running old programs that are constantly replaying painful dramas in your life? Are you assuming responsibility for everyone else's feelings? Do you project meaning onto others that has nothing to do with you? Perhaps it is time to step back and make sure your heuristics aren't being run by fear. Maybe you need a software patch. What would happen if you asked people what is bothering them rather than assuming it is about you? The thing is most things usually aren't about us even when the feelings of others are directed at us. We make everything about us because we are looking out at the world from our perspective, but perhaps we can try to wipe off any smudges on the lens from now on.
Peace and Blessings,