living on autopilot
Uncategorized

Living on Autopilot ~ How to Stop just Enough of the Time

A 5-minute stream of consciousness on autopilot living.

Living on autopilot means that you’re not making conscious choices about key elements of your life. If you’re not making conscious choices, what are you doing? Living on autopilot!

Living on autopilot means that your subconscious mind is in charge. This is not a bad thing. In fact, there is no way to live without being on autopilot a significant portion of the time. The subconscious mind plays a vital, directive role in all of our affairs.

Even when we’re pretty sure we’ve made a conscious decision, we haven’t. Research shows that when we think we’ve made a fully conscious decision, we are merely aware of the result (the choice) and did not consciously participate in the mechanics of the decision. The weighing of factors, processing of beliefs and values, assessment of upside and downside, and processing of imagery, sounds, and feelings all happened beneath the surface of awareness.

What does this mean?

It means you’d better be pretty respectful of your subconscious mind – and grateful. But it means something more than that. We can rightly scale back our expectations for how much we actually can live consciously and off autopilot.

Living on autopilot seems to be a requirement if you’re a human being. Given this, what are the options?

Become as mindfully aware as you can. Just participate in the process of your daily life, rather than react to this and that and then react to your reactions. Reduce the inner passivity to which you’ve become so accustomed.

How to Proceed

Practice a blend of mindfulness and NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. To learn what NLP is, click here. Don’t expect to be mindfully present 100% of the time. Take mindful baby steps.

hatred misanthropy
Hate

Five Signs of the #1 Social Infection: Misanthropy

Hatred is the number one social infection and it’s more common than anyone realizes.

Some of us just hate people on principle. There’s even a name for general hatred toward human beings: misanthropy.

Gustave Flaubert – the Frech novelist who wrote Madame Bovary – claimed that he would

…die of suppressed rage at the folly of his fellow men.

That made Flaubert the ultimate hypocrite because no man, including him, is without folly. But I’m sure that didn’t stop the hatred. Hate is not concerned with hypocrisy. Haters just gonna hate!

Are you a misanthropist?

Here are some signs that you hate humanity.

1. You know you hate people.

This may be the simplest sign. You already know you hate people and tell yourself (and others) how much you can’t stand everyone. Done. If you not in denial of your love for humanity, you’re a misanthropist. Congrats.

2. You feel urges to escape.

Oh, you might call this social anxiety, but I have a working theory that so much of social anxiety is suppressed hatred toward people. You subtly tell yourself how people will not like you. They judge you. They’re gonna hate you, right? But this is little more than casting your hatred upon others and punishing yourself with it.

3. You get wonky because of normal people things.

Like waiting in line, engaging in small talk, and mixing it up at a cocktail party. These are all things people do. You get to the store, grab your grub, and head to the checkout line. Oops, it’s a long line. And you’re instantly pissed. These idiots in front of me will take all day. You hate people for being in a line ahead of you. This is no reason to hate anyone unless you’re a misanthropist.

4. Forecasting doom and gloom

So you’ve got some people stuff to attend to and you begin predicting a bunch of b.s. that probably isn’t going to happen.

  • God she’s going to be late and screw up the evening.
  • I shouldn’t have to do this for him.
  • Why do I get stuck with these schmucks who can’t do anything right?

5. You don’t enjoy people for who they are

Imperfect beings. That’s what people are. Maybe someone isn’t as smart as you. Maybe they don’t have certain skills that you have.

The hidden danger in hating everyone…

Yes, hatred for humanity can destroy civilization as we know it but most haters aren’t dangerous to anyone but themselves. The lurking vulnerability is to your health.

Hating everyone is at direct odds with being a person. We’re social beings. Unless you become a hermit, you live among people and must interact with them. You need others to survive. So you play along, suppressing your seething rage toward others whom you can barely stand.

The suppressed rage causes ongoing stress at every encounter with others. The hatred is always there, threatening to pop up and cause real damage. You can’t act on your misanthropic impulses or you’ll end up in jail. Push them back down. They pop up again. Now you’re in a stressful tug-of-war with yourself. Your existence is an ongoing dilemma. It sucks! You could even end up hating your entire life.

Psyche Parts

What We Fail to Recognize Most About Our Inner Selves

Selves. Plural.

Like the brain, the psyche is a complex entity, made up of several parts. And like the brain, these parts don’t always agree on the best course of action. Often we feel conflicted or push-pulled in multiple directions to our great distress.

Conflicting parts of the psyche can add up to a mess, as in the following examples.

Isn’t it wonderful when you:

  • Procrastinate and feeling guilty for procrastinating.
  • Commit to a clean diet and exercise and blow it right away?
  • Love your partner and are afraid to get close?
  • Want to start a business but avoid starting it at all costs?
  • Decide to speak up and then freeze when the opportunity comes?

How are these situations even possible? I suppose you could say claim that you simply change your mind. You’re all motivated for your exercise program, but you change your mind and avoid exercising. Well, you DID change your mind in a certain way.

The part of you that hates fitness came out and had its turn to play. This fitness-hating part decided to go for a few beers and Seinfeld reruns. In these moments – when you’re grabbing a beer and heading for the couch, you do NOT care about fitness. You don’t want to lose weight. You have a completely different agenda!

Parts inside you have conflicting goals. When the fitness fanatic inside you is front and center, you’re all hopped up on the prospect of getting ripped. And when the couch potato comes out, it’s time for a cold one and a warm sofa. Yeah, having parts is maddening.

But it doesn’t have to be confusing.

Psyche Parts

The Manager and the Firefighter

According to Internal Family Systems, our internal parts have roles. Some are managers who attempt to steer our thoughts and behavior away from perceived pain. They manage their way through it, trying to avoid trouble.

Then there are firefighters. When the managers fail to avoid pain, firefighters come to the rescue.

As adults, we typically don’t appreciate the depth and breadth – and importance – of these personality aspects. Because of our conscious ignorance, we remain in a vicious cycle that began in childhood and most often perpetuates itself all the way to the grave. And we’re none the wiser. Oh, we complain, but you probably understand how helpful that is.

How My Manager and Firefighter Work Together

One of my managers is a non-joiner. He hates people and all that social life entails. He developed as a result of being on the receiving end of a lot of pain. Abuse from my brothers. Minimal social stability. Growing up without friends. Isolation and pain. The non-joiners job is to prevent connection with other people, who are not to be trusted.

Because life is a social event, the non-joiner can’t avoid people. Oh, he makes a valiant effort. I’m more socially isolated than most. But other parts of me enjoy people. And the people closest to me? I want to be connected to them. But the non-joiner is staunch in his resolve. No one, not my wife or kids or any friends, is immune to his skepticism.

Alas, people are unavoidable. Connections, obligations, and the simple presence of other people surround me. I want this. This is life on Earth. But not to my non-joiner. To him, this situation is poisonous. Bless his heart, he fails to avoid social contact. This is where the firefighter comes into to deal with the emergency. The firefighter rescues me from the burning building of social life.

How? By escaping in any way it can offer. Escape into food is a favored method. Escape into non-activity and isolation. Into depression. Into a void. But mostly stuffing my face with food. The firefighter – whom I think of as an alien from another world, wants to snatch me up and transport me back into pleasure. Instant gratification is a way to eliminate the terror of being in relationships.

Food. Television. Self-indulgence. Let’s get some pleasure rolling and stuff this pain! This alien firefighter has tricks up it’s sleep. It hijacks my conscious mind and steers me toward relief. It’s not sustainable relief and long-lasting joy. These are not the realm of firefighters. They want to get you out of the burning building as quickly as possible, with no thought for future plans.

Psyche Parts

The Mess in my Head

Part of me is traumatized. It screams:

  • I didn’t do anything wrong!
  • Why is this happening?
  • It’s not my fault!

I don’t know what to call this part of my psyche. A howling child. The devasted part of me. It’s a bundle of pain that is trapped beneath the surface. When it comes out, I feel that pain – as if I am launched back into reliving the abusive days of my youth. So, there is a screaming, howling, writhing, trapped and helpless splinter of my psyche buried within me.

I don’t live out my days in consciousness of this part. I keep it down. I don’t want, I suppose, to deal with it. This is where other parts of my psyche come in.

I have a therapist part. The therapist attempts to use healing techniques to feel better. But it backfires. The techniques don’t reach the howling part. It’s in pain but so repressed that it doesn’t come to the surface often enough to “receive treatment.”

And the therapist part of me seems to be more concerned with coming off as a wise therapist. To the therapist, problems need to be therapized away. And if we have problems, it means it isn’t a very good therapist. Not functional.

And then there’s the Gatekeeper to the howling part. It’s a part of me that wants to keep the howler down, in exile. In fact, this “non-joiner” part of me wants to avoid everything. Pain and people – because people lead to more pain. Keep the pain at bay. Avoid connecting to people in general because they are fucking assholes who will only cause more pain. The non-joiner part.

And then there’s “Just Me.” This is my main part – who I am. I can handle all this when I am conscious of Just Me. No worries. I compassionate toward my hurt parts and wise enough to manage everything. But….

The non-joiner has a will of its own. Parts are like subpersonalities. You cannot control them, try as you might.

And so I get to know the non-joiner and earn its trust – not because of any agenda other than that alone. I want this part of my psyche to trust me because I am trustworthy toward it. After years of struggling to manipulate myself into change, I am ready to let go and just be with myself as no one ever has. I want to love myself and let everything else go.