July 09, 2008
Have a great summer, everyone!
July 09, 2008
By Rick at 4:24 PM
I really think socionics can be a very practical tool for personal growth and change, not just an abstract discussion topic. Most likely, in some way or another the desire for change in one's personal, intimate life is the primary motive for most people who spend time learning about socionics. However, the personal accounts with all the really interesting and poignant details usually go unsaid in public (I guess forums allow for more anonymity), and attention instead focuses on the theoretical and descriptive shell of socionics. Yet the real driver of socionics is the search for solutions to personal problems. Of course, you can solve all these problems without socionics, just as you can be completely physically fit without ever visiting a gym.
The main motivation for pursuing personal change comes from experiencing problems in one's relationships: with intimate partners (love and close friends), society (social adjustment, work, and casual friendships), and oneself (self-concept and living skills). The strongest motivator is love relationships, because they involve the most aspects of one's being at once, potentially can satisfy the most needs, and hence cause the greatest adjustments and can be the most problematic.
Let's look at some of the common personal problems people who are into socionics may face and what can be done to address them:
"I have never been in a relationship"
In this situation a preoccupation with socionics might not be very helpful at all. It takes hands-on experience to develop the unconscious skill set (effective behavior patterns and natural, uninhibited physical, mental, and emotional reactions) needed to attract a "soul mate," and no socionic or other mental knowledge can provide this. I know of no other way than trial and error. Even if you hit it right the first time and spend your entire life with your first relationship partner, will you really be satisfied with yourself and your successes in this area? (okay, granted a few semi-autistic people would be) So, find the environments for pursuing a relationship that you find the least stressful, and go for it.
What might be wise is to search for information and advice that would address specific fears of yours that might be holding you back from meeting people and having relationships. Simply look for the fear; that is where problems are sure to lie. If the fear concerns rejection, find a place where you can air your fear or find out about how other people have dealt with it. If the fear concerns physical intimacy, find out about stages of intimacy and what to do at each stage, and find a place where you can talk about it comfortably and see how others have overcome problems and fears. If your fear concerns commitment and relationship expectations, learn about different relationship forms and how different people satisfy their needs in different ways. If your fear concerns your own attractiveness, find a place where you can comfortably talk about the specific things that you fear make you unattractive to potential partners. Much fear can be alleviated this way, leaving you more receptive to other people and potentially intimate situations.
"I am depressed or have some other emotional problem"
Look at the types of people you live with and interact with most. Are your Super-Id needs being met? Is your Ego being fully appreciated? This are indeed silly terms, but thinking about socionic functions can help concreticize your personal situation and identify specific problems. People have a harder time being happy and emotionally stable if they do not have a dual among, say, their top 3 confidants and significant friends and partners. Consider changing your living, work, and/or social circumstances to get away from negative stressors and bring a dual or duals into your inner circle. Yes, it really works, even if your choice of duals is somewhat artificial. If you're not sure of your own type or those of others, at least look for people you can trust and feel comfortable around.
"I'm having trouble choosing my path in life"
Learn about your type and what other people of your type have done with their lives. In general, look for people who are living the way you would like, and learn about their biography and background, but focus especially on happy people of your own type. How did they discover their career path and main interests? How did they stumble upon the right opportunities, organizations, and people? What do they consider to be the key to their success? What false roads did they discover along the way? Especially look at people you have met personally, because daydreaming about the lives of famous people can be unproductive. If you have a particular skill or skills that you know would like to base your life on, focus on learning about people with that skill in addition to people of your own type who are content with their lives.
"I can't seem to get along with anybody" or "I don't connect with people"
These are usually sentiments of people who have difficulty or take a long time getting to know and understand other people. Studying socionics theory will help them understand what makes all those "difficult people" tick and will help them to be more tolerant of the things they used to view as "faults" or "defects."
"I'm looking for the right relationship"
Now that you have some relationship experience under your belt, you have probably learned about some of the complexities of relationships and the difficulty of trying to make things work with a seeming vast majority of people. If you've preserved an ideal of what kind of relationship you would like, you're probably ready for some socionics "meat": learning about duality, how your and your duals' types operate, and the roles that different socionic functions play in interaction. It's time to hone your relationship behavior to become as natural, effortless, and spontaneous as possible and provide potential soul mates with what they are subconsciously seeking (I'm speaking of spontaneity in the use of one's functions, not the kind of impulsivity usually associated with irrationality). They will undoubtedly begin to return the favor.
You can get "hints" of how to develop your behavior by studying other people of your type and how they interact with others. Some of what they do may seem "cheesy," but other things will make you say, "I can/want to do that!"
In general, you will need to make sure you have opened up more to Super-Id input and that you are providing "real goods" with your Ego functions, and not just talking or boasting (see also this article). Let's say you're an SLE. Do you dig wackiness and imaginative fun? Do you actively motivate your partners and provide them with real-world adventures? If you're an LII, have you learned to resonate with Joy, or is all you care about the Truth? Do you help others resolve their organizational difficulties and mental madness? If you're an IEE, are you open to the many varieties of physical experience, and do you initiate new opportunities for your partners, and not just talk about yourself? etc. etc.
Many people may find they need to work on reducing inhibitions against "imposing" on potential partners with their strong functions. Your duals are unconsciously expecting to be "imposed upon" (even the feminist ones) in certain ways, and do not perceive your Ego-block initiative as an intrusion on their personal space. In fact, if you don't "intrude" upon their suggestive function, they won't feel deep down that you really care for them.
Finding the right relationship is basically finding yourself. The more you are "yourself," the more likely you are to find the right relationship, and vice versa. This is not because of any romantic mushy-mushy stuff, but because the "right" relationships are grounded in compatible physiological automatisms and impulses (my opinion).