At some point in High School I was introduced to the X and Y axis. I recall using it to plot and rank girls I liked by (X) Personality and (Y) Attractiveness. Unfortunately, in the world of polygons and geometry the objects of desire to a 17 year-old boy are null. Albeit the image above is my theory on internal states of being interfaced on a matrix. The same matrix that was once used to portray Catherine H** as the perfect girl for me.
The X axis: Love and Hate.
Preserving/securing pleasure is an innate drive humans have. We want to feel good and we avoid things that dont feel good. However, if we can tolerate discomfort it may cultivate personal growth, as intolerance directs us towards ignorance.
Although we tolerate discomfort, its only with the understanding that this discomfort represents a sacrafice one makes to acheive something favorable. In this sense dislike is much more tolerable than hate; it is in the blinded position of hate we are unable to envision something possibly favorable on the otherside. Conversly, perhaps it is fear that maintains hate as there is a fear that we may fall in love with what we understand.
There are probably few things in life we actually hate and actually love, but there are likely plenty of things that we avoid and appreciate. Then, like most things (e.g., bills, traffic, inflation & aging) we tolerate.
“People fear what they don't understand and hate what they can't conquer.” -Andrew Smith
The Y Axis: Understanding and Fear.
The quote by Andrew Smith is a great segway to introduce the Y axis. People fear what they don't understand- Fear is an internal indicator that there is a threat. This indicator is significant in our lives as we need it to defend ourselves from potential harm. Fear in this sense is a great intuitive emotion to have; however, you may want to examine if your life, wellbeing, or safety is indeed threatened. It's likely (especially if you're in a postion to read this) what's actually threatend is your sense of security. When our sense of security is threatened we employ fear to somehow re-establish security (or predictability for those that have experienced trauma or substance abuse), because fear will protect us.
Therapy brings awareness and understanding to your sense of security, and why it's under constant threat. Once equipped with a better understanding of where our fears come from and why we feel under constant threat to external circustances the power of fear decreases. If we can tolerate pain, become curious about pain, and understand it than undestanding becomes the protection function so that fear is no longer applicable.
"Knowlege is power."- Francis Bacon.
We hate being sick, disabled or paralyzed because it exploits our powerlessness. In a powerless state we rely on others. While depending on others, we're vulnerable to feeling rejected, impotent or as though we're a burden and we hate these feelings associated with dependence. Therefore, we move towards independence in fear of having these feelings associated with dependence- in fear that our needs won't be met when we rely on others and/or that in being dependent we are open season for our vulnerabilties to be smashed. Which is why competence/ to do things on our own, feels so good.
-I love this quote that describes the internal state of being of an infant:
"Am I crying too loud so they'll leave, or am I not crying loud enough where they wont hear me."-Unknown
In expressing my needs will I push someone away or does this someone even acknowlege the neglect I'm experiencing at all...do they even care.
Vulnerabilities experienced in dependency- it's terrifying.
Unfortunately, when we examine the conditions of our existence and our capacity to thrive we'll come to discover that it is based upon the care and existence of others.
The opposite of life is death, in that we are not experiencing anything when we are dead. Fear puts us in the deepest comfort zone and hate moves us from liking anything because at the point of dying, likable things or things we onced loved, have somehow hurt us- deeply. Dying becomes our only option to no longer feel the suffering; we're in a position where feeling safe is to feel nothing at all. There is a sense of hopelessness before experiencing dying and at somepoint even feeling hopeless becomes unbearable.
With that ominous description of death- life is feeling. As we learn to tolerate discomfort, pain, dependency and incompetence can generate growth. When we dont foreclose on discomfort we are better able to examine the message pain tells us. As we accept these lessons and meanings from pain we foster love. Gains in personal growth faciltate deeper capacity to love and understand ourselves more deeply and we can transmit this experience to another.
The idea of this matrix is to be able to plot any internal state, for example feeling overwhelmed, addicted, greed or guilt. This internal state gets plotted in a quadrant then informs you of a primitive feeling associated with this internal state. Ideally, this allows someone to visualize the direction in which they're coming from and in what direction to move towards.
Guilt and Compassion are significant emotions that have great potential in landscaping our internal state of being; so much so I would prefer it to be another Y axis. Unfortunately, my limitations in comprehending internal states of being- plots guilt and compassion on the plane of quadrant II and IV.
Guilt is the absence of forgiveness. Forgiveness is only important when we perceive we need it. We need forgiveness in circumstances where we are in fear that something we value/love is seemingly at stake based on parts of ourselves that relinquish the things we value. As if we must forfeit something we love because there is an innate part of us that won't be accepted by the thing we love. If we dont love it, we wont be in fear of losing it, and guilt wont be experienced. Compassion is the exact opposite, its understanding and accepting- its forgiving based on understanding and unconditional love. Guilt feels detaining, incarcerating and/or even punishing; guilt immobilizes us where as compassion yeilds freedom, because it sits on a foundation of love and understanding.
What do you think? Do we have primative states of being, do any and all emotions fall on a continuum of these primative states?