Living The Inner Life

I have always lived the inner life, for better or worse…That means to me that I spend an inordinate amount of time inside my own head, compared to most people…I am a dreamer, a writer, a musician, an avid book reader, a philosopher of sorts, and do not concern myself or interact with the outside world as much as most people do…I guess you could classify me as a loner, because I do not tend to congregate with large groups of people at all if I can help it…I find it mentally and emotionally draining….

As a matter fact, although I do have a small circle of very good friends,  I am truly blessed to have such good neighbors as friends in my small  apartment complex, as well as some friends from my previous incarnations as a participant in work world, and some just people I see in the stores or shops whenever I venture outside…If I go to the Safeway, the local food supermarket, or the nearby Taco Bell for my weekly treat, I always seek out the same checker or worker every time, and over the years I have become friends with them as well…

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I do not feel lonely, or isolated, although the recent death of my cat was a severe blow to this mental equanimity, and I am still adjusting to that, but it is like I just do not have the time to socialize with other people just to socialize…I have always been this way, but now that I have been retired for 3 years it is more marked and noticeable….

It is not that I do not like people, in fact I like them very much, but rather that I have so little time in my day to fritter away on the social ramble…..I thoroughly enjoy the time I do spend with my friends, those that I let into my inner circle, those that I have empathy with and can be myself around, without fear of criticism or judgment…

I am inner directed, as opposed to outer, or other directed …. According to the dictionary, inner directed means specifically that I am “Guided by internalized values rather than external pressures; that I am guided by my own conscience and values rather than external pressures to conform.” To me, this is not only a good thing but also the only way to be, because I see things from the inside out, rather than from the outside in…

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The majority of people in our society are other directed, or as it says in the dictionary, they are “Guided by a set of values that is derived from current trends or outward influences rather than from within oneself, or guided by values derived from external influences.” To me, this just means that they cannot or willfully choose not to think for themselves and are just following whatever trend, fashion, or opinion that is popular at the time….Apparently there was once a third group, called “ a tradition-directed culture.”

As per my Google sources: “In his book, The Lonely Crowd, David Riesman writes: They trace the evolution of society from a tradition-directed culture, one that moved in a direction defined by preceding generations. Tradition-directed social types obeyed rules established a long time in the past and rarely succeeded in modern society, with its dynamic changes.

This earliest social type was succeeded by people who were inner-directed. They discovered the potential within themselves to live and act not according to established norms but based on what they discovered using their own inner gyroscope. Inner-directed people live as adults what they learned in childhood, and tend to be confident, sometimes rigid.”

“After the Industrial Revolution in America had succeeded in developing a middle-class state, institutions that had flourished within the tradition-directed and the inner-directed social framework became secondary to daily life. How to define one’s self became a function of the way others lived.

Gradually an other-direction took hold, that is, the social forces of how others were living -what they consumed, what they did with their time, what their views were toward politics, work, play, and so on. Riesman and his researchers found that other-directed people were flexible and willing to accommodate others to gain approval.

Because large organizations preferred this type of personality, it became indispensable to the institutions that thrived with the growth of industry in America.The other-directed person wants to be loved rather than esteemed, not necessarily to control others but to relate to them. Those who are other-directed need assurance that they are emotionally in tune with others.”

Riesman’s book argues that although other-directed individuals are crucial for the smooth functioning of the modern organization, the value of autonomy is compromised. The Lonely Crowd also argues that society dominated by the other-directed faces profound deficiencies in leadership, individual self-knowledge, and human potential”

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Well there it is, and I thought that I was the only one! I do not need the assurance that I am emotionally in tune with others, I do not need the stamp of approval from others to function…I lead a rich, full life inside my head, and I would much prefer to socialize with a small crowd of a few intimate friends, generally one at a time in my personal lives…I do like to check out what other people are doing , but I do not feel bound by others opinions or viewpoints…

Instead I treasure my “alone” time, when i can charge up my emotional and mental batteries, and like I said, there is always so much to do that I am never bored or have time to feel lonely…I am very close to my family and a few close friends, and for me, that love and affection is all that I need…It is enough….

I live inside my own head, and I am comfortable in my own skin, and I hope that you too are comfortable no matter what group of people you identify with, be it tradition directed, other directed, or inner directed…

To each his own…. As a wise philosopher named Aratak once said: “Leave onto others their otherness.”

Just leave it like it is right now

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