Friday, September 13, 2013

Psycho-Social Contortionism

As often I do during my busy work days, I escape for a walk under sunny blue skies.  After having just left a meeting where I observed not only in others but in myself yesterday this grand display of psycho-social contortionism, I really needed a breath of fresh air.  It’s funny to me how we exist within mini frameworks within this larger frame work of life.  By mini frameworks I refer to work, family groups, social groups, spiritual groups, etc.  Within each framework there is an expected level of psycho-social behavior and it’s not all good.  This, at times, can seem to me to be quite inauthentic and wholly unhealthy to contend with.  Especially, when interactions within these various frameworks require contortionism on your part in order to be accepted, respected, appreciated or loved.

The older I get, the less tolerant I become of expectations of psycho-social contortionism.  I don’t want to be somewhere but I must and so I must pretend to be fully engaged in something for the sake of appearances.  Inauthentic is how it makes me feel and I’m reminded how much I don’t like it but sometimes certain sacrifices are necessary particularly if one likes a roof over their head or a welcoming group of some sort we have given importance to.  Psycho-social contortionism appears to be an unwritten or, well, sometimes a demanded aspect of certain one on one human relationships.  A quid-quo-pro approach on one part or another dictates that you may be called upon to psychologically or socially contort yourself to prevent conflict or facilitate someone else’s happiness.  Not only do we all engage in attempting psycho-social contortionism of ourselves but in many ways we expect this of others too.

I don’t like it and I’d really, really like to find a way to avoid the whole thing.  More and more I’m finding myself speaking without even thinking to quickly say “No, I don’t think I can engage in that but thanks for the offer.”  I’m no longer interested in pleasing anyone for affection.  I have finally learned in life that I have enough self-love and self-respect that I have no need to psychologically or socially contort myself into someone else’s version of good enough.  Likewise, I have no need to require psychological or social contortion for people to please me.  It’s beautifully liberating in so many of the mini frameworks within which I exist and experience life in the bigger framework.  I’m even finding in the arena of work, I can prevent much of the expected contortions by simply rising to a higher level of understanding and compassion towards others and being just exactly who I am and doing things as I would prefer to do.  Even when the boss steps in, I just make sure I’m clear on the end result and then I produce or exceed expectations just because I find that a fun challenge to engage in but I’m learning to do that wholly authentically and with much more personal integrity.

I guess as I grow in age I find personal integrity and authenticity has greater meaning to me from the perspective of my own observations of interactions I choose engage in or allow emotions to rise within.  I’m less concerned about what others do and more focused on how I feel as I choose this emotion, that discussion or this interaction.  Observing this world and my own reasons for choosing action, thoughts and emotions teaches me much understanding about all of the souls I come into contact with.  Seeking to understand others helps me stand in a space of greater compassion and much less stress with all of my relations.  I’ve also learned that boundaries are not only a good thing but a very necessary thing in terms of living authentically and avoiding psycho-social contortionism that only leaves you feeling tired and sore in the end.  Sometimes those boundaries must be set with self and thinking and attaching emotions and that is oh so simple to do once you fully understand the choices of thought is yours and that emotions are also yours to contend with.

Enough of my coffee induced ramblings for this morning.  I’m taking the day off and going to a museum with the love of my life and then maybe the Lake Shrine to drink in some beautiful holy ground and pure loving light.  Happy Friday the 13th beautiful dreamers.  I hope you enjoy an amazing and wonderful day.

© 2013 Jaie Hart (Photo from on

1 comment: