Human Behavior Polarities Stem From The Same Core Beliefs

Polarities – Opposites

Opposites are two different sides of the same polarity scale. In this article we're going to explore the following polarities:
  • Hoarder versus Minimalist
  • Neat-Freak versus Slob
  • Copious Planner versus Always Spontaneous
  • Over-Eater versus Under-Eater
  • Aggressive versus Passive
  • Narcissist versus Self-Sacrificer
  • Sexually Insatiable versus Sexually Disinterested
  • Always Optimistic versus Always Pessimistic
  • Lazy versus Workaholic
  • Extremely Shy & Modest versus Exhibitionist
  • Hides Shame versus Fame-Seeker
Opposites stem from the same core – it isn't just that they're on the same scale, but that the opposites themselves are closer to one another than the center. In fact, it will help if you visualize the scale as a circle rather than a line. Just bend that line in your imagination until the opposites touch one another. Got that? Excellent.
But now, remember that these opposites appear extremely different. This article is here to illustrate why the appearance is deceptive and what is actually going on.
It is the core sameness within opposites that follows the “law of attraction” most strongly – like things attract like things.
It seems like opposites attract because two “opposite ends” of the same polarity will attract. There are several reasons for this maya (illusion), which I will now explain in some detail.
The part of you that is expressed consciously will have a counterpart that is subconscious. The more extreme the behavior, the more deeply buried the subconscious counterpart behavior. When you meet someone whose conscious behaviors mirror your subconscious behaviors, you feel reunited with yourself. Often the connection is obscured because the people you're attracted to mirror your repressed aspects in exalted ways. You may have repressed any aspect of yourself that is vain or self-interested because society deems that wrong, but then find yourself attracted to highly confident people who seem to genuinely love themselves. This often goes wrong when you find out that they're really more like covert narcissists than they are like genuinely self-loving people. If this keeps happening to you, then the answer is to uncover your own repressed self-interest.
The first reason why it appears that opposites attract is because you will feel completed by people who reflect your repressed aspects.
You will also be attracted to people who fit your concept of love. Your concept of love was developed in childhood by your primary caregivers, and surroundings. Children will tend to run to the opposite polarity of their parents in order to escape their parents' pitfalls. If the parents are interrogating, the child will become aloof. If the parents are aloof, the child will become interrogating. If the parents are aggressive, the child will become withdrawn. These are generalizations which won't always apply, but the more extreme the scenario, the more likely the child is to polarize in the opposite direction from their parents. This is why traits like “good driving” and “being organized” seem to skip a generation; the grandparents seem to have more in common with their grandchildren than the parents do with their children because the grandparents polarized their children one direction, and when those children had children, they polarized back in the direction of the grandparents.
Mitigating factors such as having parents who are already highly polarized from each other can help create a more balanced child if the child has the conscious resources to be introspective and question their own beliefs throughout their teen years.
The second reason why it appears that opposites attract is because you will be attracted to people who remind you of your parents (in subconscious ways), and you are going to be polarized in the opposite direction as your parents in many ways.
People are also attracted to things that seem new, novel and different. But people are not attracted to things that seem genuinely dangerous (unless they are experiencing intense vibhava-taṇhā). The level of danger that we perceive in a situation is something we evaluate with our intuition; it is done subconsciously, and thereby we may be consciously saying “this is a dangerous thing to do” but subconsciously feeling that the risks are entirely justified and of no concern. This is why it seems like some people are dare-devils. These so-called daring people have a different threshold for what feels dangerous in the evaluation of their subconscious.
Novel attractions include things like flavors. We may want to try all the flavors of a given brand of kombucha or juice. We try one thing by a brand establish that we like it. This provides a sense of safety that we like things of that nature. With this safety, we go on to try every flavor. The flavor is a novelty on the surface, but the core (type of commodity or brand) is familiar and safe. If we already know we like most fermented things, there isn't much risk in trying more fermented foods.
Novel attractions include romance. You may feel like you're trying out a new type of relationship. For example, let's say all your exes were brunettes who preferred to move into your place, drive your car, and held low positions in their work or preferred to not work in the conventional money-earning sense. You'll feel you're doing something new by dating a woman who is a blond business woman who has her own apartment and car.
The relationship seems novel, but similarities may include: she is still a woman, it is still a monogamous relationship, she strongly believes that money doesn't grow on trees, she believes in acting first and asking forgiveness later, she believes she needs someone to complete her, etc. The novelty will be obvious because its difference stands out to you. The similarities may be taken for granted to the point that it doesn't even occur to you that it might be any other way. Maybe everyone in your life is fairly rash, so the idea of finding someone who is rational, logical and slow-to-act doesn't occur to you. Whatever your baseline assumptions about humanity and relationships are will seem to be everywhere, and so it won't come to your conscious attention that there is a possibility for change in those areas.
The third reason why it appears that opposites attract is because we want to stay safe and also experience novelty; we're attracted to things that are highly different from us on the surface, but the same as us (and thereby safe) at a deeper level.
All three of these reasons are branches of the same core, primary reason why it appears that opposites attract even though the reality is that like-attracts-like. At a very deep level we're all seeking to see ourselves clearly. In order to see ourselves we must see every manifestation of what our core aspects look like. The more polarized we are, the more we must see the same core pain polarized in the opposite direction to get perspective on who we really are. We will be faced with this polarity over and over again until we start to see ourselves truly, and through this insight begin to shift.
To review briefly: People who seem to be “opposites” will be attracted to one another because (1) they will feel completed by people who reflect their repressed aspects, (2) they will be attracted to people who remind them of their parents – their original concept of love, (3) they're attracted to things that are highly different from themselves on the surface, but the same as them (and thereby safe) at a deeper level, and (4) at everyone's innermost being is the desire to see oneself, which will be best accomplished by coming to know someone who is a deep, inverse match.
What follows is an overview of some polarities. In order to really get the most from exploring these polarities, you will need to read between the lines and letters a bit. Why? Because consciousness patterns attach themselves to different words in different people. The same pattern in two different people may be described in vastly different words. Our language doesn't have a widely-accepted vocabulary for our complex inner worlds, and so we individually gravitate to words that resonate for us. Our individual resonance with given words for given experiences is created by our own association patterns.
This need for an agreed-upon vocabulary is why you'll find links on this page to my Consciousness Alchemy Glossary definitions.
Also, remember that the polarities are actually circles, not lines. It is possible for people to go beyond their polarity into the wildly fanatical place that is squished between both “extremes.” This is why some narcissists seem to flip between narcissism and co-dependence, or why some people go through phases of extreme nymphomania followed by total disinterest. These individuals are a clue, showing us a glimpse of the circular nature of these “spectrums.”

Polarities

Let's now examine some common polarities.

Relationship to Material Possessions in regards to Ownership

Hoarder

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I must acquire many things – particularly nice things, valuable things, things that represent me, and things that others hold in esteem.
  • I must save things that might be good for later. This saves me the time and energy of acquiring new things in the future.
  • I'm more prepared for disaster than other people.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • My things are an extension of me.
  • By having more things that represent me, I am exalted and glorified.
  • I am superior to other people who don't have as many things as I do and/or I am superior to others who are not as prepared for disaster or shortage as I am.
  • I am protecting myself by having so many things; I distract other people with my gadgets and/or glam and it prevents them from poking at my vulnerable, hidden self.
  • I don't deserve to have nice things, so I'll make up for it by having lots of things and/or I don't deserve a nice life, so I'll make up for it with having lots of nice things.
  • I can't get/don't deserve to have things, but if I hold onto them when I come across them, then I know I will have them, and therefore will deserve them.
  • I can't supply energy to acquire things, but I can manage to hold onto them.
  • I resonate with trash, because I am trash, so by holding on to trash I am showing myself love.
Core Belief:
  • There isn't enough of me, so I must acquire more things in order to make up for it.

Minimalist

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I must not acquire anything excess; being a minimalist is better for the planet and helps keep corporate powers in check.
  • I must not hold onto anything I don't need – particularly anything that will slow me down.
  • Things are expendable, replaceable, and not as important as my day-to-day experience of life.
  • Excess belongings are for inferior people who can't compute how much they can really take care of.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I don't deserve to have a lot of things and/or if I had a lot of things I wouldn't appreciate them or properly care for them.
  • I can't supply energy to manage things, but I can supply energy to acquire them when needed.
  • Attachment to belongings is a pitfall that I've witnessed hurt others; I'm afraid of that and thus avoid material attachments.
Core Belief:
  • There isn't enough of me, so I must not obscure what little of me there is with too much stuff.

The Mirror Between The Minimalist and The Hoarder

“There isn't enough of me.”

Being Centered

There are many people who do not fall into either polarity, but rather, have a more balanced perspective that leans one way or another. These people do not suffer as much from the core belief of “there isn't enough of me” but may still feel that to some extent. Only people who are in the exact center are free from this core belief. To be in the center is not to renounce all attachment and deny yourself from beliefs, but rather, to be able to walk both extremes in their appropriate contexts. To be centered is to embrace both polarities and be owned by neither. The center is a place where you can act from pure presence and intuition without being swayed by ingrained belief.
Those who are not minimalists or hoarders, but are also not centered, come in many varieties. Here is one example:

Steward

Leaning toward Minimalist polarity

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I have enough to be comfortable, but not too much.
  • I am leading a balanced life that is better for the planet than most, without going to extremes.
  • Things are nice to have, but too many things makes it harder to appreciate and take care of what is most important.
  • My life is most elegant, enhanced and beautiful with a small amount of quality things.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I must steward all the things I own, and if I own too much, it will weigh me down.
  • If I can't take care of all of my things, I feel ashamed, so I must not own too much even if I want many things.
  • Possessions are obligations, and I don't want too many of those.
Core Belief:
  • Too many things will drown out who I am, but without some things I will not be able to shine either.

Polarity Variations

You may notice that you resonate with some portion of the conscious and subconscious attitudes presented, but not all of them. This may mean that you're not at either extreme “end” – that you're not completely polarized – or it may mean that the structure of your polarity is simply different than what I've presented in these examples.
A hoarder, for example, may not always care about acquiring things that others hold in esteem. They may feel that they are expressing more of themselves by exclusively acquiring things that represent them, and that anything that others deem valuable actually counts against it. After all, if you feel like you're lacking in your own original you, the last thing you want is to be a follower, right? But another hoarder may be extremely preoccupied with things that are of value to others because it makes them feel like they are more of themselves to be held in high esteem by others.
Not all highly polarized people will resonate with all of the given examples.
You may feel that you are highly polarized in one of these areas (such as feeling that you are a minimalist), but you are quite consciously aware of some of the attitudes I've listed as subconscious. Again, these examples are common trends, not absolute truths. But there is more to it than that. The line between conscious and subconscious is not a line at all, but a fuzzy area where things become more and more clear as they enter your conscious awareness.
As your consciousness begins to dawn, the light is fuzzy at first, just giving you some intellectual glimpses into your subconscious realities. As your consciousness rises like the sun over the horizon, these intellectual glimpses begin to resolve into feelings. When your consciousness brightens it becomes analogous of morning, where there are long-shadows, but now you can see your subconscious beliefs in one area clearly. You feel these beliefs and you can point them out intellectually and articulate them.
But it isn't until your consciousness comes into the brightness of full noon that all of the shadows are wiped away. This full, conscious clarity (called grokking) is rarely ever achieved in any area of our lives, so even if you have an intellectual grasp of some of your subconscious motives, you do not yet have the full-resolution picture.
The examples I've chosen for subconscious attitudes are those that are more commonly buried. They may be fully buried so that you are entirely in the dark about them, or partially so that you have a bare intellectualized grasp that it is there – even though you can't quite feel it to be true.

Relationship to Material Possessions in regards to Cleanliness

Neat-Freak

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness.
  • I'm efficient because I'm organized.
  • I'm desirable because my space and person is clean.
  • I am ready for visitors or other surprise events at all times because my space is tidy.
  • I find it restorative to my emotional well-being to create order in my space.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I'm a better member of society because I contribute more as an efficient, clean, organized person.
  • I find it hard to concentrate if there is any disorder in my view, so I find it needful to tidy up in order to maintain my efficiency.
  • I feel overwhelmed, as if I have a massive to-do list, when I see clutter, so I have to clean in order to maintain emotional stability.
  • I am at risk of missing out on the experiences I cherish most, and so I must keep everything hyper-neat and hyper-organized in order to be ready to receive these experiences.
Core Beliefs:
  • Mother will accept me if I'm clean and orderly.

Slob

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I can find all of my things just fine without being hyper-organized.
  • The neatness of physical objects is an illusion anyway – everything is always returning to its natural state of chaos.
  • I would rather be enjoying myself and living my life to the fullest than wasting my time cleaning.
  • Life is meant to be experienced in its full richness, not spent fussing with orderliness and cleanliness.
  • I don't have the energy to clean and keep up with everything, so why bother?
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • It is more important to pay attention to how things feel and sound; it is trivial how things look.
  • Caring about how things appear is shallowness.
  • I am at risk of missing out on the experiences I cherish most, and so I must not be wasting my time on trivial activities such as cleaning, lest I miss the opportunity.
Core Beliefs:
  • Mother will accept me and show me her acceptance by cleaning up after me.

The Mirror Between The Neat-Freak and The Slob

Subconscious Mirror: “I am at risk of missing out on the experiences I cherish most.”
Core Mirror: “I need to be this way for mother's acceptance.”

Infancy Trauma – Endlessly Seeking Mother's Love

When our own mother didn't hold us, carry us everywhere, and tend to us adequately in our first nine months of life, we are left with a sense of wrongness that persists throughout our lives. Eventually this wrongness is internalized as something being wrong with us specifically, rather than something just being wrong in general. This transforms into a persistent need to be or act in a certain way which we believe will bring our mother's love to us.
Every polarity on this page is the result of childhood traumas, usually going back to infancy. These traumas include emotional neglect, physical neglect, humiliation, and denial of your right to autonomy. To learn more about this, read my article, Developmental Trauma.

Relationship to Planning

Copious Planner

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Planning makes it easier to coordinate with others.
  • I never know what I'll be in the mood for later, so it is best if I make contingency plans.
  • Being prepared means being safe and planning is part of preparing – better safe than sorry.
  • Reliability and punctuality are incredibly important virtues.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Without a plan I won't be safe and I will feel lost and vulnerable.
  • If I don't come up with a good plan, others may create a plan that will be disadvantageous for me.
  • If I don't make good plans then nothing good will happen.
  • Good people are prepared people.
  • I don't want to miss out on precious experiences, so I must plan to have these experiences and stick to the plan.
Core Belief:
  • I am not safe without a plan.

Always Spontaneous

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I must keep a free schedule in case something good comes up.
  • I never know what I'll be in the mood for later, so it is better if I don't make commitments.
  • It is better to have freedom than it is to be reliable.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Commitments scare me and confine me and make me feel caged and/or claustrophobic.
  • If I tried making a plan, it'd just fall through and disappoint me anyway.
  • My greatest value is in my flexibility, adaptability, and contagious energy – I'll lose all that if I have a plan.
  • I don't want to miss out on precious experiences, so I must ensure that I'm not held down by plans which will prevent me from observing and taking the opportunities.
Core Belief:
  • I am not safe without spontaneity.

The Mirror Between The Copious-Planner and The Always-Spontaneous

Conscious Mirror: “I never know what I'll be in the mood for later.”
Subconscious Mirror: “I don't want to miss out on precious experiences.”
Core Mirror: “I am not safe.”
Notice how similar some of the attitudes are on the planning/spontaneity spectrum and the order/disorder spectrum. This is why it is common to meet organized, neat planners and chaotic, spontaneous slobs. However, it is possible to contain many of the traits from the planner polarization as well as many traits from the slob polarization, and vise versa.
For example, my relationship with planning, for example, is as follows: “I believe in making plans so that I can rest in their safety right up until the moment that something better comes along so that I can ditch them.”
Despite the ambiguity in my relationship with planning, I always land firmly as a “J” in Myers-Briggs personality type tests. If you're interested in learning about personality types and how they relate to protector personalities, read my article, Are All INFJ People Also Highly Sensitive People (HSP)?

Relationship to Food

It is important to note when reading the polarizations in regards to food that both the over-eater and the under-eater can manifest as people who look completely normal and healthy. They may manifest as fat people and sickly-thin people, but they also may not depending on exactly what methods they use and where they are in life.

Over-Eater

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Food is one of life's greatest pleasures, so indulge!
  • Cooking and/or buying food is a great pleasure, and feeding others brings me joy.
  • Everybody loves food.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Other people are overwhelming, so drowning them out with chewing makes them more tolerable.
  • People won't like the real me, so I might as well settle for food communion.
  • Being fat is a barrier that protects me from false connection with other people who would only want to use me anyway.
Core Belief:
  • I am powerless to obtain connection with others, so I'll create control in my life through cooking, pleasing flavors, and the communion of eating.

Under-Eater

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • What I eat is one thing I can and do control.
  • I'm healthier than people who overindulge.
  • Discipline is a virtue.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • If I'm not attractive, nobody will care about me.
  • If I let myself be gluttonous, I will have no control of my life.
  • If I don't look after my looks, I'm abandoning myself and my values.
Core Belief:
  • I am powerless to obtain connection with others, so I'll create control in my life through limiting my food intake, keeping myself thin, and manipulating others with my good looks.

The Mirror Between The Over-Eater and The Under-Eater

“I am powerless to obtain connection with others, so I'll create control in my life through my eating habits.”

Health Obsessed

Leaning toward Under-Eater polarity

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I take excellent care of my body.
  • Good, appropriate food is medicine.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • If I'm not healthy, nobody will want me.
  • If I don't take care of myself, nobody else will.
  • I'm the only person I know will stick around my whole life, so I'd best take care of my body.
Core Belief:
  • Genuine connection with others is difficult to obtain, so I will keep myself super healthy and attractive to garner respect and adoration from others.

Outward Changes come as a result of Inward Changes

Often someone who grew up as an over-eater will turn to the attitudes of a health-obsessed person when they learn to take good care of themselves as a new way of handling their situation in life. The apparent outward shift is always a result of a shift in the core belief. That means that if you felt entirely powerless toward your connection with others and then moved to feeling like connection was merely challenging to obtain – but not impossible – your relationship to food (and many other things) can now change.
It is also possible to “fake it until you make it” – meaning that you can use some sort of trick to get yourself to shift habits, and then, as a result, find that your beliefs have changed. However, when doing this method of inner work, it is important to ensure that your shifts indicate self-love. If you are not showing yourself that you love yourself, you will find that your core beliefs become even more stubborn and resistant to positive change. (For example, forcing yourself to work out until you hurt every day will not communicate to your inner selves that you love yourself, whereas doing a one-day water fast a week may communicate to your inner self that you do love yourself, depending on what feels good to you.)

Relationship to Social Assertion

Aggressive

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I am strong, right, and capable. I'm confident.
  • Other people will speak up if they want to be heard.
  • The only way to get through to someone is with force or intensity.
  • Getting what I want is impossible without my aggression.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I feel weak and vulnerable, so I have to protect myself with a strong exterior.
  • Better to be the striker than to be the struck.
Core Beliefs:
  • If other people saw my true self they would reject me.
  • People judge harshly, so I will strike them before they get a chance to strike me.

Passive

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I'm shy and other people make me nervous.
  • I prefer to avoid situations that may give me panic attacks.
  • Modesty and humility are virtues.
  • I'm a good listener.
  • Getting what I want is impossible without my receptive, passive behavior.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • What I have to offer isn't good enough, so it’s best if I'm quiet.
  • Nobody actually listens to me when I speak.
  • I have a better chance of getting what I want through quiet desperation.
Core Beliefs:
  • If other people saw my true self they would reject me.
  • People judge harshly, so I won't show them anything about who I am for them to judge.

The Mirror Between The Aggressive and The Passive

Conscious Mirror: “Getting what I want is impossible without manipulating people with my behavior.”
Core Mirror: “If other people saw my true self they would reject me. People judge harshly.”

Relationship to Self-Image

Narcissist

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I'm brilliant, beautiful and highly valuable.
  • Everyone in my life is honored by my presence in their life.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I can cut other people off whenever I choose because I'm more valuable than they are.
  • It is important that I maintain my cool in all situations so that nobody ever sees any flaws or weaknesses in me.
  • It is crucial that I don't integrate my internal selves or acknowledge that any part of me besides my ego exists, lest have to face all the pain I've hidden away.
Core Belief:
  • If anyone focused on the core of my being they would see nothingness, so I must cover this self even from my own awareness and invent a self that is immaculate.

Self-Sacrificer

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I'm a giving, loving, kind, compassionate person.
  • Everyone who knows me benefits from my giving personality.
  • My sacrifices make me a good person.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I give more than anyone else, so don't I deserve more than anyone else?
  • I'm better than other people because I sacrifice more than other people.
Core Belief:
  • If anyone focused on the core of my being they would see nothingness, so I must redeem my nothingness by martyring myself for higher causes so as to be lifted up in the eyes of others.

The Mirror Between The Narcissist and The Self-Sacrificer

“If anyone focused on the core of my being they would see nothingness.”

Relationship to Sexual Activity

Sexually Insatiable

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Sex is a great way to relax and feel good.
  • Sex is a healthy, beneficial aspect of any thriving, intimate relationship.
  • I like having sex often, especially with an attractive, passionate partner.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I feel rejected as a human when someone turns me down sexually.
  • My value is tied to my sexual performance.
  • Life feels empty outside of sexual excitement and orgasm.
Core Belief:
  • Nobody really loves me, but maybe through sex someone eventually will.

Sexually Disinterested

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Sex is a less-refined, less-evolved pass-time.
  • Sex is for making babies, not a recreational sport.
  • I don't need sex to have a good life.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Sex isn't pleasurable because nobody cares about me enough to make it pleasurable.
  • Sex isn't safe because nobody loves enough to treat me right emotionally and physically.
  • I can't trust anyone to be sexually intimate with me.
Core Belief:
  • Nobody really loves me, so sex is always a loveless, empty experience.

The Mirror Between The Sexually Disinterested and the Sexually Insatiable

“Nobody really loves me.”

Libido Mismatch

The sexual mirrors often end up in a very unhappy relationship together. At first they're passionately drawn together, feeling that maybe they've finally found someone who can love them. Often they have really good sex at first, but the one who is inclined toward disinterest in sex resumes their aversion the moment they are disillusioned about the depth of love and understanding in their relationship. They stop wanting any sex at all, leaving the partner who is sexually insatiable feeling more unloved than ever. As the sexually insatiable tries to get more sex from their disinterested partner, the problem gets worse and worse; the disinterested partner feels unseen and dismissed by these continued, unwanted advances. The insatiable partner feels increasingly rejected and unloved as their advances are turned aside.

Relationship to Expectations

Always the Optimist

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • There is always a silver-lining.
  • We make our own luck.
  • God and/or the universe is on our side.
  • People appreciate my upbeat attitude.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Focusing on negative things makes them real, so I'll just ignore them.
  • I can't prevent disappointing things from happening, so I'll pretend they don't happen.
  • If I were not such a positive person, nobody would like me.
Core Belief:
  • Falling from hopeful to disappointed is terribly painful; I must avoid it at all costs. I will always see the silver-lining so as to avoid this fall.

Always the Pessimist

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • No matter who you are, shit happens.
  • Life is full of disappointments.
  • People appreciate how down-to-earth and realistic I am.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I used to be hopeful, but I got hurt. I won't make that mistake again.
  • Hopeful people are just naive, innocent, ignorant people.
  • By expecting the worst I'm protecting myself.
Core Belief:
  • Falling from hopeful to disappointed is terribly painful; I must avoid it at all costs. I will avoid ever becoming hopeful so as to not experience this fall.

The Mirror Between The Pessimist and The Optimist

“Falling from hopeful to disappointed is terribly painful; I must avoid it at all costs.”

Relationship to Accomplishments

Lazy

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Why struggle when I don't have to?
  • If I don't do it, others will. If others don't do it, then it wasn't important.
  • The world is full of busy-bees; it can afford some people who know how to relax.
  • Relaxation is good for my health. Less stress, less fuss.
  • I prefer simplicity and/or I'm a humble person.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • If I try hard, I'll just fail, and then I'll feel humiliated. I'd rather just not try.
  • I can't succeed where it counts, so why succeed at lesser things?
  • Nothing I do will be good enough for my partner/parent and/or peers, so why get my hopes up for nothing?
  • Being entirely unaccountable makes it so that nobody gets their hopes up about me, and they're surprised and pleased when I do chip in.
  • Because I'm so unreliable I don't have to worry that people only like me because of what I accomplish.
Core Belief:
  • I'll never lead a genuinely meaningful life, but that truth is too painful to face, so instead I'll stamp out my meaningful dreams, interests, and motivations.

Workaholic

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Hard work is virtue.
  • The more I accomplish, the better I feel about myself.
  • Every little success is worthwhile.
  • Having goals and to-do lists is something I have in common with the world's most successful people.
  • Being driven and passionate makes me attractive to my partner or potential partners.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Because I work so hard, nobody can ask me to do anything extra in good conscience.
  • Everyone knows I work harder than they do, so it makes them feel more like granting favors when I ask them.
  • People love me more because of how much I work.
  • Better for people to have to chase me down between my work shifts than for me to be lonely, bored, and chasing others down.
  • Working so hard makes me a superior person and/or a good citizen.
  • Working hard makes me safe from getting fired or rejected.
Core Belief:
  • I'll never lead a genuinely meaningful life, but that truth is too painful to face, so instead I'll fill up my life with accomplishments which hide my greatest failure.

The Mirror Between The Workaholic and The Lazy Person

“I'll never lead a genuinely meaningful life, but that truth is too painful to face.”

Not All Workaholics “Work”

Workaholism relates to doing things. The workaholics of society are sometimes stay-at-home parents who fuss over their children, their housework and their hobbies. Workaholism relates to a continual need to accomplish something at all moments. These people tend to fold laundry while watching television or knit while talking with friends or always cram six errands into any given trip out the door. Increased efficiency implies increased accomplishments, and thereby efficiency is worshiped by workaholics. This type of person was termed a “busybacson” in The Tao of Pooh.
A workaround with workaholics is to show them how inefficient it is to lead a life they don't feel. What are they living for if they never deeply experience the life they're leading? Usually they're too busy rushing around to smell the roses, feel the magic of the water running down their skin in the shower, or to kick back and watch a meteor shower. Workaholics are often in for a sharp wake-up call when they deeply connect with an experience – any experience – and realize how little they've been feeling everything.
Lazy people are the same way, but often harder to reason with because they've often shut down a lot of their thinking capacity, depending on the form of their laziness. If their kill-time is a strategic video game, they may be awake at a logical level at least. Yet both the lazy person and the workaholic will be so “checked out” experientially that getting them to actually grok that they're missing out on feeling life is akin to teaching fish how to fly. Yet unlike fish flying, we're actually meant to feel.
Note: Laziness is never an inherent trait. Humans are social animals who naturally want to contribute to society in meaningful and productive ways. When a person is averse to constructive work, they have suffered trauma in their infancy – the period of their life where they were meant to be passive in life. The “lazy” person is trying to get their missed experience of being an unconditionally accepted, passive baby – and they're failing to get that missed experience. If the lazy person succeeds in having their missed experience, they will spontaneously begin to evolve to the next natural state of emotional development and they will stop being lazy.

Polarity Flipping

When someone is at an extreme end of a polarity spectrum you'll sometimes find that they flip back and forth from one extreme to the other. This means that the person is highly identified with the core belief that is at the root of the polarity, and not highly identified with the specific strategy of coping with that belief.
For example, if you have someone who doesn't strongly identify with being a successful person or with a lazy person, but does strongly feel that they can't lead a meaningful life, you'll find they they flip between spurts of frantically accomplishing one thing after another and spurts of lolling about, disinterested in virtually everything.
As another example (which I alluded to in the introduction), someone who strongly feels that nobody loves them, but isn't identified with being sexually voracious or asexual will flip back and forth between being constant, driving arousal, and disinterested boredom with sex.
This flipping between polarities is an attempt at finding relief from the core belief. Maybe she'll love me if we have more sex, he thinks for a while. But then when that fails he thinks: She really still doesn't love me, so why would I want to have sex with her anyway? Why bother?
The flipping between one polarity and another is actually not a flip, but a side-step only a short distance along the circle. When someone moves from neat-freak to slob, they're not moving through a centered, healthy relationship with physical possessions on the way.

Relationship to Auditory Input, especially music

Music Craver

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I love music and/or I love watching television and/or I love conversations and/or I love parties.
  • Concerts give me energy and make me feel alive.
  • Music playing in the background helps me concentrate.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Music playing in the background is soothing because it fills the emptiness that I would otherwise be perceiving.
  • Certain songs and/or shows are particularly comforting because they resonate and let me know I'm not alone.
  • When I hear certain sounds they remind me of what I'm really like and help me tune into myself; it feels gratifying.
Core Belief:
  • My inner voice is too quiet. I must find music and words that resonate with me so that I am amplified through their expression.

Silence Craver

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I love quiet time to myself and/or I prefer small, quiet gatherings and/or I prefer books to television.
  • Concerts are too loud – they ruin your hearing.
  • Background music is distracting; quiet helps me focus on my work and my play.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Music controls my feelings and thoughts in a way that makes me feel invaded and violated.
  • Television poisons my opinions and thoughts, leaving me pillaged of myself.
  • When I can't hear myself because I've been so drowned out by noise I feel lonely, disconnected and lost.
  • So many songs and/or shows make me feel increasingly isolated because I can't relate to them.
Core Belief:
  • My inner voice is too quiet. I must avoid auditory stimulation most of the time in order to maintain my ability to hear my inner voice.

The Mirror Between The Music Craver and The Silence Craver

“My inner voice is too quiet.”

Coping Strategies All Attempt to Create Integration

No coping strategy polarity is superior to the other. The person who prefers quiet is not necessarily more evolved or less evolved than the person who prefers music. The asexual is not necessarily superior or inferior to the nymphomaniac. Every coping strategy is a sophisticated choice on the part of our unconscious minds to bring us closer to our own personal truth. The submissive in a Dominant/submissive scene is trying to meet their own need for passivity through this ritual; they are working toward resolving their infancy trauma. And some people do succeed even when they don't know what they're trying to accomplish. One day you may realize that a certain fetish doesn't appeal to you anymore, or that you no longer feel put upon when you have to clean up after yourself – and these shifts mean that you have, indeed, resolved some of your childhood trauma.
Denial of our chosen coping strategies generally creates an increase of inner tangles. If you try to use sheer will-power to deny yourself your habit of over-eating, you're unlikely to succeed. If you do succeed, you may find that some other aspect of your life suddenly goes awry instead, as your powerless to get connection from others magnifies in a new way. I was able to get around this somewhat by discovering raw foodism and raw food potlucks. I found a cuisine I could safely over-eat without destroying my body and I found a community I could share my chosen cuisine with. For a time, this helped soothe my sense of powerlessness to get connection, but once I moved away from the place where my raw food friends lived, I found that my powerlessness to get connection blew up again, becoming a painful entity in my consciousness. This specter of mine has haunted me most of my life, and has inspired my many revisions and additions over the years to my article, Why is it so hard to make friends?

Relationship to External Display

Extremely Shy & Modest

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I'm afraid of having to speak in a crowd or being on a stage.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • Don't look at me, don't read into that thing I just said – don't believe this fake front I'm giving you; it hurts when you look at my shell and mistake it for me.
Core Belief:
  • I desperately want you to see my most authentic inner self, but if you look at my external display you'll be distracted from that.

Exhibitionist

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I like when people watch me dance or perform; I enjoy being on stage.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • To be desired sexually is a gateway to being seen and known.
Core Belief:
  • I desperately want you to see my most authentic inner self, and the only hope I have of that is if I entice you to me with external displays.

The Mirror Between The Extremely Shy/Modest and The Exhibitionist

“I desperately want you to see my most authentic inner self.”

Relationship to Self-Security

Fiercely Independent

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I can do anything want.
  • I don't need anybody to be happy.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • If other people make the choices, they'll choose things that hurt me.
Core Belief:
  • I'm incredibly fragile. If you touch me, I will shatter. I must protect myself in a shield of confidence and bravado.

Codependent

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • I'm happier when I'm in a relationship.
  • It's easier when someone else makes decisions.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • If I make choices for myself, I'll have to blame myself for making the wrong choices.
  • By martyring myself I am seen as good and then other people will meet my needs.
Core Belief:
  • I'm incredibly fragile. If you leave me, I will shatter. I must bind myself to you and ensure you will not leave.

The Mirror Between The Fiercely Independent and The Codependent

“I'm incredibly fragile.”

Relationship to Shame

Prefers to hide

Polarity #1

Conscious Attitudes:
  • Keeping close to home prevents me from overextending myself.
  • Opening up to someone and being vulnerable is best kept within the confines of only the deepest, safest relationship.
  • The wider my circle, the more risk of being betrayed by someone.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • If you see what I am ashamed of, you'll despise me.
  • If I show you my shame, it'll make my shame more real and powerful.
  • If I reveal myself, you'll shame me for who I am.
Core Belief:
  • I have a painful history and I'm ashamed of what it has made me, but by keeping my history, shame and inner world under the rug I can live a redeemed, healthful, kind, and humble life.

Prefers to be famous and influential

Polarity #2

Conscious Attitudes:
  • With ample influence, I can help others avoid the pains I've been through.
  • With a high-profile position, I can role model an inspiring lifestyle.
Subconscious Attitudes:
  • I prove my innocence by showing others who I am.
  • I become more beautiful, more perfect, as more people believe in the best in me.
  • By revealing myself to many, many people, and yet retaining fame, I validate myself.
Core Belief:
  • I have a painful history and I'm ashamed of what it has made me, but through validation of the multitudes I can compensate.

The Mirror Between The One Who Hides and The One Who Seeks Fame and Influence

“I have a painful history and I'm ashamed of what it has made me.”

Key Takeaways

There are, of course, many more polarities than the ones I've listed above. However, from the above I believe you can observe several trends. Here are some key takeaways:
  • We all have conscious beliefs about ourselves that seem rational, simple, or straightforward. However, these conscious beliefs are never the whole story; often, they are merely rationalizations that cover up our hidden fears and motives.
  • Our deepest fears and desires are much more like other people than we usually consciously recognize. Understanding our foundational same-ness, it is easier to find love and compassion for others – even when they seem like total opposites from ourselves.

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed this article, then subscribe below to hear from me on occasion. Also, for your further reading, here are few of my favorite articles:

Writing This Article

I began writing this article after an epiphany. I realized that narcissists and codependents come from the same, or very similar, traumas, but then simply used different mechanisms to cope.
After some deep introspection, which in this case looked like deep trance meditations, I discovered the same core in the areas where I was polarized or others I knew were polarized. Essentially, I visited the akashic records and brought back the clearest translations I could, given my own filters.
I spent around four hours in meditation for this article, spending roughly fifteen minutes on each polarity I wrote about. Then, over the course of months and years, I finally got around to fleshing the article out with further information, insights and conclusions. Lastly, I spent around five hours writing the HTML.
Yes, I write all the HTML for all of my articles manually. Generated HTML is too likely to give me weird spacing, font type changes, and so on.
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