I have discovered this for myself – and I may have said this before, but I say it again: I cannot live anybody else’s life but my own. If your life is not your own then what’s the point of living it? Of course, freedom is relative (we’re all part of a system, one way or the other) and not everyone can be as lucky as I am or other more privileged.
It makes no sense of comparing yourself or your life too much to anyone else. It is something I’ve learnt for myself as I’ve gotten older but still have to realize from time to time: That I don’t want to be like everybody else! It’s weird and quite terrible really to have to keep reminding oneself of this. Like some unknown voice from above and beyond keeps booming or whispering that I should be more like everybody else. I think it’s a common flip side (or naturality) of society that we all, more or less, unconsciously or not, try to satisfy: Conformity. The norm. And in a modern society that (for a couple of decades now) salutes indvidualism and ‘uniqueness’ where everyone now has become ‘individual’ and ‘unique’, it isn’t always easy, ironically, to stand out from all the ‘uniqueness’. I don’t know exactly where I stand myself, only that I too fight the same fight on a daily and existential basis. I mostly just want to ‘conform’ so that I can be left alone to be myself. It may be the coward’s way out, but honestly, it is the only solution I can see for myself … for now.
That also comes down to the fact that I don’t like to answer to anyone but myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t take responsibility for my actions or is an anarchist or anything like that. It doesn’t have to be understood in an extreme sense. In a spoilt sense, perhaps, since I’ve been so privileged of never having to compromise myself as such. That day may eventually arrive, but even when or if it happens I don’t think compromise will come naturally to me and that I may fail at it on a larger scale. There are many types of compromise, of course, and you cannot avoid it; I’ve just never had to compromise myself on any significant, personal level (yet). That may make me naive and far from an adult, but I’m also still young and trying to find myself so I don’t expect to have lived life by the age of 25. I may be stubborn and childish still, in this aspect, but I just don’t like explaining my life to anyone – or, to put in another way: it isn’t anybody’s business how I live my life. I’m a hypocrite by this fact, since I’m not without meddling tendencies myself, especially when I’m around my influential mother (the judge of my life) or my sweet, younger sister, though I try to curb my tongue, knowing it’s my mother’s voice speaking most of the time.
That leads me to another matter. Little, white lies may sneak their way into my daily life when I don’t have the energy to answer to anyone which includes being social and outgoing (most often). It’s easier to keep one’s cards close to one’s chest if you only know few people in your life that you have to ‘manage’. Right. I come off as an manipulative bastard, don’t I? It’s not my intention. Once again, I guess making excuses for interacting in the outer world is a common theme for introverts, though there are various ways of doing so, just as there are various ways of living your life as an introvert. I have a feeling INTPs can, essentially, be very hypocritical (and once again, paradoxical). Though we value honesty and mutual respect more than anything, we’re also masters at seeing through systems as well as weaving our way through them the easiest way possible. And the easy way isn’t always the right way. So, we may not come out on the other side entirely clean, but that doesn’t mean we’re intentionally mean either (could have rhymed better but I let that one slide). It’s just an unfortunate added ‘bonus’. As long as our ‘ways’ of dealing with life don’t hurt anybody else and don’t go directly against any of our principles, we’ll gladly continue to do it. After all, we’re talking the ‘little, harmless’ things in life – at least, in the INTP’s eyes. Others might not appreciate it very much. On the other hand, we like dealing with matters that others sometimes prefer to ‘manage’ their way out of the easiest way possible. But this is no ‘who’s-better-than-who’-contest. We all have our weak spots. I still throw out the little white lies. But only because I can. The minute I cannot make excuses or disappear unnoticed I have to grin and bear it. And of course, I do; I’ve practised this ‘necessary evil’ all my life on the sideline and I don’t always despise social interactions. Sometimes they just drain me – beforehand. I think this is quite natural for the introvert.
Am I ashamed of being rather evasive and pathetic when I make my little white lie of having a prior engagement (though I don’t have one) to excuse myself from another for the umpteenth time? Yeah, and sometimes I even regret it, but the introverted nature inside me overrides the shame. I need to have this choice in my life: To be able to withdraw when I feel like it. Since I balance it with actually being social and engaging in the outer world from time to time, I don’t see how it could harm anyone that I don’t always participate – whether or not it is more frequently than others. I don’t really care. Of course, that is also a matter of context and the certain responsibility I’m talking about. If ‘the thing’ I’m supposed to appear to demands more responsibility – if people are dependent on me or expect a certain task of me – then, of course, I will appear!
But I still value and guard my fierce independence the most and thus may come off as egocentric. Even arrogant. And maybe I am. But if that is the price for simply listening to myself – my instinct and my nature, so to speak – then I have to pay it. I’m prepared to take my failings to heart and learn when my independent nature meets resistance, and, to some extent, I’m willing to compromise given the situation, but I doubt I will ever releash it. I may not even be as independent as I so proudly claim to be – I may be utterly pathetic – but that may only be so to some people. To others, I may be able to inspire something in their hearts – I might even be an example of going against even the smallest of streams – but that is, of course, just an ideal dream. In the end, your own view of yourself comes first, and if I find strength and value in my independence, no matter its (objective) degree or range, then I will hold on and be willing to let go, momentarily, whenever I choose to. After all, you can never tell people how they should live their lives, you can only live your own as you choose. It may sound all grand and guru-like, but think about it on a very basic, daily basis; in the way you, unconsciously or not, ‘harmonize’ you inner life and outer life with the view of yourself. It may sound vague, but it helps me and, if you get where I’m going, it could hopefully bring some clarity to your own lives. Even if you disagree 😉
Over and out.