Staying Shallow

This morning during my daily Stoic readings I found myself ruminating about a comment my therapist made on Thursday (ugh, I guess you will all need to bear with me, I don’t want this blog to just become “Today in Peter’s Therapy” but it might be for a week or so). She made a comment that it seemed that I didn’t go particularly deep into my own analysis at times. I recognize the patterns and some of the base causes, but finding the roots of things is something that I don’t really do (yesterday’s post was related to this too).

I definitely see some truth in that and I think it extends beyond my own internal analysis. Let’s take work, for example. I have never really had a job that went beyond the entry-level position. Part of this is certainly because I’ve changed not only employers but career fields, about a half dozen times since graduating college. But another part of it is that I have an aversion to being a professional, to being in charge, to being responsible for a finished product or the primary contact for a client. I tend to lack the confidence necessary to do this and it is so much easier to say “well, I was just following orders” instead of saying “I fucked up and I should have known better and now there may be irreparable consequences”. This is starting to become unsustainable at work though, my bosses (I hate that phrase but it’ll do) actually have a ton of confidence in me (hello imposter syndrome, how are you doing today?) and want me to take on more independent tasks. So, I’m trying to get over my aversion to becoming a professional.

Another area where I tend to avoid deep work is the way I spend my reading and research time. I read about a ton of different subjects but never dive into any of them. I feel completely out of my depth when discussing political theory, philosophy, economics, or science with anyone who has read more than just a few pop-books on the subject. I never dive deep, I feel overwhelmed and stupid when I struggle to understand something. I have a very difficult time concentrating or staying focused for more than a few minutes when reading difficult things. The exceptions to this rule is research and readings about sex or death or drugs, those things I seem to be able to focus on. Huh, maybe I should take this as a sign that I should spend more time diving deep into those fields. Maybe that is my calling, to use my comfort with the taboo to improve the world.

Speaking of drugs… another area where I tend not to dive deep is drug use. I love MDMA (obvi) but I really haven’t had good experiences with psychedelics. MDMA, in many ways, can be a very superficial drug. It is euphoric and tactile, things feel good and you enjoy just being. Yes, it definitely can be used to have deep discussions, deal with interpersonal issues, and bring peace with regards to death and trauma, but that hasn’t been my regular experience with it. Psychedelics, on the other hand, seem to force you to dive deep into your psyche, and I resist that. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m afraid of what I’ll find. My one memorable LSD experience wasn’t particularly bad, but there were times when I recognized a darkness in me, a lust for violence, a comfort with causing pain, even a desire to kill, and it kind of scared the shit out of me.

But, maybe in order to heal and I grow I need to stop fighting that dark wolf inside me (us all?)…

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a Snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

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