…resetting the drive…

“If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.” — François de la Rochefoucauld

In my last blog (…nature or nurture …), I talked about Freud’s drive theory .  And I have more questions now – like “how do you reset your drive?”

Freud’s drive theory has been widely discredited.  They say he misses the point.  He fails to understand that drives are really the expression of relationship.  The dynamic which arises within us (and feeds our drives) is one of attachment and separation.  The central question which psychologists concern themselves with is whether our formative relations provide us with healthy and graduated challenges or whether they impede normal development, blocking the cycles of attachment and separation.

I’m not a classically trained psychologist, so it would be imprudent to venture further than these general comments.   But my point has already been made.  Freud’s drive theory needs to be reset.  It needs to address the challenge of attachment and separation.

And — if you want to reset your drives — that is, the things that motivate you and get you up in the morning, or the things the keep you stuck and repeating patterns of behavior — then you might want to consider how attachment and separation impacts the expression of your endowments.

If you will remember, I offered a parallel between the four parts of an instinct (Freud’s initial framework for studying the mind) and Stephen Covey’s four human endowments (to learn more see …nature or nurture …).

And if you will remember, Covey’s four endowments are:

  • Creative imagination – the ability to form and maintain the relationships we want, to see new possibilities for expression.
  • Conscience – the ability to assess the fairness of ourselves and others, to parse out one’s sense of shared responsibility.
  • Independent will – the ability to focus our energy and express ourselves with integrity and authenticity.
  • Awareness – the ability to assess ourselves and our environments, to measure the reality of our feelings and situations.

So how might attachment and separation impact these endowments?

Classically, individuals who work through “attachment” issues demonstrate behavior that might be described as:

  • Immersed, obsessive, fixated, overly sensitive to attention, bonded or clinging, dependent, and possibly rigid or inflexible.

And how might this pre-disposition change (or influence) the expression of Covey’s endowments?

  • Creative imagination – generates a vision where the world is separate and apart.  To an attached individual,  there will always be a gulf which is challenging that attachment.
  • Conscience – reinforces the fairness or unfairness of separation.  The reciprocal image which conscience generates expresses outrage or anxiety about the “reality” of separation.
  • Independent will – reinforces the integrity and authenticity of wanting attachment.  Energy and focus is directed at validating the desire for attachment.
  • Awareness – confirms or challenges the need for attachment.  Unconscious awareness confirms and replicates the attachment.  Conscious awareness challenges it and redirects it.

Of course, turnabout is fair play.  So what adjectives might we associate with separation?

  • Aloofness, independence, uncommitted and free-wheeling, withdrawn, ignoring, unresponsive, closed, and possibly rigid or inflexible.

And how might this pre-disposition change (or influence) the expression of Covey’s endowments?  The answer, while predictable, is still worth looking at.

  • Creative imagination – generates a vision where the world is overly demanding and smothering.  There is always a sense of ongoing encroachment.
  • Conscience – reinforces the fairness or unfairness of separation.  The reciprocal image which conscience generates expresses outrage or anxiety about the “reality” of encroachment.
  • Independent will – reinforces the integrity and authenticity of needing separation.  Energy and focus is directed at validating the desire for separation.
  • Awareness – confirms or challenges the need for separation.  Unconscious awareness confirms and replicates the sense of separation.  Conscious awareness challenges it and redirects it.

So … how do you “redirect” or “reset” the drive?

  • Pay attention to how you are using creative imagination to bring relationships to life.
  • Notice how your sense of fairness depends on the outrage or anxiety you feel about dependence or independence.
  • Bring energy and focus to seeking dependence and independence; there is authenticity and integrity in both.
  • Strive to be more conscious about what you bring to the table automatically.

“If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.”

You can never be 100% self-aware, but the simple act of “noticing” will give you more options and will make you less critical of others.

Thanks for listening!

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