Should I Be A Part of Home, Again?
The Adlerian theory of motivation explains the secret behind motivation that drives one’s action. When I thought a book would not be life changing enough, The Courage To Be Disliked is a cheat code to achieve freedom in life. It is a thorough conversation between a youth and a philosopher that was written as a comprehensive debate by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga in 2013. Throughout reading this book, it was as if the reader was an audience in an encyclopedia reality show where a guest speaker talks about their personal journey of achieving nirvana, except that this is a theoretical discovery derived from Adlerian psychology.
When thinking about a psychological theory, Jung or Freud are renowned for their names as the founding fathers of all the conscious and unconscious elements of the soul. This time, a book debunked many people’s secret to their so-called unacceptable behaviour among society. Whereas a child neglects their parents, a friend could also walk away and live their life while their friend group backbites them for not being an interactive person anymore.
About the psychology of motivation, I refer back to these grey times I am currently in. The doubt of how I should position myself in society. The ambiguity of who I am in their faces. The misgiving of myself. Why should I walk back home? In the midst of all the bliss I collected throughout the year, why should I leave it all behind when nothing is promised? The reluctance of going forward, but am I really moving forward? What is direction, at this point?
I suspense myself by holding it back a little bit longer as an excuse to find any clue. The two characters of this book that I have just finished reading talked for days and the youth’s former goal was to rebut a debate. It is not that I don’t want to give a replying statement to this ambiguity because what is my end vanishing point that I want to walk through?
The more questions written, the more those lines engraved in me. The lines in the book were mostly from the philosopher who explained Adlerian’s psychology of motivation patiently. I believed he was excited to give a satisfying closure to the youth but then it was me who cracked the code. I was motivated by a thought that it influenced me grimly. I was not scared, but I wanted to be scared.
Let’s say the situation is that I am now scared of moving forward to the next step in life. Let me recall back everything I’ve done the past year. I’ve woken up each day to repeat the same tasks excitedly which did not burn me out, at the very least thanks to it. I’ve seen more places than what I wanted to see. I’ve seen abstraction in the form of colors and lines, dots that connect to each other, and shapes of compassion in human and arts.
I held it closely to preserve the picture. I strolled on a chilly afternoon circling around the lake of serenity next to my cherished. I prized their tears and dreams, I even unyielded mine, too.
I let go, I forgive, and I accepted.
No regret comes after letting go, at least that was what I did when I met sorrow. A beautiful melancholic summer breeze in June and the sound of weeping echoed in the living room where we shared the semi-comforter sofa. The sadness comes and goes and it still does, but a flower blooms every time I cross my leg on that sofa. I dreamed, and I still dream. It was painful but I was the gate of heaven who welcomed the bereaved pieces of my soul that became martyrs after June.
It was a brief flash to me when the book talked about reversing the motivation to an action when actions are usually caused. Actions are known better as reaction from a cause, but I partly agree with Adler of taking future goals as a part of action.
On a thought, I knew the moment should not just go by flatly. At some point, nothing is worse than a year worth of repetition. One day I would look at the clock and think that six in the morning is not the same six I got up to drink my tea. I would not be going to the same place for weekdays anymore. I would lose sight of reality and refer back to the times I was not here. It is the time when I should go back home. My safe zone, my safe home.
Except that I would not be home anymore. The four white walls are now a merely constructed sight of solid walls and that is just it. How do I look at people the same way I used to? How is it that I’ve changed myself and been forced to come back there as if it would welcome me? Unfortunate, isn’t it. It is a looping vision like a turtle’s neck. I would hide inside the four walls when I sense a threat, but when nothing is on sight, I quickly breathe for air. It has been bugging me the past few weeks. Certainty is not on my side when everything is grey by now. Who should I call in these unsettling moments?
The philosopher spoke to me in the book. It was a tale about a child who grew up traumatized from their family and behaved in consequences of how traumatized children would, which the book could describe in more detail. But the reason why the child behaved in a certain way was not because of their trauma, it was because they did not want to retaliate their relationship with their family.
To construct this, Adler developed a theory of where someone does not want to reach a certain goal so they won’t progress anywhere, but they conceal it with a past cause. It was not because their father had hit them when they were younger so it burned in their memory that made them miserable, certainly not because of the past trauma. As in fact, the child had the goal of not wanting to heal the relationship with their family to be a better person and they also did not want to repair things between them. It is reversed with a motivational pattern, not from a cause-reaction.
It goes the same way of me not wanting to be a part of home anymore. Nothing towards any personal relationship is brought here but in a wider context, I realized I did not want to submerge back to the community back there because I don’t want to form a sincere feeling of concern towards society. My goal was to detach from it, not that I was caused by a past action.
Strangely, I felt like I was betraying my true feelings when I read this book. I wanted to detach completely because I was scared to lose the courage to be disliked. There are more to be discussed in the book but when I finally understood what the title means, it was agonizing to know I have been this harsh towards myself.
The courage to be disliked does not mean you should lose sense of caring [as if caring was an easy task to do in the first place]. I would still disagree with Adler and the purpose of forming society but to take a cheat code, I would look again into the concept of affirmative resignation.
Affirmative resignation — the time when you understand the things you can change and the ones you cannot. Say, if I have to go back home and blend in with society, I have to understand that I cannot change what I am born with. It is a part of who I am, and what good would it be to force the change?
Since my goal was to detach from society, I must have had a thought of a society who does not accept someone as who they are and as a part of it, though I deny my membership, I think that there is still freedom to choose what you want to achieve without taking so hard what the society wants from us.
I can still change my thoughts on having courage. To live in freedom, to accept whatever each day brings. It feels like self-affirmation but this book tells more about self-acceptance. When you accept what you can change, the goals will change and so does the present action.
This time next year, who knows what might bring. I was not caused by who I was a year before this. May the complexities of my relationship with the community not prevent me from distancing myself from them. It was me who decided not to walk back to them. I was not caused by their actions towards me.
Ferguson, E. D. (2020). Adler’s motivational theory: An historical perspective on belonging and the fundamental human striving. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 76(1), 51–58. https://doi.org/10.1353/jip.2020.0016