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SITE: “The Way of Individuation”, by Jolande Jacobi, in article by Martha Blake
See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
Field-INDEPENDENT (FI) – having a reasonable amount of S & I (opposite of FD)
Individuation is expressed by being inner-directed, which means mainly gaining a sense of identity & value from our own unique nature, not just from our heredity & social training – OR how we are perceived by others! We gradually become F-I, knowing what we think & how to act, based on rigorous honesty, staying awake (mindfulness) & self-evaluation – rather than trying to figure out who we are & how to interact with others by people-pleasing (passive) or being controlling (aggressive).
• Being internally motivated is associated with overall psychological and physical health : pleasant emotions, improved conceptual and creative thinking, superior memory recall, enhanced performance & willingness to engage in a wide variety of tasks. The most original, creative and outstanding men and women are clearly ‘marching to their own drummer’, (there’s a significant correlation between F-I and IQ), but expressing one’s highest potential isn’t limited to an elite group – it’s available to all human beings with the courage of their convictions.
• Field-Independents are internally motivated by their True Self, which is based on self-esteem. Introverts are naturally inner-directed, but most do not have a healthy Self. So Introversion & being FI are not synonymous.
• While Extroverts are naturally outer-directed they can still be FI when emotionally healthy. Since being F-I comes from having good boundaries & permission to have all ones needs, it doesn’t limit or undermine the degree of Individuation anyone can achieve
• F-Is have the ability to focus on details in their environment in spite of the clutter of background ‘noise’, extracting what they need from non-relevant items within the field (as in “pick the item in this picture that doesn’t belong”).
• They’re able to create structure even when it is not inherent in a given situation, tend to be more efficient at retrieving items from memory & so frame current experiences & info in the context of prior knowledge
• They learn more effectively by screening out distracting information and focusing on a task, often favoring natural sciences, math, engineering – but not exclusively. ALSO, they can step back to see the whole forest (the background) not just the tree in front of them (the foreground).
• F-Is are able to have successful relationships with others in many different settings. They don’t wait to be chosen but are pro-active in choosing who they want to interact with and how. They can stay or leave, depending on what they know is suitable for them, or not.
Stages of Individuation
Individuation is the development of the psyche, which matures in much the same way as the physical body. It’s about uniting opposites in ourselves – good & bad, light & dark, male & female. A number of Jungian psychologists have divided this process into 4 stages, each with its dangers that must be avoided, and each with its rewards:
• Becoming conscious of the shadow
Facing our ‘dark side‘ – things we’ve repressed or ignored. Just as the Persona is what we present to the world, so the Shadow holds all the things we want to hide from the world, but mainly from ourselves
• Becoming conscious of the anima or animus
This has to do with sexual wholeness. The anima is the ‘inner femininity’ of men & the animus the ‘inner masculinity’ of women. Jung (1978) wrote that the anima and animus represent “functions which filter the contents of the collective unconscious through to the conscious mind”, coloring the Ego’s perception of Self & others in many different ways.
• Becoming conscious of the archetypal spirit
This is about uniting matter and spirit, body and mind – facing both the good & evil we are all capable of. It’s also about liberating us from our same-sex parent. For men the archetype is the ‘Wise old Man’, & for women the ‘Magna Mater’, the great earth mother.
• Becoming conscious of the Self
Jung (1977) called this final step ‘self-realization’. Jacobi (1973) wrote: “For the conscious personality, the birth of the Self means a shift in its psychic center, and consequently an entirely different attitude toward, and view of, life”. (MORE….)
NEXT: S & I – Healthy Individuation (Part 3)