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  • Misha Bogart-Monteith

Typing your dominant instinct


What's your “go-to” instinct? We all develop a dominant instinct and it’s our hypothesis that this bias is due to nurture (our environmental upbringing) and less having to do with nature (our biology). Our instinctual attention bias receives the majority of our life energy―"where attention goes, energy flows." ⠀ ⠀ Self Pres (SP) dominant people find identity and safety through preserving their body and external atmosphere. This serves as a kind of superpower, since SP people are skilled at identifying what they physically need and making themselves more comfortable. They tend to have a skill at creating and maintaining a cozy and nourishing home (probably anyone you know who lives by the Danish principle of “Hygge”). I love the way my SP friend cares for his objects takes the time to polish and replace all the bulbs in his stereo receiver or the way my partner, Angela, religiously oils her cast iron pans after each use. Mario Sikora captures SP dominant people so well when he describes them as collectors of the traditions and artifacts that “create a sense of continuity with the past.” ⠀ ⠀ On the other hand, SP instinctual bias―that space where we are over-identifying with our instinct and, therefore, giving it too much attention―is like a gear getting stuck in drive, where attention to SP needs becomes too rigid. For instance, they can become inflexible about the particulars of how their house is maintained, making partners or roommates feel that they have no ownership over managing and inhabiting the home they share. Any kind of bodily discomfort might make them feel stressed and unsafe.* Over-identified SP can look a myriad of ways, but the extreme side of the spectrum might look like becoming a hermit, developing disordered eating, or compulsively exercising. ⠀ ⠀ *Later on we’ll talk about chronic illness & SP needs. Here, though, we’re talking about everyday, minor kinds of discomfort that don’t pose an actual threat to a person’s wellbeing in that moment, where perceived threat is different than actual threat.


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