Photo of J'aime ona Pangaia

Personal and Impersonal Energies

by J'aime ona Pangaia
copyright 2005
Downloadable pdf file (568KB)

There are parts of us who are oriented towards establishing and maintaining connections, or boundaries, union or autonomy, love or respect, proximity or distance, togetherness or separateness. They represent powerful ways that we’ve learned (or archetypally inherited) to fulfill the basic natural principles of union and autonomy. Typically, in patriarchal cultures, men are more socialized to carry Impersonal energy and women, Personal. This is modified however, by one’s personal family dynamics and early childhood experiences.
These two systems of psychic energetics, give an overall tone to all the other inner selves we might identify with. For example, a person can be strongly identified with being “Responsible” in life, and this inner part, when expressed through Impersonal energy, is felt very differently than if it were expressed Impersonally.
These energies can be expressed on a continuum anywhere from “zero to one hundred” in terms of intensity. The more intense, the more defended the felt need, or principle underneath it is.
Describing Impersonal Energy
On the Impersonal side, we have a way of being that just feels like a having a comfortable sense of everyone's uniqueness, validity and a feeling of respect. We enjoy a sense of knowing our tastes, having an individual style, our own rhythms, our own direction.
The more Impersonal we get, the more we tend to be in our head and the less concerned we are about other peoples' feelings. We have the sense that we are not responsible for other people's feelings or issues, they are. That is, we trust and know that others are ultimately responsible for their own experience.
As we get stronger in that energy, we become more in tune with our own needs and concerns and even less with others. It may show up as establishing more physical distance, stiffness, formality or being circumspect or detached. We value respect for others and ourselves. It’s not that we don’t like others, it’s that we are more tuned into what our own needs and directions are. Strong Impersonal selves feel most comfortable with a sense of insulation from the influence of others.
From here we would neither concern ourselves much with other people's affairs, perceiving it as meddlesome and invasive, nor do we like to be inquired of.
With Impersonal energy, we can say no to someone, easily. When we are even further over on the Impersonal side, we are adamant. We may actually be hard to find and unavailable. A signature basis of this whole energetic system, is that we feel entitled to ourselves.
The downside is that when we live from this energy exclusively, other parts of us get very lonely.
When we are overly identified with Impersonal Energy, and our boundaries are rigidly protected and we are in contact with those who have strong Personal energy of any kind, we can feel invaded or overwhelmed by their feelings, ideas or will.
Personal Energy
On the Personal side, near the center point we are nicely connected with others, without any urgency to it. We have an ambient sense of connectedness. We feel a sense of openness towards others, willing to get to know and experience them. Our focus of attention is on ‘how WE are doing.”
As we move over more strongly into this energy, we feel more desire to connect, we feel more in tune with how others are feeling, more sensitive to the needs of others. We “care”. We feel love, affection, concern and an impulse to take make contact with others, as a way of taking care of “us”. We perceive ourselves as heart-centered.
We would inquire into others, because we DO care and we want them to know we're interested in them. Ultimately, caring for others is a way to establish and maintain contact; it protects us from feeling alone and insignificant.
The further over in this energy we go, we become downright empathetic, if not outright telepathic. We know how others are feeling, because we believe that we feel it too.
From here, we wouldn't say no, we want to find a way that works for everyone. Making everyone happy is a priority! Selflessness is a virtue.
In this Personal energetic system, we can feel passionately for others, if not love for just about anyone. We feel good knowing that others feel good in our caring presence.
The downside is that we live for others approval and so we can't do anything that could risk disapproval. We lose touch with our experience of our own body, our own style, our preferences and direction.
When we are overly identified with Personal Energy, and our connections are rigidly protected and we are in contact with those who have strong Impersonal energy of any kind, we can feel abandoned, rejected, insignificant or ignored. We want “You” and “I” to exist merged, in a singular presence called “Us”, that would insulate us from our own solitary, and potentially isolated existence. Life feels empty and even meaningless without others to connect to.
Anger and Fear
When someone who is identified with the Impersonal energies begins to get fearful and angry, they might say "I'm fine, leave me alone." When that person is really angry they slam the door as they leave or they hang up the phone on you, and they don't return your calls. They break connection. When it's really serious, they never want to speak to you again.
When someone who is identified with the Personal energies gets threatened, they want to talk about it. “Let’s process this and work it out.” If they're really angry with you, they're yelling, in your face, sputtering! When they've reached the end of their rope with you, they might use physical contact to make the connection.
Examples of Common Sub-personalities
Here are some of the selves that operate under the auspices of the Personal and Impersonal Energies. These are just ideas, certainly not all the ways in which your personal or impersonal energies will manifest.
Personal Impersonal
Pleaser Mind
Caretaker Professional
Confidante Private
Social Mayor Socially self-reliant
Conformer Individualist
The Busy-body The Cold Fish
Mind Reader The one who sedates others
Helpful Delegator
You can add more examples from people you know, famous movie or TV characters or your own tendencies.
Inward and Outward
Both Personal and Impersonal Energies operate in two ways, ways that I’ll simply call Inward and Outward.
Some examples of “Outward Impersonal” energy would be someone who is comfortable setting boundaries by establishing or extending them. They make declarative statements. “I prefer apples to oranges.” They can say no. “No, I don’t want an orange.” They set time boundaries. “I have 10 more minutes and then I’ll have to go.” They set space boundaries. “Would you move over a bit? You’re sitting too close.” They set emotional boundaries. “This is how I feel.” or, “That’s not how I feel.” They set mental boundaries. “This is what I think.” or, “I don’t believe in that idea.” They set behavioral boundaries. “This is what I will (or will not) do.” Energetically, this person feels like they either have a wall around them or that they are unbudge-able. They experience themselves as ‘solid and clear’.
Examples of “Inward Impersonal” energy would be someone who is most comfortable by withdrawing themselves from what doesn’t suit them. This is the other way of preserving the integrity of their own experience and preferences. They leave the offered orange untouched. When they’ve reached their time limit, they withdraw their attention, or leave. Spatially, they move over, change seats, or leave the room. Sometimes, they move to a different city! Emotionally, they don’t offer their feelings, not even to correct an erroneous assumption by another. They don’t proffer their ideas. They go ahead and do their own thing, without needing to seek approval or permission from others. They consider themselves “private”.
Looking at “Outward Personal” energy, in terms of behavior, we see someone who again, extends themselves in order to establish and maintain, in this case, connection. They can surrender the details in favor of connection. “Apples, oranges, it doesn’t matter. I’ll have whatever is easiest for you.” They don’t let time interfere with connection, making whatever time is necessary, especially if they believe the other person needs or wants them to. They reach out to make physical contact (touching) & proximity. “Good” eye contact is important. They feel it’s important to share their feelings, ideas, plans, activities. They seek ways to plan activities together with others. They experience themselves as “givers’.
“Inward Personal” energy, has the quality of being empathetic. They can “tell” that you want them to have an orange. They can sense how much time others need and they adjust to meet it so that a sense of connection is preserved. They absorb the energy of others. They sense and feel the emotional tones of others. They’re easily moved by the experience of others. They are eager to understand what the other person thinks and believes; they give it weight. They are good “Helpers” knowing almost before you do, what you’ll need next, or want to do next. It’s their attentiveness to and watchfulness of the experience of others that helps them to anticipate what’s next. They experience themselves as ‘receptive’.
We may have a primary identification with Personal or Impersonal energy, as well as to Inward or Outward. The consciousness work that Voice Dialogue offers, is the potential to, over time, loosen the attachment (identification) or, habituated patterns we have with these ways of being, to allow us the freedom of choosing either, as current conditions present themselves.