Tumblr is essentially the same thing Xanga used to be. Did you guys ever have a Xanga account? Man, I blogged every single day. I always had so much to say. Needless to say as free as I felt to just indulge my every secret to the whole internet, I am equally as unwilling to really talk about my life on here now. Of course, I did have a particularly terrible experience when my parents found my Xanga and I immediately deleted the whole thing before they could read it all and know what was really running through my mind. I wish I could go back and read those 13 year old thoughts.
I wonder why it is that I am so secretive about the way I think and feel. I’ve caused myself a great deal of self-inflicted loneliness because of my unwillingness to be open. It’s not something I really try to do, but I do it anyway.
In fact, I’m learning about unconscious life-scripts in my success strategies class right now. I’ve always thought the whole “It’s because of your childhood” business was a crock of shit, but as I read and study more I find that there is actually a lot of validity in it. It doesn’t mean you can use a shitty childhood as an excuse to suck in life or become complaisant, however it can help you to understand some of your subconscious motivations for the things you do. I know personally I always want to do what will make me happy, successful, and achieve my goals. Then as much as I seem to want something, or talk about wanting something I find at times I’m completely sabotaging myself. I’m doing things that are going the opposite direction of the goals I say I want. It troubles me because even I don’t understand why I make some of the choices I do. These are a couple quotes I found interesting from the text:
“The grooves of mindlessness run deep. We know our scripts by heart.” -Ellen J. Langer
“The hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach.” -Carson McCullers
What do you do that causes you to make choices that other people think are strange? More important, what do you believe that keeps you from creating the outcomes and experiences you want?
The book talks about how we write our life scripts, or the way we view ourselves, and the world. How others responded to us as small children tends to help create the beliefs that dominate our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Another factor is what significant adults said to us. And lastly we observed the behavior of significant adults in our lives and often model those behaviors into our adult lives.
The book quotes “Parents, deliberately or unaware, teach their children from birth how to behave, think, feel, and perceive. Liberation from these influences is no easy matter.” -Eric Berne.
Although liberation from things we learned as children and built into our core beliefs can be difficult, it’s not impossible. The first step in changing the life-scripts that hold you back or sabotage you is just being aware of your own limiting thoughts. That’s easier said than done. Trust me, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how I can be so ambitious and driven and truly in pursuit of happiness and success and then still make the strangest choices. It’s very difficult to even admit to yourself what it is that you may really think in your mind.
To let you in, I’ll give you a few examples of self-defeating thoughts and habits that I can relate to:
- I waste a lot of time doing unimportant things (e.g., surfing the web, laying in bed doing nothing, drinking at inappropriate times just because I’m bored)
- I wonder if I’m “college material” at times.
- I easily get upset (e.g., angry, sad, anxious, depressed, frustrated).
- I often turn in college assignments late. Well, on this one it’s not so true anymore. I’m happy to report next week is my last week of this class and I still have an A and have only not turned in 1 assignment on time.
- I get nervous around my instructors. And well, basically anyone I feel is “higher ranked” than myself.
- I worry excessively about doing things perfectly.
- I quit on things that are important to me.
- I am very critical of myself.
- I want until the last minute to do important college assignments. This unfortunately is still true for me. In fact, this week I’ve spent a great deal of time procrastinating and although I’ve read the chapters for the week, I still haven’t done a lick of the work that’s due tonight at midnight. I’m pretty sure the instructor doesn’t intend for us to do a weeks worth of work in one day.
- I don’t ask questions or participate in class discussions. This one depends. Somethings this is true, it just depends on my mood. And we never know how that’s going to be.
- I often break promises I have made to myself or others. Sad to admit this one applies to me. But the first step in self awareness is taking a candid inventory of what’s really going on in your life. I think I’ve avoided this one by trying to never make promises or really commit seriously to anything. So far, it hasn’t worked out well for me and I’ve experienced a great deal of grief because of it. Well, it is what it is.
- I’m addicted to something. In general this could be to anything from caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, soda, video games, etc. I’m not personally addicted to any of these actually, but I’m usually always addicted to something that isn’t productive. I’ve gone through my phases with alcohol and cigarettes, but although I’ve pulled myself away from these things I would say I’m addicted to immediate gratification and procrastination more than anything else. And trying to get the most compensation for the least amount of work, if possible. Like I said, some of it’s ugly but the truth is the truth.
- I feel uncomfortable asking for help. This is probably one my top three list. I am TERRIBLE at asking for help. It truly makes me sick to feel like I’m having to burden someone else to help me take care of something I feel I should be able to handle myself. This is incredibly self-defeating for me.
- I keep promising to study more in college, but I don’t. At this point, I’m doing better than I ever have before but I know I’m not doing my best work sometimes.
- I get my feelings hurt easily.
These are just a few examples of the many things that can hold us back in our lives. What is something you habitually think or do that keeps you from achieving your full potential? It’s a lot easier to skip this question instead of pausing for a moment to write a few down, or at least mentally pull up the answers to the forefront of your mind. That’s avoidance behavior, which is also a self-defeating habit and I’m quite familiar with this one as well.
The good news is that it’s possible for us to all rewrite the outdated scripts in our lives. And until we do, we’re a lot less likely to achieve some of the most valued dreams and goals we have. One of the most important parts of changing the scripts in your life that hold you back is believing in yourself. Believing you have the power to create the life and outcomes you want, and that you’re smart enough and able enough and resourceful enough and persistent enough. Those things are all true if you make it so.
“It is a marvelous faculty of the human mind that we are also able to stop old programming from holding us back, anytime we choose to. That gift is called conscious choice.” -Shad Helmstetter
“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” -Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief, Essence Magazine