In recent pages, I have discussed a popular explanation of depression, which is living or thinking irrationally in the past and anxiety is living or thinking the same way in the future. The question then becomes where is the peace. The answer is here and now. However, our reaches into the past or projections into the future have also created certain errors.
As for now, we are a mass of different circuits and patterns. We are records of our past. We are lessons from our experiences. We are also the product of our environment. We can say things like, “My parents used to do that to me,” and then we would swear that we would never do the same thing to our kids.
What I am about to share with you is very personal to me. However, this is also honest. It would seem from the rhythm and the language I use regarding my Father or “The Old Man,” as I call him, that our relationship was strong and inseparable. But in all fairness, our relationship was challenged. There was me and my thinking errors plus my misunderstandings, my misconceptions and my insecurities not to mention my anxieties and my misunderstandings. Then there was my Father, The Old Man. He had his own things going on.
There was him and his thinking errors. There was my Father and his cognitive distortions. There was me and my interpersonal frustrations and challenges in social settings. And then there was The Old Man, with his difficulties. The one thing that I overlooked as a son is that my Father was human. This meant that all of the challenges, all of the needs, wants, motivations, insecurities, pain and need for pleasure belonged to The Old Man as well. Although we see our parents as a separate entity, the truth is they are human and the same rules apply.
I never saw The Old Man as human. He was a Father. He was the head of our household. He was frustrated and angry. I never knew why. I never understood why anything I said or did, especially on a bad day for him, always seemed as if I was a large part of his frustration. This was the data. But was it accurate?
In fairness, I have never been much of a computer wiz. I am more of a people person than a paper person. But unfortunately, this day and age requires paperwork skills, follow-up and computer know how. I do prefer the basic science to the new technology, which is ever present now. No one calls anymore, Instead, most people use text features or emails, which seems highly impersonal to me. But hey, these are the times we live in. But with technology to the side, programs are programs and the quality of our programs are based on the accuracy of our information.
I was never much for data entry, which I believe is a skill of its own. I say this because one number or one missed detail can destroy the accuracy of our data reports. And data is important. In fact, the thought machine is taking data all the time. We think. We remember. We absorb information. We retain information and store this for future understanding. We learn what to do and say. We learn what to think or how to respond. This is where our cognitive biases are stored. This is where our patterns begin and evolve but what if our sources of information are inaccurate or incorrect?
I can recall listening to my Father speak to me and thinking, wait no, I was swearing the problem was me. There were times that I swore he disliked me and other times when I swore The Old Man’s dislike was more deliberate and hateful. Meanwhile, all I would do was hope for his attention. All I wanted was his approval. I wanted him to like me and I wanted him to be proud of me.
I saw his defects and flaws as my fault, which is something that spread much further than my relationships at home. Just to be clear, none of this is self-deprecating. Instead, this is an honest inventory to trace the origins of my inventory.
To me, I never knew how to act. Or, so I thought. I never knew the right things to say or do. I have files upon files of misconstrued data. I have cases of misinterpreted information that caused me to believe according to data that was interpreted poorly. I swore I would never be the way he was.
Typically, the voice I use when regrading The Old Man is both loyal and loving, which is true. I am both loyal and loving to my Father’s memory. However, I have arrived at a level of awareness where I found that I can be honest about our faults and disagreements and still honor and love my Father.
The practice of mindfulness and the new programs for our thought machine consist of wiping the old hard drives and removing old programs and data. Our objective is to reboot our system with new information that has dismantled our old assumptions and in turn, we have to offer ourselves the new software to create new and healthier programs.
Here’s the personal part . . .
I am a Father. And what does this mean? Well, this means that like my Father before me, I am human. I am capable of making mistakes. I have emotions. I have thinking errors. I’ve lost my temper more than once. And lo and behold, the things my Father did that I swore I’d never do; guess what? I did them too.
As for the direction of thinking, whether my thoughts were depressive and in the past or anxiously projected in the future, my biggest struggle was finding peace. My thought machine lacked the programming to be in the here and now; therefore, I struggled to find balance within myself.
The one thing awareness brings us is understanding, which is a new level of freedom. Now that we understand where our thoughts come from, we can understand our subconscious programs and biases. This means we can work to change them and remove old information. We can do things like say “I’m sorry” and learn to move away from old behaviors. We can learn to challenge our assumptions. Therefore, we can improve our relationships by not jumping to conclusions or responding at overly emotional levels.
The health of our thought machine impacts the health of our relationships. If we are operating in “Alarm” mode and the panic buttons are tripped, OR, if there is the perception of emergency or dishonesty, pain or problems exists and meanwhile, all of this is based on the assumptions that come from the war room section in our thought machine, the damage we create can be unfixable. The time we lose and the relationships we’ve challenged can be irreplaceable.
Think better to feel better.
Feel better to perform better.
Perform better to live better.
This is our new program.