The biggest challenges we face are the challenges in our mind. And suddenly, it’s the idea that we will face something so big or unstoppable and n the midst of our thought process, we’ve become so intimidated that we lose ourselves.
We lose our drive because our predictions have brought on the suggestion of defeat. Since the end result of our thinking is an emotional reaction that changes our chemistry; emotionally, we’ve taken on the responsibility of a loss that hasn’t even happened yet.
The biggest challenge is not the things we hear or what people say. Instead, our biggest challenge is the way we adapt or internalize this.
For example, if someone who were severely ill, as in a person who was drunk and sick on the street – in tattered clothing, talking to themselves, or screaming out to no one in particular; yet, as you pass them, they shout at you with a barrage of profanities, would you take offense to this?
Most likely, the answer here is no.
However, there are people who have left comments with us. There are people who we’ve shared a trauma bond with, whom we’ve known for a long time, who we’ve been with either socially or personally and we take them for their word.
We listen to them intently as if they are an authority in our life. In many ways, there is an emotional dependency or an emotional bullyism. We know they’re wrong and we know what they’re saying and doing yet we take their insults or we listen as if their words are law.
And then what? Do we accept this?
Do we take this in and internalize this as truth?
Or, better yet, is the person (or bully) any healthier than the person who drunkenly screams profanity on the street?
We run the external dialogues in our mind, which is incorporated with our internal dialogues and, remember, the mind is smart. The mind remembers. The mind does math and calculates thoughts and ideas to create emotional factors.
Our mind is a powerful resource yet there are times when our mind can be a disservice to us.
Consider something –
Think about your day. Think about the interactions you plan to have. Now, I want you to think about the energy behind the people you will interact with.
Consider the people who you will have to deal with professionally and personally and then divide this in a list of pros and cons. This is where we can check our emotional attachments.
So, if the day is filled with people you are excited to see and happy to be around, one might predict laughter. One might predict fun times or a safe atmosphere and our predictions would be good or happy.
But, let’s say the day will be spent in an unsatisfying place. Let’s say the atmosphere is less than comfortable; therefore, we would feel less than safe. We’d be on guard, dreading the day, waiting for the problems and predicting the worst. Therefore, our projections of what we assume will be essentially armed and ready for defeat.
Here’s a personal addition:
There is a tall building on 7th Avenue near 57th Street, which I knew very well. I knew the people who worked in the management office. I knew the engineering staff. I knew the security staff as well as some of the executive who managed the property.
I was employed as a watch engineer in the plant of this building where I serviced and ran the building’s cooling and heating systems. However, and in all fairness to everyone involved, I was not a good fit for this position. I was nervous. I was young. I had entered into a personal relationship that I didn’t know how to get away from. I was afraid to be alone and afraid to be a failure (or whatever that meant to me at the time).
I was unhappy with the ideas I settled upon because I traded my wishes (which I thought would never come true) for a safety plan to ensure that first, I would not have to deal with the fears of lonesomeness or rejection and secondly, that although my career was not the career I wanted for myself, at least I was working. And thirdly, although on the inside I was fragile and frail, I suppose my external life showed a semblance of security.
However, I was far from secure. I engaged with a bond between myself and past and present traumas, which I had allowed to steer my decisions into a new bond with yet another trauma of an unsafe work environment, which was also perpetuated by me.
I became part of a cyclical lifestyle in which I knew I was heading in the wrong direction and I knew I was unhappy. Yet, life took on an unstoppable momentum.
It seemed to me as if I missed my window of escape and that although there are literally countless opportunities each day to change our mind, I was locked in to a life that seemed as if there was no escape.
Therefore, my predictions of each day were the same. Each morning I already knew how I was about to feel. I knew who I would be around. I knew the influences around me were unfriendly and the environment was unsteady. Oftentimes, this was emotionally unsafe.
I was on guard all the time. I was waiting for the next thing to go wrong. I was waiting for the argument or the insults to my intelligence at home.
I was waiting for the constant stream of impending doom; therefore, this was going to be me, all day, every day – unfulfilling at best, unwanted, unenthused and underwhelming.
If we become our thoughts and our emotions are a result of our thinking, imagine the emotional reactions I had to this type of living.
I can remember coming into work after an hour-long commute. I’d get out at New York City’s Pennsylvania Station and then take a subway uptown to 57th Street. I’d emerge from the subway, up the stairs, and as I’d arrive at the building, I’d stare at the tall glass structure, which was awesome and visually appealing yet everything else about this place was uninspiring and unappealing.
I can remember mornings when I’d arrive and rather than enter the lobby, I’d call the office and explain that I was sick – or, I’d come up with a story because the idea of facing the day or passing through the doorways was too depressing for me.
I lived to nurture my anxiety instead of nurturing my ability to create solutions.
This was more than my disagreements with the people I worked with. This was more than my responsibility for not performing well or being too nervous (and insecure) that I would be seen as unlikable or unworthy – and therefore, I found myself running the internal dialogue and setting myself up for a cyclical failure.
I became addicted to a thought process that further degraded my relationship with my position. I say my position because this is more important than the people I interacted with.
I knew that I was not wrong about “everything.”
I knew that the problem was not “all me.” However, I took on all of the responsibilities of my trauma and my bonds with personal dependencies and thus this became me.
I became the problem. Not the solution.
I often use the analogy of losing to something the way water loses to a drain. And this was me. At any point, I could have stopped the whirlpool. I could have changed my interaction. I could have stopped seeking approval and simply allowed myself to switch focus and pay attention to the work in front of me. Instead, I thought nervously. I planned nervously and as a result, I found myself in the palm of nervous reactions. In other words, I was a part of this. I was hinged to this and since this was my focus, I was biased because of this.
Our connection to our predictions has the ability to change or rearrange our priorities. Therefore, going forward and after living this way for way too long – I decided to stop listening to insults or owning the bonds I’ve had with past and present traumas.
I had to step away from my ideas of outcomes. Rather than worry about the unalterable or the things that could not be changed, I had to create my changes from within.
All too often, people find themselves in a life that they cannot get out of. Personally, I get it. I’ve felt this way too. I think we’ve all “felt” trapped at one point or another.
However, if our goal is freedom then our focus has to be based on freeing ourselves. This means freedom from doubt. This means freedom from limitations and freedom from the internal dialogues. This also means freedom from insults that come from people who, if we look at them honestly, perhaps they are no healthier than the example of a screaming drunk in my earlier paragraphs.
The trick is to change our thinking. The end result is to change our feelings and our interactions so that at all points possible, we never settle for less than we dreamed of.
Do you know why people find it hard to get out of bed?
It’s because they believe their predictions that their life is uneventful, unworthy, unwanted and unenjoyable.
Imagine how many lives would be saved if we could change this . . .