The other woman is out to get you. Everything she does is motivated by an intense, burning desire to see you fail, to make you suffer. Her life revolves around making you miserable — and miserable you are, despite yourself.
Although… something about this feeling seems familiar.
You can’t quite put your finger on it….
You take a look around your life and feel small and powerless. Too many demands. Too many people needing your time and attention. Not enough people really looking out for YOU and what you might need. You feel burdened, lonely and somehow… doomed.
Something about that empty, aching feeling in your heart feels familiar.
But you can’t quite put your finger on it.
You’re doing your best to create a connection with your children or stepchildren; with your partner. You meet hurtful or flip responses with warmth and soft eyes. You still go the extra mile with the little things, telling yourself you’re practicing devotion, loyalty, forgiveness.
Lying awake in bed at night when everyone else is asleep, you notice that something about feeling unloved and out of place seems familiar.
But you can’t quite put your finger on it.
Here’s what’s actually happening.
Deep in the back of your mind, beneath your conscious attention, you have messages that you’re repeating to yourself throughout your day.
I’m never really safe; I can’t totally relax or disaster awaits me.
My needs are unimportant because I don’t really matter.
I have to give more than I get because I don’t deserve any better.
But really, what your minds says to you in the form of subconscious beliefs is even worse than that.
And a lot shorter.
And more extreme.
So extreme that, if anyone were to ever stand in front of us and say this stuff to our face, we’d be sorely tempted to deck them!
Nobody really loves me.
Something is seriously wrong with me.
If people really knew who I was, they’d run.
I will always end up being hurt.
Nothing ever goes right.
I ruin everything.
These beliefs are formed in the very beginning of our lives because — as the logic goes — our parents and primary caregivers are bound to fail us.
They have to. That’s because the perfect human being — one who can anticipate our every waking need, satisfy our quirky preferences and our personality-driven compulsions and interests — has not yet been invented.
So we will be disappointed. We will feel misunderstood, unseen, rejected.
And occasionally, absolutely gutted.
Even though we’re supposedly a few steps above common animals, humans still have an almost overwhelmingly strong desire to belong to the pack.
Try to do it all alone: hunt, kill, eat, rest, repeat — and you’re likely to not be doing it for very long. There’s safety and survival in numbers.
Which is why it’s better to make ourselves wrong first. We need the pack more than we consciously need ourselves in the very beginning.
And thus, the little gremlins of our subconscious mind are born.
They’re a way for us to contextualize our lives, to explain to ourselves why things go as they do.
They’re a way to create predictability and theoretically, to reduce future upsets and crushing blows. They’re a means of preparing ourselves, by learning from the unwanted experiences of the past.
Only problem is, the ancient wiring system for our Default Disaster Playbook is seriously flawed — at least when it comes to creating healthy, emotional lives as adults.
We start LIVING by those extreme, distorted mantras as if they are always true — as if that is “just the way life is…”
And then we make our lives FIT the mantra to prove ourselves right.
Which is why it’s sometimes vaguely satisfying when things go wrong, even if we’re also deeply distressed and would swear on our favorite pets’ grave that we wish it weren’t so!
So what mantras, what secret driving forces, what subconscious beliefs could be running your life?
What themes or patterns seem to be playing themselves out, despite your best efforts to create otherwise?
The good news is, there are effective ways to address and transform those beliefs now that really do work.
You can be worthy, safe, lovable, valued.
You can trust others.
You can create a life of meaning and purpose.
But the first step is to listen closely.
And to tell the truth about what you find.
A little tip for you: if you’re reluctant to (even privately) spell out those outdated, subconscious beliefs in all their extreme glory—you’re still confusing yourself with the belief, as if it’s true!
The first step is to call it as you see it.
Then you can create a plan of action that deals with what is.
What have you discovered about what’s driving your life?
© 2011 Jennifer Newcomb Marine All Rights Reserved
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