Tag Archives: personal development

Einstein, default settings and inner change

16 Nov

Albert Einstein (some say) once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was the definition of insanity.  My good friend Sheena once said that if you are sick of getting what you always get, stop doing what you always do  – the original source of this quote is unknown! Now, there is nothing wrong with my ears, nor my cognitive processing, but despite hearing and sagely acknowledging both of these wise quotes many times, my general demeanor and disposition would suggest otherwise to an on-looker.

Personal or inner change is difficult to achieve – the process is long, slow and frustrating with genuine ‘turning-points’ being too few and far between to keep us determined. We know we desperately want to change – what ever it is we are trying to change – to make our lives better. We set ourselves at the ready, know what we need to do in the given situation and we have our plan of action all worked out.

It was at this point that I failed spectacularly every time. Despite my best thought-out intentions, when it eventually came to the crunch – when the ‘upgraded me’ was due make its grand entrance, I would unceremoniously revert back to my default settings and fail miserably.

Inner change is essentially re-programming, especially when you are dealing with deep-seated issues like self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Each of these elements revolve around the other, knitted tightly through themselves and it is almost impossible to have one without the other two. Changing the perception of yourself from within is a lengthy process, taken in tiny steps through a plethora of thoughts, interactions, reasonings and judgments over a long time. It’s a long haul for anyone.

For me, I was completely useless at standing up for myself. End of.  I hated that I mostly always took on the role of  inferiority by default. It was only when my back was completely against the wall that I fought my corner – and even then, my fight was unsteady, flinching and unconvincing. I didn’t believe in myself.

Trying to change this was enormous and at the same time it all depended on so many variables – past experiences in similar situations, knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of who or what I was dealing with, my own self-confidence on a given day and my challenged sense of my own self-worth. It was so difficult to stay in control – to try to come out evens – when you always felt less strong than those around you.

My constant disappointment in myself at my inability to stick up for myself finally forced me to attempt to change. The main catalyst for attempting this change was a massive life event whereby my default response of inferiority pushed me into deeper trouble and unwittingly assuming guilt. I was so out of my depth, was so distraught and frustrated that perhaps the fight element of the ‘fight or flight’ response kicked in. Maybe it was the final straw and I had been pushed to the limit but deep within me the spark of self-worth ignited. Finally.

It was a big day – not because of the event itself but because I was sick of getting what I always got, so I stopped doing what I always did. It wasn’t an immediate over-all change – but little events happened after that where I could practice what I had learned from the big event – sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed.

 

Eventually though, a new pattern (although sporadic) began to emerge. It was slow for sure but I am now stunned by the internal knock-on effects and inner strength standing up for yourself brings. It was a tough slog to get on this road, but I am slowly beginning to feel like the person I should have been all along.

NMG.C

The Lesser of Two Evils

12 Jun

Just when things are going as swimmingly as they could, along comes a big shark to scare you out of the water! Well, a couple of sharks actually. Friday evening I did the now-standard reaction of jumping up from my writing desk, running out into the garden and pacing backwards and forwards for half an hour, fretting like crazy. Only this time it wasn’t about my writing. It was about that dear old existence called Life and trying to figure out which is the lesser of two evils.

2012 was always going to be a tough year financially but, I hoped, a constructive year personally. This is the year of introspection;  I finally accepted that I needed to take ‘time-out’ so as I could deconstruct myself, try to understand the fears that paralyze me psychologically and make practical progress in fixing me inside so as I could try to secure a better future for myself on the outside. It took me 3 years of living in darkness to finally realize that I could no longer pursue the normal pace of life while my head was in a dizzy, swirling cloud of disillusion, depression,  misery and lost-ness. I had to get off the merry-go-round and exit stage-left from the rat race before I hurt myself and the people I cared about.

Wouldn’t I love to spend 6 months in a beautiful paradise retreat figuring out the meaning of my life and everything that fills it – emotionally, psychologically and philosophically. My only chance of securing the funds for something like this would involve a bank and a pair of stockings over my head and so, after years of struggle I have had embark on this path of self-discovery while flat broke and trying to keep my head about water.

Friday’s reaction was in the face of the circling sharks ; the bank, the solicitors, the phone company, the gas company, the insurance company, the landlord (the brick-layer and the candle-stick maker…) – would they understand my human quest and what I was trying to do? In the garden, I asked myself if I should ‘cop-on’, give up this dream of self-discovery  and launch myself back into ‘real-life’ – back to the scramble, the confusion and the mental exhaustion where at least money/survival was more secure and I could keep the sharks at arms length. I have thought of little else in 3 days.

It’s a classic case of deciding which is the lesser of two (perhaps not-so-evil) evils:- broke and struggling with meeting the practicalities of life, while trying to decipher my life and mind OR being some-what financially secure while dealing with a tormented psyche?

There must be a balance?

NMG.C

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