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Archive for May, 2011

Ups and downs

I can see why I might unconsciously choose to believe I’m unlovable. It avoids the wide differential between hope and despair.

Case in point: I meet a woman today who I really like and seems to really like me. Our interaction is short, but entirely positive. I begin to create a story in my mind of us dating. I feel hopeful and excited. A half hour later I find out she’s not single. I sink to a hellish realm of absolutes (“I’ll never meet anyone” and “This always happens to me”). Hope to despair.

And that feeling paints my whole life the color of “fuck it all.”

Heaven to hell in 30 minutes or less. Guaranteed.

Better to just believe I’m unlovable in the first place, right?

The truth is that I don’t even know for sure she’s not single. I don’t know very much about her, or even if we’d really click. There was no good reason for me to get so high or so low.

At least I’m aware. The feelings are somewhat softened by awareness. Somewhat. Next, accept it. And then explore the emptiness of it.

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Choosing low self-esteem

Why would my mind go so often to a story of me as unlovable, undesirable?

This is not a question asked out of exasperation or despair, but a genuine curiosity as to the function or purpose of low self-esteem. Why would a person choose to think poorly of themselves? What does that serve?

In a video I saw of an intervention Anthony Robbins did with one of his clients at a seminar, he described how her limiting patterns were the result of a survival strategy she adopted when she was young. In other words, she started to do something to protect herself as a child, and then unknowingly continued to use this strategy as an adult, even though it wasn’t necessary or appropriate anymore.

So again, why would I choose over and over again to tell myself the story that I am unlovable and undesirable? Answer: To free me of the adult responsibility of creating my own experience of life.

If I want to feel lovable and desirable, it’s my job to create those feelings within me. This is scary. What if I try and fail? As crazy as it sounds, it’s more comfortable for me to believe I’m inherently unlovable than to acknowledge that I’ve tried to be lovable and failed. For example, it’s more comfortable for me to believe that I’m inherently unattractive and that’s why I’m single than to acknowledge that I’m single because I fail to take the actions necessary to meet women and date them.

Early in my life I learned that nothing I did was good enough for my father. So I stopped trying. Now I’m using that same strategy with women. I am shirking my response-ability.

And when I seek pity (“poor me, I’m so unlovable”), I’m in effect seeking someone else to make it all better for me. Again, not embracing my response-ability, but wanting the change to come from “out there.”

As I teach my clients, the first step is the Practice of Awareness. That’s what this blog post is.

Then the Practice of Acceptance. The past is the past, and my tendency is to fall back into that old pattern. It’s not my destiny.

Next is the Practice of Response-ability, choosing a non-conditioned, conscious response.

I’m going to respond by using this story as an object of meditation, really getting inside of it and experiencing it as empty, as constructed, so that it no longer has such a strong hold on me.

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80 Pushups

A journal entry from November 28, 2004:

I went for my walk. I repeated affirmations of strenth and power. I visualized doing the 80 pushups. I got in a peak positive state. I got into position, knees rested on the ground for support until I was ready to begin. I repeated over and over “I can do 80 pushups. I am 80 pushups strong.” But as I was about to begin, I sensed doubt, I sensed vulnerability, the chink in my armor. I sensed that my afifimations and positivity were not enough.

Be honest, do I believe those things? No, I don’t believe them. So what does that mean? What can I learn? Then I thought of the past, I thought of the film I made with no financing and no experience. I thought of the week-long fasts I’ve done; I thought of the 13 miles I once ran. I remembered many of the goals I accomplished that I didn’t believe I could do. And the answer came to me: I don’t need to believe it, I just need to do it. So I began…

81 pushups.

This reminds me of a quote from Ajahn Brahm’s Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?:

Thinking about it is much harder than doing it.

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