What do we know?
How do we know?
Most importantly, WHY do we know?
The role models of our lives taught us what we know. Role models, such as parents, relatives, teachers, authority figures, etc. have passed on bits of knowledge and wisdom to us. At least that's what happens in an ideal world. We impart the lessons given to us, and take the knowledge for what it's worth. Many times, the value of that "knowledge" and the "lessons" learned are not helpful to us at all. Despite this, we accept it as fact, and go through our lives, limited by this belief that is instilled within us. We accept it as fact, and believe it as if it were true.
Cycle of Doubt
We've all had people in our lives, supposedly meaning well, telling us that they think we shouldn't do this, or that we're not capable of it; maybe it was one or both of our parents, seeing the difficulty we were having with something, and so, in an effort to "help" the child, they end up doing the very thing that the child needs to see and do for himself, no matter what the outcome. They cushion the bumps for the child, in essence reinforcing the belief that he or she cannot do for himself. This also creates a dependence factor on someone else in the child's (and later adult child's) life, requiring someone to help, and ultimately, due to the child's learned manipulative tactics, ends up doing it altogether. This also strengthens the belief in the one who is assisting, that the child can't do for himself, further perpetuating the cycle. "I can't" becomes a reality, and becomes the modus operandi for him or her. This belief stays with them because it is perpetuated through several behaviors and manipulative actions.
Wait...are you saying...
No, I'm not saying that the Law of Attraction holds true all the time. I can say it does because I see where it does hold true in my life quite a bit. Financially, I could be considered a bit down on my luck, but I did make the choice to be this way. Yes, I gave up and walked away many times in my life, and the reasons were almost always the same; "I can't do it," was my motto, stemming from childhood. Maybe Freud was right in some respects, but he fails to suggest that we can change, that we are "stuck" in whatever it is that we believe.
This is where different variables come into play, such as those role models who did not take the time to show us how to do what we needed to do, or maybe in my case, that role model didn't have enough patience to show me, getting easily frustrated. So what does a child do when they are frightened? They back away, they clam up, or retreat to their room to safety. Of course, said role model also finished the work of the frightened child, leaving nothing for the child to learn, only hard-wiring the fact that he or she can't do this "thing," adding it to the pile of failures. In that child's mind, one thing is clear...
FAILURE = I'M A BAD PERSON
I believed this for so many years, due to a steep learning curve, strained relations with my family and friends, and the disposition I had come to live with. Positive feedback was something that was rarely a part of my life, and when it did come, it was fleeting, with almost no meaning attached whatsoever. The inner focus was on what I can't do, versus what I CAN do. I was very quick to point out the things that I couldn't do, didn't want, and didn't like. It was difficult for me to see things in a positive light. In this way, I was a product of my childhood. I hold no malice anymore toward anyone for this; perhaps it was just the way they might have been brought up, and/or decided to deal with situations within their lives.
Coping mechanisms do just that and only that -- they help us cope. Coping is not truly living, folks, and if left unchecked, could lead to an empty and very unfulfilling life. Couple that with chronic depression, or bipolar disorder, and you've got a mean cocktail! Existential thoughts start talking to you, and you begin to listen to everything they tell you, even if it means going to a different world.
"You know, you can't..."
I am told "Well, you know you don't take good care of blah blah blah." Gee thanks for the vote of confidence; how about you HELP me to LEARN, rather than berate me, and then insist on doing it for me when I have difficulty. Rather, than point out the faults, give me a hand, or explain something to me; and don't even use that excuse of no patience anymore; I have no patience for that cop-out. LET ME STRUGGLE AND FAIL! It's how I learn when something works, and something does not. When I don't learn, I just crash and burn through life, as I've been doing for as long as I remember. You know what? I'll pass on the help, and ask someone who can truly help me. Someone who will work WITH me, be PATIENT with me, no matter how many mistakes I make or if I fail to grasp a concept in a short amount of time.
Look in The Mirror
It does anger me that a parent seems to be unwilling or unable to try and find a way to control their anger, resigning to the fact that "it's hard," and just living the same way from day to day, reacting to everyone and everything. Want to know where I got my temper from? Look in the mirror and you'll figure it out! That's right; YOU.
For so many years I ran in autopilot mode, reacting to everything, and usually in a negative manner. The end result? "Stop complaining! If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all! No one cares what you have to say..." Negative feedback, time and time again. Shortly after, someone else would complain, and the cycle would perpetuate. Eventually, this built up rage within me and I would lash out violently from time to time, because it's the only thing I felt I could do. I saw that it scared people away from me, and being alone seemed to be the only time that I could be the closest thing to happy. Whenever things weren't going my way, I would react violently. No different than having a bout of road rage every five minutes, right? Every time I reacted before I thought about my actions, it cemented the fact in my mind that it was the only thing that I could do to:
1) Protect myself
2) Make people see things my way
3) Cope with life in general
The Sum of The Parts
It all adds up to a life that was mostly spent trying to be safe and stay out of danger, no matter what the cost mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually. Yes, I did very well in a few special areas, but in menial jobs entailing things that seemed to me that everyone else could do, I was clueless and lost. This reflected on my behavior and created problems such as misunderstanding what I was told to do, or being humiliated because I couldn't do said "simple" thing. When no one shows you anything as a child, you don't learn how to do said thing, right? Look, I could lament about how I missed out on so much as a child, and that I wasn't a perfect kid and all (taking responsibility for my actions,)but that's not the point here. The lack of positive role models/feedback was more than likely the catalyst for all of this.
Fortunately today, things are different. I have positive role models in my life in the form of some very good friends who see that struggle within me, and rather than become impatient and shoo me away, they work with me to show me just how to do things. They won't let me get upset and storm off. I see now that is not the way to learn how to do things. Also, if I'm unable to do something immediately, it doesn't mean that I am resigned to complete and utter failure; more practice may be needed. Even then, if I give it my best and still fail, at least I tried, and that's OK. We need to fail, and learn from our mistakes, rather than be intimidated or discouraged by them.
I used to say that these few things that I'm very good at were the only things that I was able to do in life, because something was wrong with me.
There is nothing wrong; I never asked questions because it seemed imposing upon the other person, so rather than ask questions and learn how to do something, I would just throw myself out there and flop like a fish out of water. Today, I'm learning that it's OK to ask questions and repeatedly ask if I don't understand something, no matter how "simple" it is.
The days of sleepwalking through life and just "getting by" on all accounts are over. It's time to see life through the eyes of a child who wants to listen, learn, love, and teach. My inner child went into hiding several years after my mother passed on, wanting nothing to do with life. He's slowly emerging, learning, growing, and just being. Every day. Doing the best that he can. No more, no less.
It's good to know that he can start all over again.