By Steve Wells
I’ve worked with so many people who set out on a life path then realised at some point that it wasn’t giving them what they really wanted. (Like the old saying: You spend your whole life climbing the ladder of success only to find its leaning against the wrong wall!) They come to me at crisis point, with emotional symptoms that are really stressing them. But when you get underneath the challenge of what they are or are not doing or achieving, the most important underlying issue is about who they (think they) are. Their identity. They are not happy with who they are being on a daily basis. They have not been living in a manner that is congruent with their own personal beliefs, values and rules. What’s more they may even be starting to question their old values and beliefs. The values and beliefs that drove them to get where they are, they often find are not enough. This is frequently the case when the values and beliefs driving their behaviours come from seeking the approval of their parents, for example. Or from trying to rebel against their parents’ core beliefs and values. Either way they end up on a treadmill. And it hurts.
It hurts to live a life that is not 100% congruent with your true self. Finding out who you really are and what you are here to do is one of the most confronting and challenging tasks we can face, which is why most people will do almost anything to avoid it. Yet those that have resolved this dilemma for themselves are instantly attractive to us. The Chinese have an ancient saying: All bow before the congruent man.” My research proves they will do exactly the same if the person before them is a congruent woman. These days we know that congruency is not confined to just one gender. Those who know who they are and what they are about command our attention, whatever their gender.
Do you know who you are? Moreover, are you happy with who you are? Are you happy with who you are being in the world? Would you prefer to be (like) somebody else?
It’s interesting to me that ultimately we can manifest any particular way of being that we choose, simply by doing the things that correspond with that way of being, progressively over time we grow into the new identity. But is that in the end who we really are? Or is it just one choice among many to manifest certain parts from an infinite number of possible selves, to choose from the dress up box and simply put on some make-up to cover the outside when the inside is what it’s really all about?
If you are like me then you learned to rate yourself based on what you do. Therefore, you get to feel bad or good based on your achievements. The belief underlying this is, “I am my achievements”. We see ourselves as good or bad based on what we have done in the world. We are still locked into the childlike world of having to gain the acceptance and love of an imaginary – or internalized – parent. So now we are the parents dishing out false acceptance to ourselves on the basis of our achievements – and dishing out punishment based on non-achievement or failure or bad behaviour or procrastination or whatever else we have learned we “shouldn’t” be doing instead of what we “should”.
But what if it is all just BS? What if the real solution isn’t actually to achieve more, to stay endlessly on the treadmill of stimulus-response, of action and reward, of “I’ll feel better when…”. What if the real need is not to install (or condition or self-hypnotise or even affirm) something more into you to get yourself to do the things you “should” do, but actually to question whether you “should” be doing these things at all? What if what we really need is not to put something into ourselves to make us better, but to release our attachments to what has already been installed by a world which was preparing us for a lifetime of pain and suffering based on conforming to how it "used" to be?
What would happen if we were able to simply focus on only the world that is, right here right now, without the need to cling to an illusion from the past about how it “should” be, and how we “should” be within it.
When you strip away all illusions, the person you meet will be the person who has been staring out of your eyes from day 1. Without any judgment.
What do you think? We would love to read your comments on this article.
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