Listening to Frank Sinatra sing “My Way” today got me thinking about how some people have to learn how to do it, they have to fight for that knowledge of how to claim their lives, then they have to fight to succeed in what they’ve got their heart set on. They have to do a whole lot of changing along the way. Change is hard. Real change is slow. Damn.
You have relearn so many things, all the things that were put in place for you a long time ago. The input that led to establishing low self esteem wasn’t one little lecture, one incident. The incident is more likely to have been a symptom of a culture where you weren’t protected and you didn’t get what you needed to grow strong and straight. And that culture was about hundreds of thousands of messages delivered consistently, overtly and covertly every second of your childhood from birth, from conception even. All with the same sub-text. You don’t deserve.
It starts simply, the parents establish the reality of your worth, your value, your rights, your safety. Or not. Consciously, unconsciously, covertly, overtly. You internalized everything that came at you, and by the time you were what, 6?, you’d imbibed a data bank of information – your belief system – that you recognized as the truth about yourself, your role, your rights, how life works, the nature of your reality. Then you grow up and get the same messages from the world around you.
So by the time you’re say 35 – wait I’m going to do the math on this – you’ve experienced the messages, in different ways, for 14 700 months, 58 800 weeks, about 705 600 waking hours, 42 336 000 waking minutes, 2 540 160 000 waking seconds – and as many asleep while all the information got collated in your subconscious. That’s a lot of information gathering and collating, first from the outside world then from yourself because we do to ourselves what was done to us in early childhood. Until we change, of course.
People think they can change all that by just reading a self-help book or watching a film like The Secret. I wish it was true, I‘d write the quick fix book and make a bundle. But I’ve never seen the quick fix work, and I’ve seen many people try it in many different ways. I’ve tried it myself. It holds out such incredible promise, and touches a part of us that’s desperately yearning for light in the darkness. It always ends in despair. And we’re worse off than when we started, because we wonder “what’s wrong with me that I couldn’t make it work?”.
The quick fix is a set-up. The unscrupulous use it to make money by exploiting the vulnerability of those of us crying out to be unconditionally loved, respected, taught a better way to live our lives. Preying on fear, low self-esteem, ignorance, thirst for a truth that will free us, craving for a teacher to lead us out of our wilderness. Vultures, all.
I think the way that really works is to get the widest variety of nurturing experiences as constantly and often as possible. We need one main category – I have great worth and life is about good – and a thousand sub-categories, all with the same basic theme.
I believe we need to be taught, guided, held, touched, loved, protected, promoted, spoken to, heard. We need the experience of being valued if we want to learn to believe we’ve got value. If I learn that first, then doing my life my way is possible. Otherwise I’m tilting at windmills, and romantic as that sounds it’s really a pain in the neck.