CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- What's up with those nagging thoughts that won't leave us alone? How can we turn them off?
"You have the power to turn your wounds and worries into wisdom. You just have to accept what has happened and use what you've learned to step forward. Everything you've experienced has given you the upper hand for dealing with everything you have yet to experience. Realize this -- and set yourself free."
I appreciate these words of wisdom from the blog "Spirituality and Community." If only it were that easy.
How do we take the first steps on this road to recovery? The path is different for different folks. And the degree to which we can, and do, let go of the past has everything to do with our ingrained patterns. It's hard to just flip a switch. Repetition is the key to changing behavior. We need to create a new belief and keep focusing our thoughts and actions on that over and over. Easier said than done though.
It helps to look at the fears that drive our behavior. The biggest one is "I'm not good enough." This can play out on many levels, and it drives us to prove our worth by achieving more and more things. This can lead to "striving and not arriving," as my mentor Bill Turner used to say.
Another red flag is when you find yourself paying too much attention to what other people think. Having to have someone else's approval or validation only underscores that you don't feel worthy enough yourself. Throughout my research this one keeps popping up. And you know you're going down this path when you start to set aside your own principles to please other people. Or develop addictions to escape.
Remember the Stuart Smalley spoof on "Saturday Night Live" some years ago? His character would often repeat affirmations into the camera: "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And, doggone it, people like me." It was a funny skit, but there are definitely some nuggets of reality there.
Author and therapist Morty Lefkoe examines this topic against a backdrop of personal needs, obsessive behaviors and survival strategy beliefs: