Sunday, May 20, 2007

When did YOU sell out?

The first time I sold myself out was in kindergarten.

My very first day of school was kind of weird.  I remember that most of the kids were crying like crazy, and I was sitting there feeling all smug and superior because I wasn't bawling my eyes out like the rest of 'em.

And as the day went on, I noticed something interesting.  A lot of times there were kids asking to borrow or get other kids' stuff, and if the person they asked said, "no", they would counter this with something like,

"Please?  I'll be your friend..."

This, I thought, was really pathetic.  (Even though I didn't learn the word pathetic until 2-3 years later.)

Anyway, a few days later, I found myself in a bit of a bind.  I don't remember the exact circumstances, but I think I'd left my pencil at home, and needed to borrow one.  So I asked another kid for one...  and he said "no".

And what did I find coming out of my mouth, before I could even think to stop it?

"Please?  I'll be your friend..."

And even before I finished saying it,

I already hated myself for it!

Now, today I know that I didn't really have a choice back then.  My brain was simply doing its job, copying what it had seen other kids do in the same circumstance.  It had learned what to do, without me even being aware that it had done so.

Of course, with the jolt of self-disgust that followed my action, my brain then learned not to ever say those words again.

Unfortunately, what I also learned at that moment was that I was weak and pathetic, and that learning was almost as permanent.

You see,

Whatever We Decide About Ourselves, Becomes True

Now, I don't mean that if you decide you can fly, you're going to be able to survive a leap off a tall building.  But if you truly decided you could fly, you'd be quite likely to attempt it anyway!  (Because it would seem true to you.)

Usually, however, it's not our overly-optimistic decisions that cause us problems, so much as our overly pessimistic ones.  In my case, I decided that I was weak and pathetic even as I decided not to say those particular words again.

But instead of using those same words, I sold myself out in hundreds of other ways over the years.  Instead of standing up for myself, I'd cave in.  Instead of asking for help, I'd do it on my own, or not at all.

Indeed, now that I think of it, that day in kindergarten may well have been the last time that I ever asked for help when I really needed it.  I can think of lots of times I've asked people for things when I didn't really need it, but at the times I felt most in need of something -- whatever that something might be -- are precisely the times that I clammed up and said nothing.

Luckily, however,...

Our Decisions Are Not Final!

By default, of course, our beliefs don't change.  If you decided you were weak and pathetic, hopelessly clumsy, awkward and ugly, or whatever else it might be, then you've almost certainly stayed that way for "as long as you can remember".

And the way most of us try to get out of these beliefs is to try to be the opposite.  If you think you're weak, you'll try to be strong.  If you're afraid, you'll idolize bravery.  If you think you're a loser, you'll make an ideal out of winning.

And as soon as you do that, you create a divided self.  You are now torn between the person you "know" yourself to be, and the person you're striving to become.

This usually doesn't turn out well.

In the United States, there have been a lot of high-profile cases lately where politicians or religious people who preach or crusade against some imagined "evil" like gambling or pornography or homosexuality, turn out to be secretly indulging quite a bit in the very thing they're crusading against.  As Shakespeare once put it, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

So, if you're messy, for example, then creating an ideal of being organized isn't going to help you.  You'll just keep being messy, and then feel bad because you're not living up to your ideal.  Meanwhile, you stay focused on your ideal in order to avoid confronting your secret belief that you'll never be organized, no matter what you do.

See, the part of your brain that creates ideals and measures you against them, is not the part that actually does things.  And you will never change unless you change that part!

In my workshops, I teach people to face their secret fears.  And more importantly, to accept them.  Because...

What You Don't Accept, Controls You

As long as you believe, deep down, that you're a loser, you will be a loser, no matter how many winning slogans or affirmations you repeat.  In fact, everything you do to fight this belief, will only strengthen it.  I mean, who but a loser is going to spend an hour in front of the mirror chanting, "I'm a winner"?

Who but a chronically messy person, is going to spend all their time reading up on how to be organized?

In other words, denying a belief is not the same thing as changing a belief.

As long as you actually believe something bad about yourself, you can't get rid of it by trying to "act" your way out of it.  All this does is keep you from reaching the part of your brain that actually stores the belief!

But if you accept the belief instead of trying to fight it, then you can actually reach the part of your brain where the decision is embodied -- and then change it.

"Belief" spells how your "Life Be"

When we live our lives by these secret negative beliefs, we feel weak and helpless.  We wonder what's wrong with us, and feel like other people were born with some special talent that we didn't, or got taught some secret skill on a day we missed school.  We feel like the victims of our lives, rather than their owners.

So this month in the Owners' Circle newsletter (Change Without Pain, Life Without Struggle), I'll be writing about How Not To Be A Victim.

When you read it, you'll learn how to dissolve your negative beliefs, without fighting them.  (Because as you've seen, fighting or denying negative beliefs just makes them stronger.)  And you'll discover the ridiculously easy way to become the person you really want to be.

So join the circle today at Level 1 or higher, and you'll not only get this month's newsletter, but also the accompanying Life-Changing Secrets CD, entitled The Secrets of Personal Presence.

On it, I interview a special surprise guest who shares with us how to put passion and energy into our interactions with other people, to create great first impressions and lasting impressions.  So if one of your negative beliefs is that you're awkward or shy around other people, you will definitely want to listen to this.

I'll be mailing out the new newsletters and CDs to existing Circle members within the next week.  But if you join today, I'll also send you copies of the current newsletter issue ("A Life of Meaning") and CD ("The Secrets of True Freedom").  It's almost like getting an extra month's membership, free.  But you have to do it now, because the new CD is already ready for mastering, and there's only a few hours work left for me to do on the newsletter.