I can only imagine that your curiosity of what being an Emotional Troubleshooter is all about has brought you here. My having dealt with the self-deprecating programming I received as a child makes me uniquely skillful in identifying and working with its effects. After many years of feeling inhibited and afraid of risking the expression of my creativity for fear of rejection, ridicule or punishment I have tenaciously struggled for many years working to rebuild my Self-Trust and Confidence in my own judgment. Many of you know that this in no easy task.
How many times have you had the opportunity to risk putting effort into getting promoted in your career or asking that special someone for a date or asking back for something that is borrowed or owed and felt confident if not comfortable doing it? The fact that a decision concerning something that you want rests in someone else’s hands often seems intimidating if you’ve been raised to believe that you should put others ahead of yourself in accordance with parental or social instructions. Even if you do feel entitled to what you may be asking for there still arises a little voice inside that says that it is likely that you probably won’t get what it is you ask for unless you measure up to what someone else wants. Self doubt is an insidious assassin of motivation. It comes from many more places than we might think.
With the media telling us what we’re not and who or what we need to be, the demand that we “give something back” to society and the exaggerated emphasis on being “board certified,” academically qualified, “having access,” training, experience, work history, proof of age and identity, just to name a few, is it any wonder that we might feel inadequate, intimidated, unworthy and unmotivated to extend ourselves past our front door? Many of us are stopped dead in our tracks by the demands of other in the face of pursuing what we need for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” No. I’m not getting political. But it’s important to know that the factors producing self doubt exist in every plane of our existence. Once you understand the mechanism that creates it you can actively work to dissolve it through the reassessment and refocusing of your capabilities. It’s easier than you might think.
The purpose of this section is to lay the foundations for understanding how our motivation to do and have what we want is inhibited, if not extinguished daily not only by our childhood programming but a multitude of continuous cultural factors. With our culture, seemingly, over focused on selflessness; preferably yours, our personal sense of value and right to pursue our own idea of happiness, whatever that might be, seems to have been lost in the shuffle to live in harmony with everyone else if not having to live with deference toward others’ preferences. Even our religions promote this same deference.
Asking ourselves how this has come to pass would involve a long and convoluted discussion and would only arrive at placing blame on various peoples and components of our culture. This would be a distraction not to mention a drain on the energy we would need to put our lives back on track and into a more personally favorable perspective and creating a venue for rebuilding Self-Trust and Confidence in our own judgment and value. What would be of more value would be to describe the circumstances leading to our feelings of self doubt and lay out some new perspectives and ground rules for disarming those feelings and returning to a balance in dealing with our own needs and the needs of others regardless of the social expectations currently in place. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not promoting complete selfishness when it comes to dealing with others’ needs and preferences, just a more even consideration when looking at these issues and how we face them.
So again, welcome to Emotional Troubleshooter! Hopefully, it will provide interesting and informative articles and insights toward rebuilding your Self-Trust and Confidence in guiltlessly pursing your most fervent needs and desires! I’m also hoping that our efforts and online interactions will blossom into live in person seminars in the fall of 2016.
Self-Trust you say? “I trust myself,” you’d say. And you’d probably be right. But the type of trust that you’re talking about and the type of trust that I’m talking about are worlds apart. Let me explain.
When you say that you trust yourself, that trust is probably your knowing that you have the ability to do the “right thing” or be a “good person” and have some experience in your past that validates that. And again, you’d probably be right. But I have to ask you a question. Who is it that determines what the “right thing” is or that you’re a “good person?” You’d again say, and probably be right, that “I say what is right” and “I determine if I’m a good person.” But again I’d have to ask where did that knowing come from? How far back in your history did it have its beginnings and why is it still determining your meaning of “right” and “good” now? And lastly, is it working? Does it still make you feel good about yourself? Or is there something missing? Something deep within you that just feels off, unanswered or missing? When Henry David Thoreau wrote about men living lives of quiet desperation in Walden, he was referring to this inner song we took with us to the grave.
We spend so much time in our lives doing the “right thing,” being a “good person” and living up to what our families and clans expect and need from us that we never answer our own inner urges to do something for ourselves that would somehow been seen as selfish in light of what our cultures and religions claim is “supposed to be.” The book never written, the foreign journey never embarked upon, the acting career never undertaken, the picture never painted, the relationship above or below our “class.” Why? Because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have been responsible or would have let our family or community down and would have been seen as a selfish and uncompassionate person. This is the inner song that Thoreau talks about taking to our graves… our unanswered heart’s desires.
When we acknowledge the Self-Trust I speak of, we answer those urges regardless of the objections of those around us who demand our sacrifice on their behalf. It’s the part of us that when we follow it, it leads us to fulfilling our own inner heart’s most secret desires despite the objections, needs and demands of others “less fortunate” or “requiring personal sacrifice” from us to meet their safety, security, expectations and social requirements. Where is it that we learned that we must be our brother’s keeper to our own deficit?
There is nothing wrong with being responsible and caring. But when it totally eclipses our own wants and desires, it’s a travesty. There is nothing wrong with dancing to the beat of a different drummer. Every great person in history has followed their own path. Not one had just followed the rules. Can you imagine if Gandhi only followed the social etiquette of his culture? Or if Martin Luther followed the perverted traditions that his religious superiors had demanded of him? Or if Albert Einstein only followed known scientific protocols? Or if Eleanor Roosevelt had been a “good wife” and stepped down letting one of Franklin’s successors take over his work? Great people in history have moved at cross purposes to the security driven needs of those who wanted to keep the “status quo” and avoiding the exposure of their own perceived inadequacies.
The only thing preventing you from being yourself is who you think you should be…
Call it a soul, our heart’s desire, our instinctual or intuitive urge. Whatever we call it, when we don’t answer it we do ourselves a terrible disservice. We bury and then amputate that most creative and awesome side of our selves simply so others don’t have to risk exposing their own fear of failure in living their lives in a way that brings their individual expressions and talents to an unbelievable peak of performance, grace and fulfillment.
We all have Self-Trust, Confidence and the power of their focus within us. It comes to us by way of our instincts, subtle urges and intuitions. It’s just sleeping in most of us. We’ve been trained to ignore it. All we have to do is listen to that quiet voice in our hearts, acknowledge it, enable a courageous and independent emotional perspective and hone it to a perfection of expression.