Archive | July 15, 2013

On Comfortably Numbing Down (CND)

Do you ever wonder why we do some things in our lives over and over, despite knowing it will not result any different of an outcome?
Probably even with a result that we know does not serve us.
 
I have been talking, writing, and learning a lot about living authentically for some time now. 
It is true it can get pretty lonely when we show ourselves. It is a risk we take being open and raw with emotions that guide our life.
This also can be off-putting to those in our world.
This is all just part of living authentically, When we are able to show our self and find comfort in this we then will be free to live our life as it has always meant to be….
Able to be the genuine person we are striving to be all along,
 
Comfortable enough to just be ourselves without any need to defend, protect, or deflect. 
There will be no longer a need to hang on to all the thoughts & beliefs we had scurried away that served to only preserve our self-image.
No longer will we have a need to secret away any parts of our self.
 
So now…. how do we get there?
 
This quote from Mary Oliver “Instructions for living”  is a perfect starting point. It was shared with me by a friend (thank you Joss) who is also on a self-exploration. 
 
” Pay attention.
 Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
           ― Mary Oliver
 
Perfect 3 tips to guide the start of the walk.
 
In the discovery of the path to authenticity I have found much in my recent research to bolster my agenda in wanting to live in a way that creates little to no regret in my life.
My big “Aha Moment” was finding I only need to change my thinking.
My astonishment came because I know I can make the changes in myself that will have great impact on that authenticity.
And a reconciliation that will allow myself to be comfortable in whatever situation or circumstance I might be in. Because there will only be the genuine ME navigating the circumstance. No question.
 
There is an interesting field of study in psychology called Cognitive dissonance.
The philosophy or idea that we will create thoughts and actions, or do just about anything in order to hang on to our own positive self-image, despite the actual truth.
In a simplistic example; we might believe we are loved (because lets face it we all want to be loved so thought it was something we can all relate to) 
Yet when faced with the factual actions that do not support love or it is withheld from us (for whatever reason) it sticks right in the heart. You know it. But you refuse to believe what is right in front of you.
It’s hard to admit it if we may have been mistaken. To navigate such uncomfortable circumstances we become masters at justifying what we believe, why we believe it, what we need to do and what we say to our selves.
We find can find justification for anything.
Self-deception can become our norm.
 
As a species with a highly evolved brain and emotion we are intelligent beings who typically look for consistency in what we believe & our perceptions. 
What is it that happens when we have conflict with a long-held belief and a new belief is presented.?
You feel it at your very core that ‘something’ is wrong.
That feeling of discomfort that is created when we hold two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors.
There is that gut feeling that something is off. 

That chord that rings true within all of us that ‘something’ is just not sitting right within our spirit. 

That’s dissonance.

And that ‘something’ must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance. 

 
The realization comes through our self inventory, with our self-image and our self-worth playing heavily into this cognitive dissonance. 
 I am certainly not immune by any means which is what takes me on this journey of reason and discovery in the first place. 
 
I discovered in reading that I might have to rethink some ideas I have in my own head about who I am. And how I interact with those I love. 
It has to start with ourselves. 
 
 Self-Efficacy refers to our self-image, stability of mood, and level of motivation. 
Hopefully we have good levels of self-esteem, sense of self, and a sense of accomplishment. 
If so it seems we might be acutely aware of our feelings, where they come from –
But are we accepting – of both our strengths, and weaknesses?
Likewise, we might likely feel that people who are important in our life understand us. 
But people who are on our radar tend to be comfortable not giving in to peer, family, and other social pressures any more than we are. It’s human nature. 
 
Family & close friends opinions are indeed important, but their expectations do not need to strongly influence our life. Instead our close family & friends tend to have their own well-defined ambitions and goals. The two shall not meet. We might even be very influential and persuasive with others. In fact, our family, friends and acquaintances may often come to us for ideas of guidance across a range of issues.
 So, can we be real & honest with ourselves and them? Not say what they want, what we want to hear, but instead  say what the genuine truth is? 
 
I find myself wanting that deep emotional connection with those in my life more and more. An important aspect of loving anyone that should not be ignored. Being authentic can open that door.
Our self is the only thing we can change in any relationship, any situation. If it’s not working for you change ‘something’ within yourself.
The inner workings of relationships are not as natural to navigate as we expect them to be. It takes some effort to have genuine & authentic relationships with that soul to soul emotional connection of those who matter the most.
 
I have found some questions I needed to answer for myself in this quest as well as some thoughts and tips that seem to help me with keeping that feeling of dissonance further at bay. 
 
Firstly,  ask these three things and answer with brutal honesty. 
I suggest a pen & paper and turn off all electronics, even music (I know) Phones most definitely.
Now spend some time with yourself. (make sure you will not be interrupted if at all possible)
Then ask:

“Do your positive qualities outweigh your faults? Why or why not?”

“Do you ever feel guilty when you do not meet the expectations of your family or friends? Explain.

“Are you the type of person who likes to stand out in a crowd or go totally unnoticed?” Why do you suppose this is?   (just so you know, there are no right or wrong answers)

Secondly, there are things I know that let me live more authentically if I practice them on a daily basis. And I mean practice as in rehearse, make mistakes, and get back up again, and start all over. And do it again tomorrow…
 
#1 Don’t lie. We just have to give it up, even those little seemingly innocent white lies.  Ask yourself what the lie is feeding?
 
#2. Know that we must not say everything out loud (this is a personal hurdle) We tend to get into a mind-set that all our thoughts are important and worthy of being shared. Not true. Learn to quiet your voice, not squelch it. 
 
#3  You can change your mind. It’s allowed. Being rigid will not serve an authentic life. 
 
#4 Avoid being en-guard.
 
#5  Have core plasticity.
#6 Be flexible, bend a bit, but don’t break.
 
#7  See family & friends attempts towards emotionally connecting as the good they are, even if not 200% successful.
 
#8  Have Team Spirit (whoever your team may be. Family, friends, lover, community…) 
 
#9  Focus only on the good. Catch those who matter to you most doing the things that feed your spirit. Ignore those things that might not. 
 
#10  Assert yourself. 
 
and finally…
Find a new voice.
One with an Emotional Reaction Redirection, An E.R.R.
We do this by changing how we say things to others. And to ourselves. 
Sometimes let us try to numb down our response.
Let us try to be comfortable knowing not everything needs our reaction and response.
Be Comfortably Numbed Down. C.N.D.
 
Start there. . 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Signature 2013
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