Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Notions.....of the preconceived variety...and self talk

Hello folks, and welcome to another chapter in my spiritual growth.

There has been one major stumbling block in my life for as long as I can remember, and that's been me having preconceived notions about either how a person was going to act or think, or, in the case of a situation, how events would turn out. I would basically draw up the scenario in my mind, and then "connect the dots" as it were, using the information available to me, and further, assuming that whatever I came up with was a logical and completely rational picture of the event or person in question. Sometimes, events, and people's reactions or behaviors would follow exactly as I had predicted, but more often than not, they did not. My preconceived notions did nothing but hamper my ability to see the people and situations as they really were. I had been told on more than one occasion that it was wrong to do this, but it never sunk in, until recently.

As it turns out, I was completely wrong in EVER adopting this sort of thought process. While I could go and write another whole blog post about the ins and outs of my internal psyche, I am just going to simplify it and say that the reason I did it in the first place was that I was extremely worried about what others thought of me. I rationalized the fantasized scenarios to myself as "thinking ahead", "being prepared for anything", but in reality, all I was trying to do was make sure my feelings would not be hurt by anything that person did or said, or how the events turned out, since I was so deathly afraid of what other people would think of me.

The way I finally got past it, the way I got over that huge hurdle at last, was to accept and acknowledge the fact that I WAS concerned about what people thought. And then STOP DOING IT, right then and there. It might sound harder than that, but to me, it's like anything else. If you really want to do something, really and truly WANT to do something, then you will. Simple as that. If you want to quit smoking, honestly and truly, then you will quit cold turkey, and never do it again. That's the way it works for me at least. It may work differently for you. That's something else I've learned. Each and every one of us is different.

We are all unique individuals, living unique lives, so it follows then that our thoughts, emotions, and reactions to the same stimulus is also therefore unique. So why should any of us be concerned about what someone else thinks of us? We shouldn't. One of the greatest quotes of all time, in my opinion, states that "What others think of you is none of your business." I figured out what that means, to me, and it has of course affected how I interact with others.

Because I no longer chose to think about how others perceived me, I also found I needed to perceive myself in a different light as well. For the bulk of my life I have engaged in some very negative self talk, telling myself that I wasn't good enough, I didn't do anything right, and all of it driven by the constant "elephant in the room" of concern over how someone else would think of me. Without that encumbrance, I can now view myself in a much more positive light. I can say to myself "I CAN do these things I want to do, I DO deserve to be happy...." etc, etc. It's very liberating.

I want to close by saying that if any of you are struggling with the same things I've mentioned here, and you're saying to yourself  "Yup, that's me, boy, I wish I could do something about it, BUT....." let me tell you this. You and only you CAN do something. All you have to do is be willing to see that you have no need to worry about what other people think. YOU choose how you react to what people say. YOU choose your own emotional state. YOU choose what thoughts YOU have. You don't get to choose for anyone else. So what anyone else thinks is of no consequence. It is completely in YOUR control to change. I did, and you can too.

Thanks, and have a great day.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Something was brought to my attention......and I'm really glad it WAS.....

Hello folks, and welcome back into my brain, into the workings of my innermost thoughts.

I was talking with a friend a few days ago, discussing our dinner plans, and I made mention of my landlady/room mate not making dinner that night. This turned into a conversation about how I'm a woman hater.

I'm not going to go into the specifics of the conversation, but what I am going to do is tell you what I took from it, and how it has affected my thought process.

First, I don't "hate" women. What my friend meant by that is that I have been blaming the women in my life for not wanting to be with me, for not loving me, and basically I've been holding it against them like it was THEIR fault, when in fact, the blame is entirely on me, and how I perceive myself and the situations as they happened.

I've mentioned before about how I was raised, or maybe I haven't, but either way, the short version goes like this: If it didn't involve school or church, I wasn't allowed to do it. I had no chance to socialize with friends for the sheer sake of socializing, nor could I ask someone for a "date", unless there was some relation to schoolwork or a church function involved. So basically when I left home after high school, I had very little in the way of social skills, and I soon realized that women were not fond of a man who didn't know anything about them or how to talk to them when he liked them.

That's one problem. After I left home, I blamed my parents for everything that went wrong with my life, especially in the love department. Fast forward 20 years, and now we have a handful of failed relationships, or mostly, relationships that never got off the ground. The bottom line is this. I have had a very screwed up sense of what women want in a man, and I have gone off the deep end thinking that they ALL just want one type of guy, a brute, a man who just asks "Who do I have to kill?" whenever a problem comes up. Couple this with a self esteem issue that I had formerly thought I had gotten over, what you have is a recipe for a person to deep down blame the objects of his desire for his own perceptions of why they don't like or love him.

Following this so far? It's very disjointed, I know, but there are so many variables in my head, so many things and thoughts that have come back to the forefront of my thinking ever since that conversation 2 days ago. So many things have happened over the last 20 years, that I cannot even pinpoint an exact time when any specific opinion or believe occurred. What I CAN say is that I now understand so much about my own psyche, and why I have felt so bad about relationships and women in general for SO long now.

One thing that also relates to this is my recent change in emotional state, and by recent I mean in the last few years or so. In keeping with this same theme, with yet another relationship that did not work out like I had hoped, I decided deep down to shut myself off to the feelings, to any kind of emotion pertaining to a woman. I know that now. I felt it was the way to achieve balance emotionally, but what it did was to water the "plant" of hatred that had been seeded a long time before, for those that had hurt me, and instead of dealing with the REAL issue, which was ME, I have let that plant grow until I could no longer see that there was an issue at all.

Right now, there is something I want to say.

To all the women in my life that I have had feelings for, and who did not have the same ones for me, I am sorry. I did not intend to blame you for my own problems within myself, but that is what happened. I became a bitter, jaded, stuffed shirt of a man because I made myself out to be a victim, and I was not, and you were right in not taking me as your "man". While everyone says that "I am what I am, take it or leave it", I went WAY beyond asking you to care for who I was, by having expectations of what you and the rest of your gender look for in a man, and have even had delusions of grandeur in feeling as though you should have fallen all over me, like I was better than all the other men. That right there should have been a sign to me that I had a serious ego issue. I apologize for all the trouble I caused all of you.

I can't explain how much makes sense to me now that I am finally aware of the deep rooted issue. I can finally let go of all the pain and hurt I've felt inside for so many years, because I'm not holding on to and directing it at others. I can feel emotions I have buried deep inside. I know now where I went wrong. AND, I can change it.

Thank you so much for listening folks, it means a lot to me that you have allowed me to share this with you.