His eyes welled with tears. His lower lip quivered. He bent his head in shame. He got caught.
I saw that even the mildest correction to keep him from pulling the leaves off of my fig tree went in as “I am NOT OK.” Hugs and cuddles shifted his mood, and a few moments later, my two-year-old grandson was his joyous self again, eating his birthday cake.
How many times did you as a child take a course correction in as a shame nodule, as a Memo that you are “Not enough, Not OK, not loved,” etcetera, etcetera?
Looking back on my life and my coaching, I see the common thread. Our parents, caregivers, and other well-meaning adults correct our behavior. They are on a mission to shape us into well-behaved adults. As adults, we, unfortunately, experience bad behavior from laisse-fare parents whose children act rudely, act without manners or civil concern for others. What’s it all about Alfie?
Through my journey to “free myself” from the effects of my upbringing, I’ve done lots of work. As a coach, I coach my clients to process and peel away the crusted childhood scars. What continues to amaze me is that seemingly innocent life events get stuck. These sticky spots can run and ruin an entire life. The most common STUCK Memo is “I am NOT enough.”
The “I’m Not enough” Memo can arise from actual verbal abuse. The abusive words, along with the hurt or shameful feelings, get deeply buried in our subconscious. Those words are buried, stuffed, and then spun into a deep belief. That belief regurgitates through Monkey Mind Chatter. After all, adults are RIGHT when we are little. It must be SO. Life gets lived through their adult lens. Not a Rose-colored lens, but a lens covered over with a defeat Memo. Our Self-Talk keeps us stuck, replaying a myriad of old Memos.
Even if there was no actual verbal abuse, we take in sibling and peer conversations as accurate. I recall a 4th-grade kickball situation that led me to believe that I was not good enough. Missing kicked balls and not being able to kick the ball led the team to always chose me last. I took that Memo in and decided I was not good at sports. That theme played out in my attempts to play racquetball, to play golf, and to snow ski.
How can we change the internal conversation? You can find many methods from therapists, Shamans, books, and coaches. The list is extensive: affirmations, journaling, primal scream, beating a pillow, meditation, and on and on. The seeker in me has experienced them all. Here is what helped the most:
1). First, find the picture in your mind of the buried Memo or Mindset issue causing negative thinking, negative feelings, or negative Mind chatter/self-talk. If the thought makes you feel less than whole, it is negative. Mindset is the set of beliefs and attitudes that are inside your subconscious. Mindset consists of all those Memos shaken and stirred. You live through those beliefs. Unfortunately, most people assume that it is a permanent part of “ME.” Au contraire. You put it in; you can take it out or replace it.
2). Focus on the picture; get quiet and breathe deeply; settle in and silently ask your subconscious: “when did this first become a thought or idea inside me? What event brought this thought about myself into my life?”
If meditating is not for you, take out a pen and paper and write the highlighted questions on the top of the page. Set the timer for 5 minutes. Start writing free form, keeping pen to paper for 5 minutes. Re-write the question over and over if you get suck. Continue to write – when or what brought the idea that “I am not enough” (I need to be a perfectionist to be OK) into my mind, my heart, my soul, my life…?
3). Capture that picture, looking down on it as if you are in a hot air balloon over it. In your imagination, take the picture and make everyone a cartoon character instead of you and the other person. Play with the event and make it into a silly mind movie. Imagine the people who are dissing you as if they are tiny people with cartoon-like squeaky voices. Play the movie fast, then slow, so the speech is distorted. Laugh and enjoy the show. Cry if you want to.
Next, gather a few colored pencils and paper – Draw a cartoon of the event. (For your eyes only, no art judge is lurking.) Use stick people to make your picture with cartoon clouds above their heads with spoken words. Once you can see the event on your page – color over it, so it is no longer visible, put the page in the shredder, burn it in the fireplace. Let it go.
4). Re-frame the event.
i) Write a forgiveness letter to the person who gave you the damaging Memo. Even if they are no longer living. The letter is not for them; it is for you. In the letter, acknowledge that you now know that they were doing the best they could. They did what they did based on their programming, cultural & family values and attitudes.
ii) Use the Hawaiian forgiveness prayer – Ho’oponopono. Find my version under downloads on my website https://www.lifepathbydesign.net/cultivateyourpotentialwithhooponopono/
Cleaning out old programming is an ongoing process. It opens your heart and soul to your true self and your true light.
Next month I’ll discuss Affirmations as another tool to use in RE-Programming.
PS – These 3 Things Hold people Back. Each a Coaching opportunity for you.
1). Internal Conflict
2). Negative Emotions (Memos)
3). Limiting Beliefs (came from the Memos)