Little did I know when I posted early Sunday morning that I would have a couple of personal experiences to use for this post. I was to spend the day with D&D – a simple brunch, visiting an (overpriced) antique shop, and perhaps a not-so-gentle libation to complete the day.
D&D provided a delightful brunch and we headed off to window shop the antiques. The shop was packed with much to see – and a few things to try and avoid. My knees are not in the greatest shape, so the ability to sit down occasionally is regarded as a blessing. The chairs that were NOT for sitting had delightful piles of “stuff” on them. After having been wandering around (and suppressing gasps at some of the prices), I noticed two chairs of the fairly sturdy kind along a division. As I lowered myself into the chair, the arm literally snapped off in my hand. There is nothing like sitting in an antique chair with the antique arm off the chair and now in my antique hand.
No one made any derogatory comments concerning the incident – but it roiled inside me. I walked outside and thought about what had occurred and my reaction to it. Of course there was the embarrassment and no small amount to shame – but what really surprised me were the old “tapes” that began to instantly play in my head. Reminders of what had occurred before, and what words had been ingrained in me…that I thought I had replaced over time.
The words we live with can become something quite serious – The word CAN become the “thing.” When I would hear the word “clumsy” I allowed that word to become the thing (me) and therefore I was clumsy. When the joke used to be made that I could trip on the seam of linoleum, I allowed those words to become the thing (me) and began to feel that everything I did had to live up to that label. By allowing the word to become the thing, I unconsciously began to look to incidents that backed up my feeling. Of course, the word was NOT the thing, but to me it was. By attaching power to words, I gave that word control. That control drove what I did, felt and created.
Words are not the thing they represent. What they are ~ representations of something. When I was growing up I became clumsy because I felt that word was what I WAS. What was happening; I had mapped out a territory and I was following the map.
Here’s a fun party game (especially after a couple of drinks!). Hand your guests a piece of paper and have them map out in detail how to get from where they are sitting to their cars. They have to map out direction, the number of steps, the doors to open (and how those doors open), etc.. They give their map to someone else to follow exactly as written. (it helps to have a prize, by the way.) So if the map says “6 steps to the 1st door” and the steps actually require 10 steps, the map is invalid.
When I took on the “map of clumsiness” as my personal territory, I kept running into parts of the map that were completely inaccurate. Of course, it was easier to blame the territory rather than the map. It became easy to place the blame externally rather than looking inwardly to see what needed to be changed.
After posting Sunday night, I decided that I needed to fix my browser bookmarks. I’m not even going to admit how many there were/are. As I was moving and eliminating, with one keystroke, I completely eliminated a valuable (to me) collection of places. While my reaction included some very unprintable and in a couple of cases physically impossible reactions – it also included some chuckling. In the past, an incident such as this would have completed the map I had of my territory. I would have used words such as “idiot,” “dummy,” and others. They would not have been just an indication of irritation (!?), but would have been an indication of just how I felt about myself. It would not have been an unfortunate “goof,” it would have settled to me what I was, and how I felt about myself. My innacurate map would have matched the territory – and to me the territory would have been safe and complete.
more on this tomorrow
Choose your words, for they become actions.
Understand your actions, for they become habits.
Study your habits, for they will become your character.
Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.