We are programmed by biology to want our parents, family members and peers to love us. Without that kind of care and inclusion, a baby would not survive. As an adult, you now need to take back your personal power of self-validation into your own hands. Being true is the key to freedom. This way you will be surrounded by the ones who are truly compatible with you and who love the real you… not your social mask.
This makes us interpret events through a filter : “What will make me be loved and what will keep me from being loved ?”. The answers to this question give shape to our “social persona”.
We try to become the person that we think people expect us to be. The son or daughter my dad/mom would love, the best friend to my friend, the best colleague, the best neighbor…
Your interpretations of what will get there will depend on the unique cocktail your existence is. Your natural constitution + your education + important events happening to or around you = who you will end up thinking you need to be in order to be validated.
You develop and lead that “persona” often subconsciously and really hope people will do things to show recognition and validation, because you are making efforts for that. You not being the real you is painful and costly. You self-sacrifice to please others and care about what they think, so they could at least show some love in return ! Right ?
For instance : some people will never ask for help because they think they will be worthier to other people’s eyes if they suffer in silence and deal with everything on their own, even if mountains of responsibility crush their shoulders.
→ This is a social persona, a derivative of our ego being dysfunctional. Being strong has nothing to do with never needing others, never hurting or never showing feelings. You can develop a definition to strength which is more balanced and positive.
A more useful belief could be : “Being strong is being resourceful and always staying constructive. I can be a gentle and open person who lets others in progressively, by taking the time to build trust. I can be vulnerable and learn from my experiences day after day. Having allies and people I share my life with makes me stronger. When I have to deal with an unexpected event, I can trust I will do my best to deal with it.” This belief frees me from all the limitations of a fake persona. There is no absolute truth, so the best way to go with life is to develop beliefs which free and empower you and a long lasting well being and balance for you living amongst others.
Let’s train your brain to generate thoughts and beliefs which are useful and peaceful for you !
Taibi Kahler has detected 5 patterns of behavior aiming at self-validation, and called them “emotional drivers”. Here is a table in which you can learn some more about this concept and scan yourself to recognize some of your own patterns.
|Emotional Drivers –>||Be nice||Be perfect||Be strong||Be quick||Try harder|
|The fear : I don’t want people to think that…||I am selfish||I am average or uninteresting||I am weak||I am slow / with low energy||I am lazy or unmotivated, I am a drag|
|The wish : I want people to validate that I am…||Kind, adorable, selfless…||An overachiever, a genius, a leader, a model, an inspiration…||A fighter, a rock, someone you can count on, a power to be reckoned with…||The “Flash” in person, someone who does unbelievably many things in just one day by being quick||Someone who is dealing with a lot of sh****t, someone who is suffering because of the weight of responsibilities they are taking but has no choice, someone constantly doing their best to deal with life|
|Some typical behaviors (subconscious strategies which become habits) of this persona||Always asks others opinions and preferences and makes compromises, I help everyone out, I have a hard time saying no, I am interested in many things in order to be able to have a conversation about anything, I often agree with others tastes/ideas, I am more interested in people then specific subjects||I look for flaws in everything so I can try to improve them or so I can avoid being judged for it. If I decide to take on a project, I quickly overcomplicate things because I aim for perfection/exception. If I don’t believe I can be exceptional then I don’t do it, and trap myself in procrastination.|
But I always keep criticizing and giving feedback / advice to those who do take action, because I feel like I know better.
|Never asks for help, helps others but also judges them if they should have or could have dealt with it on their own, takes on multiple responsibilities (often too much for one person), works hard, doesn’t listen to their body’s needs very well and values work over well-being||I say yes to all programs suggested to me, constantly running from one activity/appointment to another…||I complain about all the things I need to do, I tell others how their lives are easier, I puff, I tell people all the details of my endless to do list, I talk about work and answer emails during my holidays and ruin that time too for me and others…|
|The limits||Because I love others so much, I haven’t taken time to get to know what myself, my tastes and to anchor my opinions and visions on life, I sometimes feel like an imposture/fake because I try to adapt to everyone around me, I tend to put myself as a second priority (work/other responsibilities and relationships come first) and lack in self-care||I am a judgmental person, and I judge myself the most. I ruin the pleasure of a nice project by pushing myself to my limits fast and hard. I live on a roller coaster of ups and downs, between high states of euphoria / pride and self-loathing, doubts and shame. I dream of becoming “someone important” one day and until then… I keep pushing, which keeps me from enjoying the now.||I became a fortress in which I live alone, I don’t know how to deal with emotions and I fear them, people think I am too hard, I feel misunderstood and left alone, I am tired||I keep running late, I do too many things and exhaust myself, and still feel frustrated for only having superficial experiences in each activity/appointment because I always have to run for the next thing||I have a hard time feeling joy, having fun, letting go of things “I have to do, have to make, have to feel….”, I have a hard time feeling pleasure or making time and space for pleasure|
|I need to learn… and apply this new behavior / antidote||Respect myself, say no, put boundaries in my relationships, get to know what I want / need/ love and make others respect that.||Focus on what needs to be done before I dream of the cherry I want to add on the cake, learn to live in the present and not in the future expecting a prize, learn to become a player who knows how to have a good time. Do things only if you would choose to do them even if you couldn’t tell anyone else you did them (not for pride / for enjoyment or true need).||Understand how useful my emotions are (read article in the link below the table*) and to care for the needs they show me, to develop relationships in which others are my equals (I am not a big brother or sister but a friend), I learn to ask for help when I need it, I see my vulnerabilities as normal and as an opportunity for growth, I accept them, I make allies (friends, family, close relationships which become my tribe)||I need to learn to organize my agenda, only do things I truly want or need to do today, learn to prioritize, learn to have a break and do nothing / breathe / slow down, learn to live in the present moment and calmness. I need to accept my true nature : I actually love to take my time and chill, and that is ok !||I became someone who believes “life is hard”, I need to see how life can become effortless if I change the way I think/behave/decide, I need to learn what I enjoy and how to have fun, and how to let go of “I have to”s, and learn to listen to my appetite, start authorizing myself to play and have a good time, let things be easy. I need to ask muself : do I really want to do this ? If the answer is “no”, then what do I feel like doing instead ?|
- Article to read if you want to better understand, live with and express your emotions
We often develop personas which mix up more than one of these patterns. Ex : be perfect + be nice = can be a person who keeps trying to please everyone while trying to become famous
You may now try to evaluate from 0 to 10 each of these patterns and see which are the descriptions above in which your recognize yourself. Make the assessment of what these “emotional drivers” are disturbing in your life and decide to change that !
Only you can train your brain for a better life. You need to be gentle but firm with yourself.
During the next month, buy yourself a new notebook and each evening take 30 minutes to sit down and write down moments in which your emotional drivers automatically jumped out of their box and drove your behavior. Imagine what you could have done better, to flow as your true self instead of trying to showcase your social persona. Reproduce this table in your notebook and fill it in wit your relevant life situations.
|What happened and how did I react ?||Which emotional driver was it ?||What was I subconsciously trying to prove to others ?||What could I have done that would have been more positive and constructive for me ? What antidote behavior will help me better respond to such events in the future ?|
|I was at the grocery store and the lady in front of me…|
|My boss gave me a new project and I…|
The secret in personal development is accepting the time the journey of transitioning will take. Don’t push it. Let it happen. Give it all you have. Decide it and do it. Breathe and be patient and it will take less time then the weird paths your ego will suggest to go faster. 😉
Step 1 : you now know you need to train your brain to serve your well-being
Step 2 : you become aware of the limiting thoughts and behaviours, you observe them and accept them with humor and love. You did your best until today, and now you can adopt a more positive and constructive approach
Step 3 : you use the tools and antidotes above repeatedly and develop new and better ways of responding to situations
The good news is that very often, there are only a few situations which trigger your clumsy sweet demons. :)) Once you get to know them well, you know when they are likely to point their noses and you anticipate. You become friends with them and help them grow into better “neurons” with love. ;))
But one does not build a better life by only “dealing with the problems”.
Your life energy will be nurtured by making space in your life for what you actually love.
Getting rid of your limiting thoughts, beliefs and behaviors will help you do that, but you still need to find your “love seeds”, plant and water them. That is the key priority for you to lead a life, being what you love. What activities, tastes, places, movies, conversations…. do you enjoy ? That is where the real you is waiting for you to bring presence and light. That is where you will find your endless source of energy and positivity.
Nesem Ertan // RNCP certified Coach – Cognitive & Behavioral Therapy Abundance Design, Identity & Vision Coaching
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