Reasons To Not Be Afraid – Post Revisited

About seven years ago I wrote what I still regard as the most honest, vulnerable and personal thing I have ever posted. The title of the post was Reasons To Not Be Afraid and it represents as close to bottom as I hope I ever go.

At the time, it had been about six weeks since my father had died and after taking the month of February to rot, drink, overeat, smoke, and basically spiral down, I had a moment of clarity. It was around 4:55 AM on the morning of Wednesday February 29. For some reason, probably because my brain had stopped enjoying the experience of being inside my body, I was snapped awake with the realization that my dad was dead. While this was obvious and something that I was clear on, given that he died on January 29, a part of me had been pushing it away. But through the fog my brain was able to do its thing, reconcile all of the sensory information, interrogate my long term memories and force into my consciousness the painful reality that he wasn’t on vacation and that he was never coming home.

I lost my shit! Waking-up angry is one thing, this was an entirely different animal. My body was already filled with a chemically induced rage courtesy of my medulla dumping the previous months share of adrenaline into my blood stream a few moments before my eyes opened. The worst part was that my eyes opening was not the first action I took that morning. My body had been up and moving around for a while before I joined the party and it was my joining in that slowed everything down; not right away though. I was along for the ride watching my body wrecking things as I tried to get a handle on a tsunami of grief, a growing pain in my right foot and the feeling that something should be ringing in my ears that people get when they are smashed awake by a threateningly loud noise.

There were a few things wrecked in my room, nothing of much value and nothing that was ever missed, but destroyed nonetheless. A fan, a pair of old headphones, a plastic water bottle, stuff that had been near my bed when my hands decided that those items needed to be as far away from me as possible and the rest of my body agreed. The predawn peace had been shattered by things exploding against the wall that had done nothing but try and hold up the house. Its answer? Make sure everything stayed on the inside of the room by providing the perfect surface to convince a few million molecular bonds that their partners were not worth holding on to. It was the noise of their scream as they let go that was responsible for waking me up.

Oh, and I had kicked something.

What does bottom look like? Well, it depends on the person I suppose. For me though it was kind of unremarkable. Bottom was sober. Bottom was clear headed. Bottom was a profound sadness. There wasn’t regret, my dad and I had been very close. His death wasn’t the shock that him getting cancer had been. When someone is given 6-12 weeks to live you know full well what is in the mail.

I was just tremendously sad.

Hitting bottom didn’t look anything like the view on the way there either. And in fairness, even the journey there wasn’t something that would make anyone shake their head in disgust. In the month between his death and me finally accepting it there had been a lot of drinking, over eating and too many cigarettes. Too much sleeping and too much time spent by myself working on a Morrissey flavored depression that was equal parts self indulgence and self pity. But there had been a lot of writing, a lot of insights and a lot of unconsciously coming to terms with the reality that my life was unworkable and had been for a very long time.

With my dad gone, I needed to grow-up – I needed to grow-up anyway, his passing must forced the issue. And as I lay on the floor of my room bawling that morning I accepted that my journey had begun.

Writing the “why’s” and “what ifs” lists in the Reasons To Not Be Afraid was good therapy advice that I had been putting off because the thought of the pain looking that deeply at my life might cause seemed too much to bare. This was an inflection point, a moment when the polarity reverses and the pain of continuing along a path becomes greater than any conceivable pain that would come from seeing what I had made of my life. While I didn’t particularly like what I saw and I detested the fact that I had become someone so afraid of the world that I was compulsively avoiding it, I knew that these were just feelings. If things were different, I would probably feel different.

That was the switch flipping. I had no idea if the future was going to be better, if I would attack the world with confidence and become a man of powerful and pragmatic action. That post, and the lists contained within it, were a reflection and the manifestation of untested beliefs. By doing different things, I would be able to find out if the beliefs were accurate and I would be able to feel something different. That was enough for me. It was clear that I was the one who had been making the decisions and choosing my actions, so I was free to make different decisions and choose different actions. And that is what I did.

Life got better, much better. It turned out that I had been living a lie. While the world is every bit as bad as I thought it was, living in it and being a part of it is a lot easier than avoiding it. While the “why’s” list did contain some accurate reasons, it also included some ad-hoc justifications for indulging in compulsive escapist behaviour. We’re all very good at coming up with reasons to support doing whatever it is we think we should do. The gold though was in my lack of imagination in the “what ifs” list. I was right about most of the things. As I changed my behavior, life got easier and it changed for the better. But I had been negligent in my consideration of the outcome of sustained small actions. Any action taken eliminates an almost infinite number of potential futures while simultaneously creating the possibility of an almost infinite number of alternative ones. It wasn’t just that I would no longer be hiding away from the world, it would be that I was actually engaging it, and that meant doing things, things that I hadn’t even considered being things before let alone things that I would be doing.

Seven years on the only thing that I would change about the post is the last line “I’m not necessarily afraid, but I am anxious,” which was more wishful thinking about the future than anything else. It was too early to make a definitive call on what the experience of change was like. The truth is that I am both afraid and anxious of doing new things and of the unknown in general. And I think I always will be. Life doesn’t start being less scary. There isn’t a desensitization effect as a result of doing stuff.

The main difference now is that I accept that I am afraid and I do it anyway.

Sunk Cost – Another Way The Past Influences Your Future

Sunk cost is regarded as the amount of money / resources that have already been spend / invested into something that cannot be recouped. These costs have already been incurred regardless of the outcome.

For example, spending $5000 digging a hole in the back yard for a swimming pool. Regardless of how you proceed after the hole has been dug, you cannot get the $5000 back; filling in the hole will not return the money. Another example is working on a relationship – you can spend 6 months going to therapy in an effort to mend things with no guarantee that you’ll both grow old together.

The issue with sunk costs is that they can bias perspective and effect decision making because we can tend to place a higher value on past actions vs. future actions. A number of studies have shown that people become more certain about their decisions after they make them – those who bet on a sporting event will immediately become more confident that their desired outcome will be the eventual outcome once they place their wager.

The reality is very different. While the betting odds can change as a result of more people betting on an outcome, and while those people will become more certain about the outcome, NOTHING about the outcome has changed. The team that was going to win is still going to win. The actions of those outside of the system will have no impact on the actions inside the system.

To put is another way, what is the eventual outcome is going to be the outcome regardless of any sunk cost. Sinking cost into a bad decision will not make it a good decision REGARDLESS of any perceptual tendency to think that it does.

Given the human tendency to further invest in poor choice because of sunk cost, it’s easy to see how this can have a detrimental impact on ones life. Alternative options will not be considered or will be viewed less favorably and resources will continue to be invested into a poor decision. What is viewed as unworkable from an external and objective point of view can be viewed as worthy of continued effort by those who are involved and subjectively engaged in the process.

How do you know when you are being impacted by sunk costs?

  • You’ll hear yourself saying or thinking “well, I’ve put this much into it already” while you have a feeling that walking away will be a waste of that effort. In this instance, you have already realized the eventual outcome but rationalizing a delay by looking at the sunk cost. Immediate action is both appropriate and needed here.
  • You have a tendency to view things in terms of win:lose and not from a perspective of what was the lesson from an experience. You don’t want to lose so you continue in a failing attempt to win. In reality both are abstract and meaningless distinctions. If you choose personal growth from an experience you will be able to move forward very quickly because you’ll view the sunk cost as the price for a powerful lesson.
  • You are fearful to consider different alternatives because of a sense of wasted time / money / resources. This is an indication that you are not being objective and open minded, a clear indication that something illogical is at play.
  • You have a scarcity view of the world and believe that you may not ever have the sunk resources again. Being loss avoidant isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you hold a view that what has been spend cannot ever be regained, you are not looking at the future accurately. The consequence is that you end-up pouring MORE resources into something that is a lost cause; this will increase the scarcity of resources making real the very thing you are trying to avoid.

There are times to stay and persevere and there are times to learn a lesson and change your course. The right thing to do is the thing that is objectively and statistically the most probable way to achieve your goal. The wrong thing to do is to avoid unpacking your reasons for staying because you believe everything would be a waste if you were to stop.

Sunk costs impair rational thinking so if you are in a situation and have spend a lot of resources on it, be mindful that your natural tendency will be to view continuing as the best course of action. It may be, but take the time to see the potential costs of continuing and to evaluate the situation for what it actually is right now vs. what it was when you made the decision to invest in it.

How To Alter Someones Brain Functioning

People can get inside our heads and toy with our brain. Everyone can do it, most of us do. But it’s a mindless thing because we rarely see what has happened or that we were doing it. It is so wildly simple that it is kind of terrifying, particularly because the ability to have someone impact our thinking is hardwired into our genetic code.

MOST people can and are toyed with in this way a lot, daily. I used to do it to my clients and I’ll do it in most meaningful conversations with people I don’t know or have just met because most people don’t really want to talk openly with strangers in-spite of their desire and need to be social. For this to be effective, you need to trigger one of a number of deeply routed automatic response within a person. Once triggered, the thoughts of a person change in a very predictable way.

You can open someone up by acting the same way you do when you are with someone you are really close to. Smile, make eye contact, listen and engage their words / thoughts, ask inappropriate questions without showing any discomfort, engage them intensely and without judgment, think about their words and let the feelings they create float through you, ultimately make the conversation about them and you will find people say the most incredible things. For example, after someone told me that they were terminally ill I asked them what it was like to be dying, he was scared and while he could see the connection between his actions and his impending doom, he sort of wished that he wasn’t going to die. I learned that it’s tough to not blame your parents when you get molested by a family member and that the most scaring thing in this case was that you no longer trust anyone to look out for their best interests – if their parents couldn’t do it, no one would. An armed forces member told me that he doesn’t talk about his experiences in Afghanistan just that he’s glad to be home safe and with the people he knows how to miss.

My questions were abrupt and inappropriate but my curiosity was genuine and my desire to learn was pure. It’s easy to not feel uncomfortable about doing something with harmless and good intentions, but that doesn’t really matter. By acting like you are intimate friends with someone you get into their brain and trick it into acting as though the conversation is with a best friend.

You can close someone down just as quickly by doing the opposite. Being uncomfortable around them, by being rigid, contrived, disrupting to the natural flow of the conversation, by not being present. Don’t smile or make eye contact. Wait to talk or talk the moment you have something to say. Ask yes / no or data collection questions and move on to the next topic after receiving the data (data is context free facts like dates, times, yes or no). Basically think about and engage the other person as though they don’t matter very much because once they sense their lack of importance they will close down.

Assume a dominate / parent-like position and actions, you can get their brain to spontaneously run antiquate processes from the past. They will unconsciously take on and display child-like behavior and display the actions of a subordinate figure – raising your voice, taking a overbearing stance. By acting child-like you can often get other people to take on a parent-like role – appearing vulnerable or helpless will often trigger spontaneous parenting type actions.

Effective sales people know and employ these forms of conversational / behavior control all the time, as do most compliance practitioners. Fortunately there has been a recent movement towards information sharing and relationship building in sales, so the need to guard yourself from this type of influence is decreasing. But be warned, it still exists and you will be susceptible to it IF you forget that it can happen.

When I Stop Protecting I Start Progressing

Yesterday I was talking to Heather, I was a little annoyed at a tactic that one of our mutual coaches used during the conversation to help gain Heather’s support in something.

“That’s pretty manipulative” was the comment I made. She replied with “it’s only manipulative if I / you think it is, I actually respect her more using the tactic.” And this made me wonder a few things.

Why do I care about the tactics someone employs when trying to enroll my girlfriend in something?

Heather didn’t care, the opposite was true, she would think less of the coach is she hadn’t used the tactic. I don’t really have a horse in the race so why did I care?

That was fairly simple to uncover, I think I was trying to be a protector and mitigate the negatives that she is exposed to. It’s easy for a boy to want to do that when completely enamored by a girl. There’s an almost social imperative that boys look after their female partners so finding and trying to play this role is easy; particularly given my strong traits. But Heather isn’t looking for protection, she wants to feel safe (which is another topic worthy of its own consideration).

What’s the cost of acting that way?

The answer here is a tough pill to swallow. It has cost me a lot of relationships. Admittedly, the relationships ran their course, but at the core of protective behavior is a strong desire control situations to cause something to not happen. That is a key piece of the unworkable nature of life. Situations are what they are and they occur because of the way life has been engineered. We create our own luck, our own life and almost everything that exists around us.

It has cost me wisdom. Volumes of lessons that would have expedited a lot of my maturing. Every time I have tried to control a situation or behavior out of existence I have closed-up making learning impossible.

It has cost me peace of mind by creating a sense of victimization. By creating (or trying to create) a life that sees me not having to deal with the things, I don’t grow powerfully towards being able to deal with those things. For example, by tying to protect myself or others from being sold, I am unable to actualize that positive that exists from buying. Instead, I feel like the world is out to get me.

All in all being that way has cost me a happiness and a lot of fulfillment and abundance. And as it winds down, I see that it hasn’t gained me anything. The world continues on with or without me getting on board with it’s motion. My perception of having control is simply a perception, it doesn’t reflect anything that actually exists.

Responding To Criticism

There is a saying “to escape criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing,” but I have a feeling that you’ll still have your critics because people are outstanding at taking their critical eye off of themselves and casting their judgmental gaze upon others. It’s what a lot of people do.

There are a number of different approaches when it comes to these people shelling out their opinion but how you engage their words will be basically the same. You hear what is said, you consider the words without allowing the tone to taint your understanding, consider the information that is being given to you and the actions it helps you take or avoid, you then consider the source of the criticism to determine the amount of value their words should be given and then you make whatever changes you need to based on the merit of the criticism. And if you don’t know what to do or what you think, you simply just wait until you do know what to do.

This approach is effective because it makes the initial assumption that what the person is saying *may be* valid so you do not waste good feedback because of the source; good advice or criticism is good regardless of who says it. Don’t miss out on a gem of wisdom simply because it came out of the mouth of someone who doesn’t like you.

Some examples:

“You are a complete asshole” – this type of criticism isn’t helpful because it reveals nothing about WHY the sayer believes you to be an asshole. There are no clear actions to come out of it. They are likely trying to hurt you for something or number of things they believe you have done. It doesn’t matter who says this, it’s not worth engaging. Probably the best reply is “thanks, I’m lots of things!”

“When you raised your voice, I thought you were going to hurt me” – this is very helpful because it reveals the emotional state of the sayer (fear) and it introduces the catalyst for their emotional state (your action of raising your voice). It is reasonable, regardless of who says this to you, that you can avoid this person becoming fearful by not raising your voice. It reveals a lot about their past, likely that they’ve been exposed to yelling in a caring environment that was supposed to be safe and nurturing.

“When I was with you, you never knew what you wanted” – this isn’t very helpful or actionable because it reveals opinion and it is passively blaming. This isn’t the type of criticism that is very useful on it’s own and, given that it is reports about something in the past, it isn’t actionable. Your options here are to engage the person in a conversation to find out what they are trying to say or just thank them for their opinion and move on. It may be worth considering off-line, but if they are in your past consider just leaving them there.

“Well, I wouldn’t have done X if you didn’t do Y” – this is fantastic criticism because it reveals a lot about the sayer and it provides you with the framework for preventing X in the future by avoiding Y. All is well until we consider the source, then it should be rather scary. If you doing Y makes someone do X, you have a surprising amount of control over them; you don’t actually so there’s a very good chance that you are talking to someone who doesn’t want to take responsibility for their actions.

Now, the best part about criticism is that when you have some for someone else, you can be very confident that you have the same criticism of yourself.

My New Nighttime Integrity Battle

I have always been a dreamer, both during the day and at night. Most of my REM dreams have been things that are either the usual fluff (the seemingly random consequence of brain repair) or the symbolic chilling ones that seem to last well into the following day. I’d just assume the brain was offering up some experience that was needed to reorganize itself to accommodate something that it experienced recently. “I wonder why the hell I needed to have that experience” was often enough for me to just let go of thinking about it and just get on with the day as best I can.

But sometimes when I’m going through some sort of ego death and fundamental restructuring of identity, the dreams become battles against something that really doesn’t want to let go.

I am in one of those periods now and fortunately I have the self-awareness to know what is happening soon after I wake-up in a cold sweat thinking “what the F was that?”

Some of the dreams over the few last weeks have been particularly disturbing. Throughout most of them, I keep thinking “this isn’t on me, these people are responsible for their own actions.” Many are loaded with symbolism and others are simply the raw sensory information being perceived for the literal experience it was meant to be.

There are reoccurring ones about my Canadian schools. One batch has me running through my first Canadian grade school. I’m older in this dream, I think my current age and I’m trying to help some of the new Canadian children feel at place there. The pace is frantic and I don’t know if I’m helping. The next school dream is of my Junior high school, were I am circling a route inside it, frantically trying to get somewhere but I’m just running and running, round and round. Then there is the high school one. In this I’m not a part of the school or the people. I’m effectively isolated.

Most recently the dreams have been more about being with a smaller group of people – me and two or three other people – vs. the building of complete isolation that I was experiencing with the school dreams. We start off as a large group, with all but a few of them leaving at the end. The remain ones are unique in that we possess something that the rest didn’t. It’s tough to say what exactly it is, but the rest are returning to their old life while we remain separate and distinct.

I have had a couple of dreams about golf courses. These are significant because I don’t dream about golf and only spend time near a course the summer before and after Natalie died. They are less intense and less frequent – they haven’t happened in consecutive evening and I’m able to engage the people more effectively.

These dream reveal two things. The first is an intense and deeply seeded sense that I don’t belong – stemming from moving from Ireland when I was 9. The second is a deeply seeded sense that I am not worthy of love stemming from the fact that Natalie broke-up with me a couple of months before her life ended.

I am waiting for the final lesson / piece of information and this is the one that actually frightens me as it will have something to do with an earlier period of my life before I moved to Canada. My apprehension about it stems from the fact that EVERYTHING has gone into my brain and shaped me in some way but most of it is beyond my conscious ability to recall after almost 35 years.

Negative Love Syndrome – Revisited

A few weeks ago I blogged Negative Love Syndrome – It Can Stop Here. If you didn’t read it give it a read now, and the Hoffman .pdf. I’ll wait for you to do that before I continue.

Great, now we’re on the same page.

Okay, I don’t disagree with the article or the concept of Negative Love Syndrome (NLS) but if you’re reading a self-improvement / self-awareness blog it’s pretty clear that the concept isn’t flushed out. I had a feeling there was an emptiness to it when I read it the first batch of times but didn’t figure it out until this weekend while I was at the Landmark Forum.

Here’s the deal with it:

Your parents create you and those who surround you are the ones who teach you most of what it is to be alive – survival skills, the skills of intimacy, and how to engage others. Good, bad, whatever. For example, if a mother used alcohol to cope with missing her family overseas, the child may learn to avoid getting close to other people to prevent what they judge to be a wrong type of behavior. If a father yelled because he never learned how to express his emotions his children may learn to avoid saying no or try and avoid disappointing people by never expressing their organic feelings. This makes sense. While not the same thing, both are a manifestation of a lack of authenticity which is the origin of negative love.

The concept is complete only when the individual identifies and addressed their responsibility in the existence of their NLS. Believing that your parents or caregivers did something wrong is a compelling slap to their face. Occasionally someone will do a horrible thing, but in many of the cases the parents were just people doing the best job they could, the only way they knew how. It’s nice to blame them for not doing what you believe would have been a better job, but chances are that they were younger than you are now when they did the things that shaped your NLS. If you are an adult and still blame your parents you are still a child. If you are a parent and still blame your parents you are lowering the potential for unlimited success and joy in the life of your children because you are a child raising children.

A parents role it to keep you alive until you are able to be independent. That’s it. Take responsibility for your place in life, your decision to transfer blame for your life onto them and others and get out of the past. Thank your parents for a job well done and ask your parents for forgiveness for being judgmental for their actions. If you don’t you are going to remain exactly the same as them.

Make no mistake about it, they feel it and believe that they have failed as a parent. Man-up, and let them know just how successful they were because you are alive. Let yourself be beautiful, vibrant and joyful. You don’t just owe them that, you owe them EVERYTHING.

Two Months On, One Month On

Two months ago my father died.

One month ago I woke-up from almost 39 years of living in a fog after giving up most of my compulsive behaviors. It was rough at times.

I loved the escape, getting out of my mind on drink and food, passive aggressive blaming, addictive relationships and a lack of authenticity and integrity. The first day was fine, the second day was tough, day 3 to 10 were a challenging detox, then things began to improve.

I never thought about starting any of it again though. I effectively stopped sleeping and was only able to get about 3-5 hours a night of cold sweating and dread. I took to sleeping with Bear again, a stuffed animal that Rachel gave me a number of years ago because I felt so alone when my eyes would pop open after 30 minutes or 30 seconds of sleep. It didn’t feel weird to take him out of the closet and cuddle him. He has personality and that seemed to give me strength.

At some point I noticed that a lot of the suffering had started to go away. I was left with some intrusive thoughts, but my therapist coached me on some cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that have been extremely effective at transforming the thoughts into something else. With the proper context, I can see that something happened and am free to tell myself any story and create any feeling about it that I like. She’s very good at her job and has spared me a lot of pain, replacing it with a contentment for the average life I have lived surrounded by some extraordinary people.

I made peace with everything upon seeing the motivation of my actions, accept it, and became extremely grateful for all of my experiences.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, love began to flow. This is a powerful love that I haven’t experienced as an adult. It is more powerful than anything that I imagined I was capable of experiencing. It is hard to articulate it, but it feels like a highly focused understanding and compassion for humanity, all things living and everything in existence. A metaphysical understanding that I am the universe, that all of us are made up of pieces of the universe that have existed since everything began. Our form borrows bits and pieces as slightly more organized but utterly meaningless collections of matter. We exist as this for an insignificant amount of time and then we are returned back into the cosmos.

My spirit is restored when I realize what this means. We are all exactly the same thing, I am no different, not even different from other people. The fog is gone, and it is impossible to forget the experience of what it is like.

I can feel emotions, sense their origin, and fearlessly attack the world. I understand my essence and that my spirit is pure. I am now incapable of lying to myself or to others. I see my compulsive past as a gift, and the remainder of my life will be about fulfilling my purpose. My vitality peaks as the energy of the universe channels through my body – I have become indestructible because I have died.

Patrick doesn’t exist anymore, he never did. He was a figment of an imagination and a desire to be instead of being. People think I have lost my mind, and I have.

Our Generations Wake-up Call

It may be time for many in our generation to read the writing on the wall. The recent winds of change have blown away a lot of the haze for so many of us revealing one fact that creates two possibilities.


Each one of us will die.

The possibilities:

Accepted that your life is for living and navigating the world as an opened-minded Adult, with an child-like curiosity and joy. Realize that your past has taught you many skills but not necessarily the need to shamelessly and compassionately apply them.

Or continue to wait for something before you begin to engage your world. Be it a degree, children, for children to be older, the perfect body, the cosmetic surgery, an apology or forgiveness, the ideal job, the right person to come along, any partner to come along,… it could be any number of things that simply kick living down the road a little longer.

If you are continuing to wait remember there is always going to be a reason for your life to stay exactly as it is. It isn’t the reason you are giving though, it is the person who is making the excuse.

Reasons To Not Be Afraid

I’ve got a lot, but I am. I have been for years.

Sure, I can continue to wrack my brain, analyzing the hell out of my memories and ripping apart my actions looking for meaning, but that hasn’t gotten me any closer to the truth, happiness or to a level of satisfaction with who I am, my place in the universe and even a reason to keep going. It can’t, I’ve been lying to myself for a long time. I didn’t really realize it. When I was small I told myself a lie, a story, and I went with it. Then life became it, and finally I did too.

That isn’t good enough for me anymore. There is more to this world than these distractions I’ve been seeking and compulsively indulging.

My therapist suggested that I make 2 lists, one of the why’s and one of the what if I stop. I thought it would be tough, and it was kind of, I crumbled and cried and the self-loathing seemed to grow exponentially. But I had a lot to write and the ease at which it flowed out of me help me see that I have been ready for a sometime, but just afraid to step off the cliff and drop to my death. I liked the old me, but he was selfish, scared and offered only conditional everything. Those who knew me saw that things weren’t right, those who knew me really well would leave. My family and close friends were the only constants, and of the friends, only those who engaged me like an Adult, without judgement remain. And that was key unlocking the gate and convincing me to take the leap. I AM an Adult and it is okay to forgive myself for my past actions. Further self-judgment here is pointless.

The why’s of my compulsive behavior:

  • Predictable outcome – good or bad, I knew what would happen and there is some sense of security in that
  • It created a false me / them dynamic that helped me feel like I was different
  • It closed me off from other people, which helped me feel like I didn’t belong
  • It is wildly isolating, alienating and paradoxically not the person I presented myself to be
  • Being isolated allowed me to indulge my thoughts without outside perspective to balance them
  • It helped me feel different and deviant so not as good as anyone else
  • Doing it helped me feel a sense of shame that I could wear and feel inferior to others
  • It altered my emotional state temporarily so there was some escape for the emptiness / insecurity that I felt
  • It was childish and was a calling for some sort of love that I didn’t think I was getting
  • It was proof that I wasn’t okay and therefore not worthy of the things that others may enjoy
  • It helped me get a very nice body that I thought would compensate for my lack of confidence
  • It was easier to keep doing what I was doing vs. put the effort in to change

The what if I stop my compulsive behavior:

  • I will save money
  • My teeth, skin, and body will look better
  • I will feel my baseline, whatever that is, and be able to get the help I need to adjust that
  • I will improve my spiritual health as I become reconnected with the universe and the people on the planet
  • I will save a lot of time
  • I will feel my emotions clearly and in a timely fashion allowing me to properly engage and parse them for the information they are revealing
  • I will be free of the anxiety and guild associated with indulging compulsive thoughts
  • I will be able to recover from my fathers death more effectively
  • I will be acting with self-love and treating my body, mind and spirit with compassion
  • I will be acting more like my mentors
  • I will not be harming myself
  • I will have removed the monkey from my back and will have stopped doing something I am ashamed of
  • I will have gain the knowledge of just what these compulsive behaviors have been doing to me
  • I will be acting responsibly, I will be acting like an Adult
  • I will no longer be acting in a hypocritical way and this will restore my integrity
  • I will be thinking more clearly, my body will be functioning more clearly and I will be reducing a number of very serious health risks
  • I will be in a position for find a partner who complements my life but does not give it purpose
  • I will have a better idea of my actual worth and be able to take more effective actions to help me achieve my goals
  • My public self will match my private self and any dissonance between the two will be eliminated
  • I will not need to be living and managing two separate and incomparable lives

I looked at the lists when I was feeling absolutely crap over the last few weeks, picked an item and mediated on it. It didn’t take long for my chest to puff-up and for the fighter in me to come up to scratch. My actions are my choice so stopping is as easy as just not doing it anymore.

However, there is something going on inside my brain that this exercise was supposed to bring to light and my therapist was happy that it came out. I’m not necessarily afraid, but I am anxious.