In my last post I talked about how we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
In NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) this is often referred to as seeing the world through a camera, where everything is recorded through different filters and lenses, so it’s not what is really there, it is what we interpret through our mental programming. And sometimes we add lights, music or sound effects and we might zoom in on one particular detail and magnify it, which makes it even harder to see the whole picture.
Point is… We make up the meaning of what we see and of life as we go, depending on our internal thought processes.
Now my childhood left me with some bad programming, so I would be recording most of what I saw with heavy inspiration from Stephen King. Lots of shadows, dark filters, melancholic music and sinister sound effects – a real thriller. Especially when I looked in the mirror.
I’ve just come back from 5 amazing days in Barcelona.
And for once I was just being myself without putting on a show or trying to be who I thought everyone else wanted me to be. That was one thing my childhood taught me: to limit myself, to suppress myself and my desires, to fit in with what other people expected of me, to roll over and be a good boy, so to speak. It’s been a valuable tool in the past, but its usefulness has ended.
So, I was just being myself. And if I didn’t like something, I would voice my opinion. If I felt like being a little silly, I would just do that. Whatever came natural to me, I did that.
And so with my Stephen King directed movie playing, on a subconscious level I expected to repel people, I expected to be seen as a menace and a problem, I expected to be seen as a monster of some kind… that’s just what my programming had been telling me.
At the end of the event, we did an exercise called “Butterfly Wings”.
Like the butterfly can’t see it’s own wings, we can’t see our wings neither, and so the exercise was this:
Everyone has a piece of paper on their back and we’d go around writing each other compliments. You wouldn’t know who’d written what as you wouldn’t see who would be writing it on your back. At the end of the exercise, we take the paper off our backs and read it.
I was expecting some positive compliments. A little nice word here and there. But mostly I was expecting the following words, all of them with “too much” in front of it: honesty, energy, happiness, trying, effort, etc.
And I was also expecting a few: annoying, foolish, troublemaker, weird….
That’s just what my subconscious had been preparing me for.
Here’s what people had written…
Turns out, I’m not as bad as I thought I was. I realized just how messed up my programming was.
So from now on, when I look in the mirror, I won’t trust the words that my faulty programming is giving me, I’ll trust the words of my butterfly wings. And I’ll trust the words of my nearest and dearest friends, who’ve also been trying to convince me that I’m actually a really great guy for years now.
It’s just been difficult hearing them over the dramatic and suspenseful horror music, that Stephen King had playing in the background.
And I have a challenge to you.
Do you dare do the same? To be open, honest and authentic, to be your real self and open up to the words that people have to say about you?
Because chances are, they will be much better than you expect!
A word of caution however….
Be careful with who, you might have surrounded yourself with and are listening to.
Because the kind of people, I had chosen as my most trusted allies last year would talk to me in the same faulty programming that I’d picked up in my childhood. They would tell me that I wasn’t enough, that I was worthless, weak and ugly and that something was wrong with me, teaching me that I wasn’t worth loving.
I don’t blame them and I’m not angry with them anymore for what they did, I realize now that it wasn’t about me, it was about them.
But a word of caution to you still…
There are some people, who have so much anger, hurt, loneliness and jealousy in their hearts, that they simply enjoy ripping off the wings of butterflies.
So be careful who you let in to your life and who you confide in to tell you the truth, they might not want you to know it.
It’s like I told a friend at the event in Barcelona.
The truth is, you can’t trust other people, because you can’t be sure of their intentions or whether their words are really the rights ones for you. And you can’t trust yourself neither, because you can’t really see your own wings.
And so who can you trust?
Depending on what you believe, it might be God, it might be your gut, it might be your intuition or it might to be to trust the fate of the universe…
What I’m finding works for me is to trust in my heart and listen to what it tells me. But it took me a long time to learn to open up my heart, to trust in what it had to say and listen to what it told me…
So what’s the answer then?
I really couldn’t say.