I recently watched a scary movie. It was streaming for free on VUDU.
So, there I was looking for a movie to watch and what do I see: Killer Klown’s From Outer Space. When I was a kid I remember seeing the trailers for it and they scared me so bad. (Shhh, I am scared of horror movies.) I told my wife that I always wanted to watch the movie but was afraid, she said “I remember that movie. You should watch it.” With her simple recommendation and the fact that the movie was 20 years old, I decided to watch it. I wanted to face my fear and see what I was so afraid of back then.
What a stupid movie!
I’m sure your wondering, what does this have to do with me!… What’s the point!
Well my dear impatient internet friend. I told this story to illustrate a very huge principle that literally robs people of their life.
“Oh I get it, it’s another platitude about fear”
Actually no. The point is when bad things happen to us in our lives, especially during formidable years; maybe as children, maybe in college, maybe as young adults…
The feelings that we have towards them grows right along with us.
If your father or mother beat you when you were little while you cowered in fear of this giant angry person; even when you grow older and bigger, the feeling of fear grows too! Even if you are as tall as them as a full grown adult, in your mind they are still a giant, angry person. How many times have you seen big, mean football players say they are still scared of “momma.”
Remember how when you were a kid and things seemed so much bigger and scary? That’s usually the way it stays in your mind until you go back and see it as an adult. You can now see those things using the faculties of a grown up and not the mentality and emotions of a child.
It’s like a freeze frame.
If you don’t put things in their proper place, on their proper shelf, at the proper time; you will freeze the way you feel about that thing. You will carry it around with you just the way you froze it.
What does this look like in real life?
Imagine that you were in a relationship with someone and every time you argued, they left for hours at a time. It would suck. You would feel lonely. It would feel like they abandoned you. Those feelings would make you angry and feel completely out of control because they just left with a piece of your heart and you don’t know what they are going to do with it. The next morning, they come back and apologize and everything is all right with the world. But:
If you don’t address those feelings of how you felt when they left and put them in their proper place….
Every time they go to the grocery store, or leave without you, you will have that remember that feeling of uneasiness. Now imagine that you dumped that loser and found a new significant other. Imagine you have your first argument and your new partner goes outside to calm down and get some fresh air. Pause for a moment, how will you feel?
You will feel lonely, you will feel like they abandoned you, those feelings will make you angry and feel completely out of control because they just left with a piece of your heart. Sound familiar?
Without even realizing it, you may act out on your new partner with all those old feelings from the old relationship. And if you aren’t careful, you will come to resent your new partner for making you feel that way even though they did nothing wrong.
We do this with almost everything. Its an unconscious mental shortcut for protecting ourselves, a default behavior keeping us from harmful or negative situations.
Your brain is saying…. warning.. the oven is hot…
We are Pavlov’s dogs. That is why it is so important to not hang around people who are not bringing out the best in you. You are training yourself, setting memory shortcuts, default behaviors that don’t bring out the best in you.
So how do you put things its proper place?
Deal with it – If you don’t, it will come out. It will come out in everything you do. So many people just try to “forget it and move on.” But it will come out.
- If you are able to discuss it with the person who caused it, then do. (but not if you think that it will make things worse, which it usually does). If you have a loved one or good friend, you can discuss it with them. Make sure it is someone you trust.
- Review the events leading up to it, evaluate what could have been done different. Learn from it.
- Put the feeling in the proper place. Let those feelings out it you have to. Its like deflating a balloon.
In our example above:
You could discuss it with the ex, or your new partner, or a trusted friend. Be open and honest about how their leaving made you feel. Let them know that it was not OK and that you needed support in that time.
Then review what led up to it. What was the argument about, what things were said? Go back even further, was being with this person the right thing to do? Learn from it.
Put those feelings back where they belong, do not allow yourself to feel that you can’t express yourself because it will cause your loved one to leave. Understand that it happened but you don’t have to let it happen again.
Does this sound familiar? Leave a comment or email me. I would love to hear it