Your Other-Created Selfsam
RE-CREATING YOUR SELF
By Christopher Stone
Last time, I explained how the person that you described in Adventure 1, Your Now Self, is, in truth, an other-created, not a self-created, person; someone who was spoon-fed beliefs about your self, others and the world in general by the influential people from your early years.
As you progressed in school, your other-created self was encouraged and reinforced. Homogenization became your way of life. Parents, peers and teachers regularly rebuffed you for acting as an individual, but they praised and rewarded you for thinking and behaving like everyone else.
Developing into an American Original may have been fine for John Wayne, JFK, Rosa Parks, or Martin Luther King, but most of you were encouraged strongly and relentlessly to “just fit in,” “act normal,”or you were cautioned, “Don’t make waves.”
As a teenager, you dramatically compromised your individuality in order to be accepted as “one of the gang.” You caved under peer pressure. You acted, dressed and thought like your friends. You learned to enjoy, or, at least tolerate, the same music, movies and television shows. For many teenagers, ostracism, coupled with loneliness, the price of being an “original,” is much too high to pay. Most adults remember at least one painful experience from their adolescence of mean and merciless teasing and taunting that occurred when they somehow revealed their true, original self to their peers, refusing to go along with the gang. No one is eager to have more than one such memory
Later, when you fell in love, you made your self over in order to be loved and desired by the object of your affection. You may have stopped (or started) smoking, drinking, using recreational drugs, abandoned or changed your religion, even ordered anchovies on your après movie pizza – whatever it took to be deemed Mr. or Ms. Right by your beloved!
Launching your career, you learned quickly that the surest way to succeed in business, or in your neighborhood, is to become a Xerox of those with whom you do business and, around whom, you live. Even the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical advised us (in catchy song, yet) that HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING is to “do it the company way.” To wit, “I play it the company way. Wherever the company puts me, there I stay.” Then, later in the ditty, “Supposing the company thinks that….I think so too!”
And so, your life was cemented as an other-created person: someone who lives according to the ideas and beliefs, the standards and values, of others. You accepted the false and self-diminishing belief that if you do what you’re told, if you don’t rock the boat, acceptance, happiness, love, salvation, and success will be your rewards. You will be popular. But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it? In truth, it rarely works out that way. That’s one of the reasons you’re interested in Re-Creating Your Self.
So what went wrong? Why didn’t you become the person you want to be, living the life you desire? Quite simply, living your life according to the beliefs of others – becoming the person others want you to be -doesn’t create personal happiness. Making matters worse, living your life as an other-created person commonly creates mental and physical illnesses.
During childhood, accepting beliefs from others was often necessary for survival. One example: As a toddler it was good for you to accept your parents’ belief that it was dangerous to cross the street alone. In other cases, adopting the beliefs of others gave you a basic grounding and orientation to life, your family and society. It served as a direction for personal growth.
Lamentably, it’s all too common for us to accept, and to live by, the beliefs of others, long after doing so has ceased to be beneficial. As you matured, and your ability to reason developed, you were supposed to start defining reality for your self. Equally important, you should have re-examined the beliefs that you had accepted from others earlier in life, identifying those ideas that created positive feelings and experiences, as well as those that yielded poor results. Beliefs that didn’t contribute to your health, happiness and well-being should have been discarded, along with your pacifier, pabulum and favorite security blanket.
In other words, as you matured, you should have changed from other-created person into self-created man or woman. Regrettably, many of you didn’t drop the outdated beliefs and trappings of childhood that worked against your well-being and heart’s desires. If you are not the person you want to be, living the life you desire, then you didn’t make this transformation from other-created person to self-made man or woman. Re-Creating Your Self will help you to do so.
A Re-Creating Your Self Thought: Whatever the current condition of your health, improve your feelings of well-being by affirming daily, silently, “Inside me, there is only room for health.”
Next Time: Get out your Adventure Logbook and roll up your sleeves for My Personal Beliefs, Part One.
Please send your Re-Creating Your Self comments, observations and questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2008 by Christopher Stone