Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Reframing the Past: The Barriers of Fear and Delusion

The instinct for fear can be healthy, as it is warning us that we might need to take flight or to fight so as to survive. Fear keeps us from jumping off of tall buildings, walking into oncoming traffic, and saying something stupid that will get us fired from our jobs! The challenge is in discerning exactly what is a legitimate fear and what is not: when we need to “run away” and when we need to deal with a state of mind that is going to rob us of our personal power and keep us from the life we wish to create.
Fears being FEARS, we often hesitate to face them, preferring to dance around them or to flat out deny them. Here, self-delusion is thought to be a far safer place to live than reality.  Of course, we call our delusions “reality” and expend all our energies in warring against that still, small voice echoing in the recesses of our hearts: “Liiiiiiaaaaaar.”

If I face my fears…
Then I will see that I fear being myself
Then I will have to admit to myself what I really know and what I really feel
I will discover that they are baseless: and then what do I do?
I will have to own up to my failures
I will discover that there are things I can do/change and will no longer have excuses for my present behaviors and attitudes.

            The real fear here is of reality and that, once it is faced, I will have to make choices and then be responsible for those choices. The fact is, however, reality is where I will discover my true power. Seeing my past for what it was and seeing myself for who and what I am in this moment is my base of power: it is from this base that I will create the future I want.
People who prefer delusion to reality get stuck in loops where they keep reliving the same day or experience over and over again: different players, different time, but same story. Because they choose to not press through their fears and the illusions they adopted so as to protect themselves from reality, they never seem to learn anything new, anything that will help them create a better life for themselves. Instead, their delusions keep them stuck in the past … where it is safe and comfortable; where I am “right” and they are “wrong”; where I get to call death, “peace.”
            Fear warps and clouds the mind, focusing upon the perceived threat, rather than upon possibilities for action. Fear causes us to react irrationally, rather than proactively. Fear paralyzes us. Therefore, other than those times when we truly need to fight or take flight, fear is an enemy that must be defeated.
           Digging deeper into the fear, I believe that one of the things we discover is the fear of condemnation and judgment.

I failed, ergo I am a bad/evil person
My past failures are so great that they will always define me
So as to feel better about myself, I have lied about many of the details of my past: admitting this, I will hate myself, as will others.
I choose a path that will keep my loved ones and me condemned/broken. I can’t face that.  

            Before making value judgments or holding forth on the “immorality” of this or that behavior, it is critical for you to step back and remove all emotion and ego. All you are looking at are behaviors, events, and situations. What did you do or not do? What did he/she/they do or not do?            
When I bring my ego to the table, I am either too hard on myself or justify and defend myself. I must first see and acknowledge the facts on the ground. What. Actually. Happened. No projections, no redactions, and no equivocations: just the facts.
            Look at these “facts” from as many vantage points as possible. If a Martian was looking at what happened, what would she have seen? What would a man/woman/boy/girl have seen? How did those who were actually there see this event? If your minister/priest/rabbi/coach were there, what would she or he have seen? What would an individual who has no vested interest in any of the players involved have witnessed?
            Now, ask yourself: Up until this moment, what are the actual consequences of this event(s) in your present behaviors and attitudes? Are these behaviors and attitudes working in your best long-term self-interest? What were the decisions you made, where are these decisions leading you, and is it in the direction of the future you want for yourself?
            It was what it was; it is what it is. Now what? You cannot change the reality of your past but you can learn from it. You cannot change what happened but you can grow because of it. You cannot change what happened but you can change your relationship to it. (Powerful “Reframes.”) However, you can’t do any of this if, out of fear, you choose denial and delusion over reality.

Reality is Power
People fear reality when they should be fearful of delusion. Reality may “bite,” but delusion kills.
            Maslow says that the greatest need for us humans is survival. I think for many people, the greatest need is to maintain their comfort zones, and they will seek to do so even if it costs them their families and friends, their health, their money or even their lives.  For these people, delusions are more important than truly living, and pretending to be powerful more important than actually being powerful.
Some of you need to flip your mindset from fearing reality to being desperate for it. You can’t get to Dallas from DC if you are pretending you are in San Francisco. You can’t make wise decisions that increase your possibilities for success if your decisions are based on a lie. This is true for your personal life, as well as for your business or career.
Reframing my past in a way that supports the future I want to create begins with facing the realities of my past.  “That is who I was/am at the time. That is what I did or didn’t do. This is actually what happened/is happening. This is how I got ‘here.’ I own this, that, and the other.” This is a mind that is unclouded by make-believe and ready to make wise and responsible decisions for the future. This is the mindset that makes me responsible for my life, which is where true power resides. 

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2012            

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