Who Made You, You?
Who Made You, You? At its most basic level this question could be answered with the “Universe” or “God,” but I am asking here about the central figures in your life who influenced you most, whether positively or negatively. This question is worth pondering because the individuals who most significantly impacted you are likely to have set in motion underlying patterns of thought and behavior that can still be dramatically influencing your actions today.
The patterns I refer to can be unconscious—and that’s the problem. If we’re talking about someone who made you courageous in the face of adversity, that’s obviously not a worry. But if we’re talking about someone who, for example, fundamentally shook your ability to trust others, then that lack of trust could operate as a reflex that undermines your ability to forge partnerships, personally or professionally or both.
How long can positive and negative patterns based on early relationships and events last? A lifetime. They act like viruses in the software of the mind and tend to cause more and more trouble over time, not less.
I have worked with CEOs and artists and entertainers and sports figures and lawyers and doctors and many others who, for example, experienced sudden disappointments from mentors early in life and who lived for decades as though uncertainty lurked around every corner. The echoes of those early relationships were that profound. But once the link was established between their fears today and their experiences long ago, the link was severed. They were freer to move forward without undue anxiety.
That’s the way life story reasoning (and part of the Pain-2-Power platform) works. Identify the roots of undesirable patterns of behavior and thought and emotion and, suddenly, the unconscious fuel for those patterns evaporates. Truly. It is astounding how high a percentage of self-defeating assumptions and actions in our lives relies on the motivation for those actions and assumptions being unconscious.
If you spend just 30 or 60 minutes identifying those who have been your heroes and those who have represented hurdles in your life, then write down what life lessons you learned from them, you will be on your way to exposing some patterns you may well want to amplify and others you may well want to end.
Your story matters. The early chapters influence those that are unfolding today. Examining them can unearth treasures of insight that turn pain into power.
Dr. Keith Ablow