The Fitness Herald

Vows, Conclusions, and Lessons

 One reader asks, “What are these issues?” “How did they come to be?” and “How are they resolved?”

 In the last post I mentioned that abuse was one way we come to have Unresolved Issues. There are other ways we accumulate Unresolved Issues and in this post I want to address the three that most often are the biggest contributors.

 The Vow

We don’t call it that when it’s happening. We just know we never want this event to ever happen to us again so we make a solemn promise (even a solemn determination) to ourselves and whether it is verbal or not the brain hears it and records it because it is made on the heels of some very unpleasant event in our lives.

Almost always we make these vows when we are young and we don’t know what else to do. Often it stays with us for the rest of our lives for at least 2 reasons.

 1. We make this promise to ourselves at an extremely emotional point in our lives because it is either associated with pain, shame or fear.

 2. We hardly ever revisit this event to see if what we said to ourselves was and is still true. We hardly ever come back to that event and say, “You know, I spoke too hasty that day, it was out of distress fear and shame that I spoke back then. This wasn’t true then and it’s not true now”

 So this vow is recorded, remembered and filed as a truth and we usually don’t return to question it because it was so painful or shameful at the time. This is a very common occurrence, and it is also one way we accumulate Unresolved Issues.

 Real time Snapshot.

So what does it look like when we make a vow? At the time it seems like a good idea, a good way to protect ourselves in the future. We think it is a “normal” reaction to life events and that this will protect us from it ever happening  again.

 When Mary was 11 years old her teacher had all the students of her class give an oral book report of a book they had read during the summer. Mary was a little nervous about remembering so she put together some notes on small slips of paper to remind her of important points.

 As the other students were taking their turn with their reports Mary was studying her notes, when to her surprise her teacher asked her to give the next report. Her notes were out of sequence and since she had not numbered the slips of paper she was completely out of sync with her delivery, most of her time in front of all the other kids was a frantic effort to put the notes into a sequential order.

 It didn’t help that the other students listening were making grunts and teasing remarks. When she finished and sat down she was embarrassed and ashamed “because she felt she didn’t measure up to the class standard” there was a silence for one minute which seemed like an eternity before the teacher picked the next student.

That very day after having sensed the ridicule of her class-mates and feeling “the shame of falling short”, she said to herself, “This will never happen to me ever again”. “I will never put myself in a position to be ridiculed and made fun of”. Would that be a death sentence to public speaking, it could be, or at best public speaking would be something that Mary would have tremendous anxiety about and “naturally” shy away from.

Or she could on the other end of the scale over prepare, over rehearse and become obsessive about it. On the surface that may not seem like a bad thing, but when we are “driven” to excel, it takes more energy, and it also is a sign of an Unresolved Issue. And unless she resolves this extremely emotional event she will always either avoid public speaking, or overproduce in her preparation.

 In Summary:

Here is the sequence of events:

We have an experience, i.e. something happens to us.

We interpret the experience or event based on what little we really know, but what makes sense to us at the time.

 This becomes our belief about it and is integrated and established as part of our belief system, and our feelings are the link of this association. This becomes our “truth” at the moment!  This conclusion we’ve come to is almost always never based on actual truth, because in our child thinking we do not have access to all the facts or genuine truth. So what we have done is base our “truth” on a lie. And this lie masquerades as “truth” in our thoughts. To us it IS the truth. Because we don’t know that our truth is actually a lie, we never feel the need to reexamine our beliefs or conclusions or lessons we have learned in life.

 We sometimes make a vow or determination that we’ll “never” or “always” be like that, do that again, or let that happen again. Who wants to repeat an experience, especially if it feels bad!

 But this now becomes a driving force in our lives.

So now our subconscious is “programmed.”  Belief and Feelings are linked. The actual event fades into our subconscious but our feelings are alive and well, ready to be “triggered” by like and similar experiences. Close enough is all it takes. And we have set into motion a driving force in our lives. We may not even be consciously in touch why we feel a certain way, or why we’re so driven or passionate about a given thing. We may even think it’s part of our personality! This is just the way I am!

 Now as we walk through our lives, whenever a situation is similar enough to the original event, our emotions are “triggered”. The feelings come rushing to the surface and all we know is that we FEEL a certain way about it. We may not know consciously why unless we take the time to trace our feelings back to the original event, the source and origin of our belief and find out why we came to the conclusions we did at the time.

 Most of the “lessons” we learned in childhood are never revisited to see if they still apply or need to be modified.  Most “vows” are never reexamined to see if they were based on actual truth or reality.

But we feel the effects of these all the same. Only when they cause us trouble in our relationships or we don’t want to react that way anymore is there real reason to revisit these. And revisit these is what we must do if we want to genuinely change our responses to life, and finish our Unfinished Business.

What is the process to resolve our Unfinished Business?  Finding the truth.

How is that done?

Stay tuned!