Most of us humans meander through life following the map their parents created for them. They often don’t pause or take the time and effort to appraise themselves to see if old thoughts and behaviors are still working for them working or against them.
Why? Because the thing that we are most afraid of and resistant to is “change”. Change can be awkward and uncomfortable – sometimes terrifying and emotionally painful. The most addicting thing of all is “familiarity”. We all love our comfort zone. It feels safe and it takes a lot less work to follow our original “map” then to look at ourselves and take stock of how well it is working for us. It has been said that “Most people die without ever knowing who they are”. We live on “automatic pilot” But, at what cost? We stay in the same airplane, viewing the same sights over and over and having the same experience repeatedly. We don’t learn anything new. We don’t grow. We don’t evolve into the best people we can be. Worst of all, until we are willing to look inside ourselves, we stay stuck in our old beliefs, thoughts and behaviors despite the reality that they may not be working anymore, or indeed are hampering our true happiness.
In many ways our fear of the unknown terrifies us into living life by “rote”. We stick to our beliefs and our world view and miss the incredible excitement and feeling of well being that comes from growing, learning new things and exploring. I think a lot of us would actually choose to take the risk of change, but don’t because they don’t know they are stuck in the terrain of their parents’ map.
If we do become “aware” (the key word) of this phenomenon at all it is almost always because we hit a wall with our old views. We suffer what is the only thing that makes people even contemplate change: “consequences”. We live in a rut, decorate it, and live unaware and sometimes smugly in our unchanging world – that is until we suffer a consequence of our old ways that is unacceptable to us. It takes enormous courage and willingness to examine ourselves, but nothing changes if nothing changes.
Over the years, for example, friends may have pointed out to you that the way you express anger is scary and they feel brutalized. You say:” That’s the way I’ve always been” or “That’s the way my dad was – if it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.”
We might keep losing important relationships due to our unrealistic expectations we’ve been taught (old map) or developed. We are unaware of our part in it and say: “Men are all jerks” or “I never met a woman I could trust”.
Worst, our anger or resentments might continuously become the cause of sabotaging loving relationships, estrangement from family, or trouble with the law. We may have become hostages to confusion or fears or low self-esteem. We know our life is not working, but we don’t know why.
Whether you’ve made a decision to become more enlightened or have experienced hurtful or harmful consequences of your behaviors, there is a solution.
CREATE A NEW MAP. Create it based on your own needs and experiences and dreams.You deserve to follow your personal guide that works best for you and, even though you don’t believe you have the capacity to do this because of unawareness or fear. You can do it.
I know you can, because I did it. Take out a sheet of paper or do it online – Start the map from where you are right now in your life. Then draw on it the kinds of experiences you want to have – you get to choose the way and the destination. Certainly thank your parents for their map which helped you survive in your family of origin, then take the controls of your airplane.
We are not victims. We are responsible for our happiness. And whether it’s an epiphany or a jail cell that causes you to be willing to change, you can decide at any moment to create, love and travel through the years with your personal journey mapped out by you.
By Susan Levy http://www.daybreakservices.com
Anger Management Classes in Houston, Texas 7 days a week
Gregory A. Kyles, M.A., LPC, CEAP, CAMF
Director, Anger Management Institute of Texas
Diplomate, President of Texas Chapter
American Association of Anger Management Providers