Walking along surrounded by the Comic-Con crowd, we came across a person standing alone. I don't know what movie or comic book character he was portraying, but I identified with him. I noticed his outward appearance: shiny, an enigmatic expression pasted on his face, encased in an Outer-Shell Self.
It reminded me of the times I have protected myself by looking all put together, distancing myself from others, and planting a blank expression on my face... not wanting to be disappointed or hurt by any words or actions directed at me.
Stories We Tell: Insulating Self|
A recent conversation with a co-worker and friend came to mind. We were talking through some software design ideas and decisions. My questions and thoughts seemed reasoned and appropriate to me. But to my colleague, they may have become repetitious with misdirected conclusions. He explained several times how current browser technology worked and why this new design must incorporate these options. Our conversation seemed to go in circles, both of us becoming frustrated and irritated. I could feel the outer shell going up as I crossed my arms and leaned back in my chair, physically disengaging from the discussion.
It wasn't until much later that I realized why I was 'locked into my story.' I recalled an experience from long ago: a memory surfaced of Dad saying, "Can't you get it through your head, You Knucklehead [me]?"
My friend's words may have been different, but the tone and the situation seemed to parallel that encounter with Dad: circular questions and independent ideas expressed; shared frustration and irritation between us!
A memory and hurt from long ago -- insulated behind a hard exterior -- conjured up decades later! I was faced with questions on how to move forward with my work mate:
Do I believe that I am a Knucklehead and don't get it?
Do I remain locked in to this past memory and feelings of inadequacy?
Do I share this childhood memory and its relationship to our misunderstanding?
Stories We Tell: Caged In, with a View Outward|
I no longer needed to accept the feelings nor the internal tapes that limited my self-understanding: I am not a knucklehead or idiot!
I no longer needed to spiral downward with negative feelings: it is okay for colleagues and friends to have distinct and differing positions.
I no longer needed to stay silent about stories that created who I am: I can share the stories learned while growing up.
Stories We Tell: Rising Above|
Children learn from the adults around them... making conclusions based on young and limited experience.
Adults learn from reflection as new situations are encountered... earlier lessons are challenged and reshaped.
We have choices when memories are triggered... be destroyed by the memory-landmine; notice the disturbance but reject any new insights; or accept with forgiveness and humility the choices to live an Inner-Core Self of freedom and growth.
Questions to consider:
What ways have you insulated yourself from family, friends, and colleagues?
Where might you feel caged in or trapped by cyclical irritation and arguments?
What memories come to mind associated with these insulated or trapped moments?
What choices might you make today to connect with others and move outward?
Another lesson I am learning: Life is difficult at times! It is difficult enough to understand ourselves, let alone others! The Memory-Landmines help us to wake up, take notice, and rise above!
May this week bring moments of Awareness, Compassion, and Freedom!
Larry GardepieDialogue San Diego Consulting