All forms of self-defeating behavior are unseen and unconscious, which is why their existence is denied. Vern HowardWithin all psyches there exist 'tapes' that replay themselves -- particularly when we are under stress. These tapes, or messages, or self-denigrating statements were formed when we were small and experiencing the world through the filter of our environments. They were formed as we encountered life, in all its ups and downs and ins and outs, and created messages for ourselves to rationalize, understand, make sense of the world around us.
As adults, we act out our tapes rationalizing our behaviour to accommodate our belief that we have no choice, it's just the way we are, it's not my fault, what do you expect me to do?... And on and on we go.
At Choices, Thelma Box, the founder and facilitator of the program, says the work we do on our tapes and self-defeating behaviours are the two most important and healing components of the training. I agree.
I have tapes that fire when things go wrong, when I choose to do the wrong thing, or choose to take the 'easy' instead of the best way through, out, or over something in my life.
My tapes go something like this: "You are such a loser." "Hello. What were you thinking?" "How could you be so stupid?... blind... dumb....(fill in the blank). You should have known better. It's all your fault...."
The problem with tapes is they are always, and I mean always, a lie.
The challenge is, we spend a lot of our time in the subconscious effort to prove our tapes right by doing the wrong things.
Tapes hold me back with their destructive tendency to pull me down to my lesser self and undermine my higher good. When my behaviour is optional, or I am being a problem, I often think I am shoring myself up to prove my tapes wrong, when in actuality, I am working to prove my tape right. Inevitably, when I am playing to my tapes, I am responding to my lesser good.
And that's not healthy.
Take for example my desire to lose weight. Within me is a tape that goes something like this. "You don't deserve to be slim. You're so fat or, you're not fat, you're just big boned. Eating makes you feel better. It's okay to eat that, you deserve it because.... (the because can be anything from, I'm tired to I walked an extra mile to I cleaned the dog poop up in the backyard and I deserve a reward!)"
Those tapes are not my friend -- but subconsciously I am trying to prove they don't exist, or they don't control me, or they are not true. Sometimes, I try to eat them away, or simply ignore them or fight them or drown them beneath eating all the wrong things.
Thing is, my tapes are always triggered by my emotions. So, if I am over-eating or eating the wrong things, I am actually eating my feelings -- and my feelings are all about me and what's going on in my life and how I'm handling what's going on in my life. If I'm eating my feelings, I'm not dealing with my life in a loving, balanced and caring way -- and that's a habit I need to break.
How to break the habit is the real challenge. How do I know what my tape is if I am acting out some subconscious tirade that I am not completely aware of?
By getting conscious of what I'm doing, and being committed to do 'the right thing'.
W. Clement Stone, author and founder of AON Insurance, once said, "Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."
I know that eating a donut is the 'wrong' thing to do. Having integrity means I don't let fear drive me into doing what hurts me. Having integrity means I let courage draw me into doing the right thing -- at all times.
And that can be hard.
Sometimes, I want to act out, be the child, be willfully stubborn and just be a nuisance in my own life.
Being adult, being responsible, being self-loving means -- I acknowledge my baser instincts -- and do the right thing.
No matter the circumstances.
No matter my fear.
No matter how tired, grumpy, out of sorts or simply feeling blue I am.
One day at a time.
Choice by choice.
Step by step.
Moment by moment.
And that's my choice today.
I acknowledge I have tapes that propel me into self-defeating behaviours.
I acknowledge I have the power to face the truth about who I am -- I am a miracle of life. I woman of worth. A being of great value, perfectly human in all my human imperfections.
The question is: Are you living up to your higher good? Are you listening to the truth about who you truly are, a miracle of life, a being of great value?