Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Subconscious Habits

What subconscious habits do I have that negatively affect me currently? I feel that to eliminate the situations I do not like, I must stop the habits that created the negativity.

I could begin with saying that my marriage is saturated with distrust and disrespect, or that my children are suffering in ways I am not sure I can repair. However, I’ve learned enough to know that before I can hope to repair relationships with others, I must repair the relationship I have with myself.

Therefore, I choose to identify some habits that affect me because they originate inside of me. I want to identify my own stinking thinking so I can decide how to go about changing me.

Negative Thoughts:

  • I should pursue my talents, goals, or activities only if they please someone else; if I am the only one who wants it, then it’s not worth pursuing. 
  • I am undisciplined and struggle to meet goals.
  • I do not know how to set goals worth reaching.
  • My goals are unimportant.
  • What I want is unimportant.

OK. I’m stopping right here. I am seeing a disturbing trend in my thinking. For one, I believe that anything I do must be validated by someone else. I prefer that the ones I love validate me, but strangers will do (as in the old days of promiscuity or currently via this blog). When there is no one else to tell me I’m doing a good thing, I stop doing it no matter how beneficial it is to me or how much I enjoy it. I stifle me. I cling to the branches of someone else’s decision tree and attempt to force them to tell me which way to climb.

Following someone else’s decision tree guarantees I won’t be happy with what I do, nor will I be happy with the end result.

If this is true (and I know it is), then when have I ever practiced setting a goal for myself? One that I want to reach, one that would give me satisfaction both in the doing and in the result?

I remember a goal from high school. I wanted a top grade of 5 on my art portfolio – I wanted the Gold Key Award for Art. My teacher encouraged me, but I wanted it for myself. I put in the hours and produced the portfolio. I received the grade of 5 and the award.

Another goal from high school was to bench press 150% of my body weight. I did that on more than one occasion.

Another goal was to graduate Basic Training and distinguish myself in the Army. I graduated BT, received two promotions for being the top student in two different schools, received my third promotion in an unexpectedly short time, received the expert markmanship badge for the M50, and received one Army Achievement Award for other contributions to the service. I did all of that in 30 months before chaptering out honorably due to pregnancy.

Reaching those goals required self-discipline and the drive to meet the mini goals within each accomplishment. I didn’t struggle to meet those goals, I reveled in the challenge. So aren’t my statements saying “I am undisciplined and struggle to meet goals” and “I do not know how to set goals worth reaching”  wrong?

Really, those two beliefs follow lock-step with things I’ve heard Will tell me for the past 17 years. I’ve let what he’s told me become my reality. And because I’ve attempted to do things to please him instead of myself, the statements “my goals are unimportant” and “what I want is unimportant” readily infiltrated my thinking.

My thinking began to change when I married Will. No, that isn’t entirely true.

Elements of this stinking thinking are evident before marrying Will, but I somehow overcame them (at least partially if not entirely). Or maybe my parents didn’t direct me in any certain way so what I did to try to please them aligned more directly with what I wanted for myself.

Will “directed” me. He, unlike my parents, tells me what I am and what I should be doing. He is willing to define me.

Perhaps, when I met Will, I liked how easy he made it for me. Do this, be that, need this, want that…. In a way, he made my job (pleasing someone in return for their love) easy. I’ve said it before, but in the beginning, Will gave me the gift I thought I wanted.

Will reinforced the negative thoughts I hold of me. What may have been tiny flaws in my thinking have become magnified over 17 years. Because HE seems to believe them and a part of me agrees, these once small flaws amplified into huge problems.

My thinking didn’t begin to change when I met Will. My negative, habitual thinking was amplified when I met Will.

At least I have identified some of the subconscious thinking. I’ve also got a pretty good idea of what helped to make the negative subconscious thoughts habitual. I’ll leave it to the next post to try to unravel how to retrain my thinking.