Saturday, 7 March 2009

FEAR OF THE CLIFF EDGE!!!! and how to learn to like ourselves

I am aware, in writing this that there are a complete myriad of experiences that I'm skipping over, that can affect an individual to lower their self esteem. But this is a blog post,not a chapter of my book, so please forgive me, for not stopping at any one point. There is too much to say and I want you to want to read this, and not collapse with the effort of reading too much in a post!

Please vote for me, the box to hit is at the top of my side bar, you can vote every 24 hours, that school in Mozambique needs a roof RIGHT! At the moment I'm third, I need to be top to help raise funds!

Have you ever stood at the edge of a cliff, and been scared that if you took another step forward that you would fall of the edge and smash on the rocks below?
And sometimes a braver soul than us takes that step forward, and we realise that there is another ledge, and that us believing it was a sheer drop was wrong, and that actually there is a path down the cliff to a wonderful little cove at the bottom. One where the sea is clear, the beach is fine sand, and it is ours for the duration, as everyone else stands at the top being frightened of taking that first step into the unknown.

This is what I do in my job, I take people by the emotional hand, and take them over the edge of their fear, to prove there is nothing to be frightened of, except fear itself. That, when we face what it is we are scared of that our fears are groundless. That those fears have come about because of the stories we have believed about ourselves.

The stories make up our personal history. Whether they are good or bad doesn't matter. It doesn't matter whether we have been taught them by someone else, or if we have made the stories up for ourselves. They are what we believe, and we act according to how the stories dictate we should behave. This for the people who come to see me, are usually stories that have a detrimental effect on them.

People who have a positive outlook on life and have a healthy self esteem, only occasionally pass through my door, when a life event has knocked them off their confident spot for a moment. So I'm not talking about them.

I'm talking about the people who are hooked into self hate. The sort of self hate that makes us believe that we can't ever feel any differently about ourselves. That we aren't worth anything. That everyone else is happier, more confident,copes better than we do. And on and on and on......

The people, who self hate believe the worst of themselves, whilst viewing others in really wonky spectacles that have them believing that the others all are all confident and coping.... yeah right! As if that view is the correct one.

It is this deluded belief, that keeps people trapped at the top of the cliff. They can't move forward because of fear, they know they can't go backwards, so they stay there, like rabbits trapped in the headlights, hating themselves and envying others.

The point is, we can change our views about ourselves, we do not have to keep playing the same old record over and over again, so perpetuating the same self hate.
We can learn to see the world through more balanced specs, ones that show us that we are equal to others, not lessor beings, equal ones.

When a child is born, all they want is to be loved, cared for and cherished. They get this in the first instance by crying to get their needs met, feeding, changing burping. And very quickly the baby learns to show their appreciation of that love, by gurgling and smiling at the contact with their parent. At around the age of two the child is still wanting those same needs to be met, but is having a temper tantrum in the supermarket wanting sweeties, and wanting them NOW!! What we have been taught and what we teach others is that if we 'behave' then we can have the sweeties later.

Prior to this age the child is incapable of learning logical rational thought, their lives have been taken up with learning to walk, talk feed themselves etc. But at the point of the temper tantrum, they have enough brain space to start learning how society wants them to behave. As in British society; don't be a baby, act your age, don't cry and so on. These messages come thick and fast from our parents, teachers and our peer group. And so we learn to not show our feelings, we learn to work within the constraints of the society we belong to. But what doesn't happen is we don't loose these feelings, we just learn to hide them.

As small children we also want to belong, so most small children at some point tell their parents they are going to marry them when they grow up. Then when the children go to school, they want to belong to another group. This is where peer pressure comes in, and to be part of the gang is vital; the child must have the right trainers, watch the right TV shows or whatever initiation rights are deemed correct, for admittance to this precious gang.

Once we become adults, we may have stopped having to watch the same programmes as everyone else, we may choose what to wear, without having to comply to the gang uniform, but we hook into still being wrong. And we do this in our feelings.
Someone is always there to tell us what to feel, and if we have any self doubts we hook into their being right, which must in turn, make us wrong.

It is our wrongness that increases the self hate, that belief system that says our feelings are wrong. My response to that is to say BULLSHIT! Our feelings are unique to us and therefore cannot be wrong. Just ask yourself what did you eat for your last meal and ask a mate what they ate.... why didn't you have the same as them, cause you're YOU and you can make choices about what you eat, what you wear, what religious beliefs you may hold, what your political persuasion is, and you do all of these by making your own mind up.

So why on earth are your feelings wrong? Who's feelings are they? How does anyone know what is going on inside you? Who has the right to make you feel differently?
Answer NO-ONE!!! Your feelings are yours, just as you made the choice of what to eat for breakfast, your feelings and responses are yours and yours alone.

And once anyone starts knowing that it is the first step into a healthy self esteem and the place of self cherishing and loving that we all need to have for ourselves.

We are all okay, we really are. And even though there are always tough emotional times in any life, if we have a a belief in the rightness and equality of ourselves, in relation to others, then we can start to not beat ourselves up for not being like others. Cause the biggest secret going here is that all those 'successful' people are running scared to, they just might not be doing it at the same moment that you are!

I'm not setting myself up here as someone who is above all of this stuff at all. I know most of it cause I am me. I know what it feels like to self hate, and it has been my determination not to stay in that place, that makes me know what I know now.And even more importantly for me to have learned to on the whole like myself.

Cause if we learn to like ourselves, then we cannot destroy ourselves. This a great inspirational site, which weirdly today echoes what I've written about. The collective unconscious at work again perhaps?


BenefitScroungingScum said...

Just voted! Great post, I'm about to send it to a non blog friend who I think will really appreciate it today. Love to you FB, BG x

Angela said...

I wish everybody would read this, dear Fire Byrd, risen from the Ashes! You know what you are talking about, so you are not giving a lecture, but share what you have been through. And as you have found a way down the cliff, so can everyone who is just giving it a try.
You are doing something really good here, Mandy. I hope you will soon publish your book, too! But maybe blog posts reach even more readers?

lakeviewer said...

Oh yes. I can park and sit here for a while. Well said.

Trixie said...

LOVE the last line! And yes, I'm learning to love myself x.

Thank you soooo much for the book, arrived a couple of days ago and thoroughly enjoying it. I've already got someone in mind to pass it on to.

Off to vote again now!

e said...

Amen, FB! I especially wish more women understood this!

Val said...

thank you FB for all the effort you have put into this important post. It makes so much sense, but that leap of faith is so hard for so many and i empathise too.
Theres another quote from somewhere that says 'dont waste a good life as a slave to fear' or words to that effect.
oh and voted again - thanks for all you are doing for the school roof!
am looking forward to your book! xx

Ronjazz said...

My God, I could write an entire essay on this subject. So much of this is what I do on a daily basis... getting to the edge of the cliff...surveying the horizon to see what's there... making the decision to jump...and then after jumping, what in the hell do I do now... and in the meantime, I have feelings about myself, about the matter at hand, about possible solutions to the problem, etc. It is, part and parcel, living in the intensity of my own outlook on take those risks, you reach out to whomever might reach back and you learn from each other. The real problem is not in our feelings...we cannot and should not apologize for them... but the problem lies in how we react to them, to the moment at hand, to the influence of others. It is damned hard to be your own's even harder to offer yourself the, the obligation to share yourself with others in this way.

Thank you, FB. You are quite a light...:)

Robbin'sMama said...

Great blog. I voted yesterday and today.

Merry ME said...

I feel the need to shout out Halleluia! or Amen. Not because it's Sunday, but because you said some important stuff really well. Just when I think I'm ready to fly I look over the edge of the cliff and gulp! Who knew there was a path to the sea?

P.S. I just voted.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Brilliant post, FireByrd - so very, very true, every word of it. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt - amen, sister Phoenix!

trousers said...

I've read this and shed a few tears. Both of which clearly needed to be done.


miss*R said...

wonderful post as usual... I think I am like you.. sometimes I self hate but most times I can pull myself up & out of it. (am sending a short email about this)

I love Daily OM! have been subscribing for a few years now and it never ceases to amaze me how perfect each one is for me at that time.

Mel said...

Yup....definitely the collective at work.

Quite a humbling 'job' to do, eh? But when one is 'called' to deliver the message, one is 'called'.

You delivered it well, dearheart.
Very well.

Amen AND Hallelujah!

Salacious Soul said...

Awesome post. Love your work!

Pam said...

Calling in again to vote...great words here Byrd x

hele said...

what a beautiful reminder*

Reya Mellicker said...

I sure wish my ex-husband was sitting on your couch right this second. He sees a sheer cliff, and frankly, if he jumps, it will be to his death. He tried twice last week, isn't feeling any more interested in sticking around even having been rescued twice.

Do you know the Fool card from the tarot? It encapsulates your thoughts perfectly.

Thanks for this. It really helps.

karen said...

FB, what a lovely message to us all..touches a chord somewhere!
I've gradually read most of your blog-draft book, and have found it most inspiring... xx

Lori ann said...

A wonderful post. And an always appropriate message. I'm sure you help more than you know with your wise words.
xx lori

e said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog today. I'm off to the orthotist for a fitting. Have a wonderful day. Voted several times now. Take Care.

Sage said...

Thank you...

e said...

FB--You are most welcome. I voted again today. I wish you a fabulous rest of the week.

Barbara said...

I'll bet you are very good at what you do. I would trust you completely.

Walker said...

Great post
QA person has to confront their fears or they will never grow in any direction.
Oersonally i just jump off the cliff to see how far i can bounce.