As I worked the label machine this week, I noticed something important beneath the labels: self-image. My self-image choices control which labels are available for my experiences.
If I feel at risk, my experience of vulnerability might be limited to the labels of fear or anger.
If my self-image is stronger, vulnerability becomes just that, an experience of humanity, but not a source of anxiety.
And, yet, the need to “run” the machine and “label” my emotional experiences to make them more productive and less fearful seems like camouflage for something deeper.
What if the need to label was just my “subby” running the old programming and unwilling to be interrupted? My subconscious gives me the appearance of conscious control without relinquishing control at all. AARGH!
What if the need to label instead of just experience in the present moment was a defense mechanism?
I listened to a professional coach today who opined that change is a function of 3 factors:
• Awareness and
As I pondered this, it struck me that I often substitute “relabeling” for active listening. Real listening, being completely present, requires a lot less recapitulation and is much more beneficial.
The path to beneficial listening and life experience? For me, love. Love for self, primarily, and love for the people with whom I interact. As in Mandino’s Scroll 2, I can use love as a shield if I need to, but I can usually cast it aside in a posture of acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness, living the law of least effort.
Thus, combining the law of love with the law of least effort allows the experience of vulnerability without any sense of risk.
As I processed this, I felt liberated. The chains of unnecessary control over the language of my experiences began to fall away. With them, the needs to judge, evaluate and control began to fade, too.
I could see another layer to the “opinion” diet. Rewording the ideas and concepts of others was a really good way to keep the opinion machine cranking while seeming to appear caring and concerned. That was a “win win” for the old blueprint. Oops!
Another idea the coach expressed was about time. He opined that “subby” doesn’t know time, just like it doesn’t know size. Uh-oh! That can’t be true, can it? You mean it doesn’t have to take a long time to transform? Oh, no! All my excuses are crap!
This is me laughing at myself as Mandino recommends in Scroll 8. I was definitely taking myself way too seriously!
Biggest benefit this week: without the burdens of opinion, defense and judgment, I’m a lot lighter on my feet as I dance through life.
I’m glad you’re dancing with me.by