I have spent an inordinate amount of time explaining my thoughts,dreams and behavior.
This would be great if the persons I was struggling to communicate with gave a shit. More often than not they didn’t.
When you are in a family that either doesn’t get you or more appropriately refuses to adjust their parenting style and the way they interact with you (which everyone has had an experience of), it becomes very easy and seductive to abandon ourselves and disturbingly begin to make deals to prevent pain and ridicule.
This also limits our ability to really “live”.
What begins early and often in our childhood quickly becomes our personality and then ultimately the way that we operate in the world.
For years, I have kept myself at a crushingly low financial level.
Primarily, it has gone on because of buying into the perception and ill set of beliefs that state : artist= poor and struggling.
Interestingly, I chose not to pick up another popular myth disguised as truth : artist=chemically addicted.
In each case, I either took on or dismissed my parents’ beliefs regarding what artists and their lives consisted of although neither of them are artists nor have any artistic friends to legitimize their claims.
In both extremes the deal that I made with myself was one that left me limited in scope,resentful,frightened and with few productive life choices.
As much as I wanted to resist this limiting and pointless declaration of what life as an artist looks like,I found it very comforting and soon it became comfortable and “just the way things were”.
If I could create worlds and all sorts of possibilities,why couldn’t I create an existence that I enjoyed and brought me great pleasure ?
This is the epitome of making deals with ourselves.
Part of this process involves (is anchored) in the belief that what we want doesn’t matter and that someone or something or some situation knows better.
A true recipe for disaster.
At a recent eye-opening and paradigm shifting tour of an institution dedicated to mental health, it was pointed out that the best set of resources you can offer any person struggling with mental illness is the encouragement that their vision for their life and its subsequent desires and goals are what matters most.
It is difficult to move forward if we believe our desires and thinking don’t matter.
Part of making deals with ourselves involves a whole lot of agreeing to things that make us squirm emotionally. Even when agreeing to things that make us uncomfortable,we somehow justify our behavior by secretly telling ourselves : I’ll choose later/better the next time /it doesn’t matter he/she/they don’t know any better.
While this may prevent a psychotic outbreak and ample opportunity to go completely postal,a very significant part of us dies a little.
We have betrayed ourselves in the most hurtful and poignant way and are now in a position to distrust our thoughts.
If we can’t trust our thinking,we limit our imagination.
This is always the first thing to go when we are adjusting our expectations by sharing them with people who either find them pointless or are unable to assist us in achieving them.
How do we prevent this or recognize when the impulse is upon us ?
First, we should know that to some extent we are all guilty of this heinous behavior and that anybody who isn’t is probably more often than not referred to as an asshole or selfish and difficult.
It always amazes me that people get stifled and become afraid of being labeled selfish and that this term is only spewed when someone doesn’t want to fulfill a request.
Nobody ever refers to someone as selfish when they are eagerly agreeing to help.
Recognize that refusing to make a deal or pimp yourself will get a whole lot of stares based on:Who does she think she is?
Second, recognize that deal making does awful things to your psyche and your friendships.
Two years ago I struggled to prevent the onset of homelessness. It occurred anyway.
The deals I made with myself were beyond wacky.
My internal deal making really challenged my friends and almost cost me some serious friendships.
Because of the deals I made (that it was a mistake moving to California, maybe I wasn’t that talented, I was brought here under false pretense, my life in NYC was so much better and magical) I found myself desperate for attention and the need to be seen.
The key element in making these ridiculous deals is that they are always created in a most reactive way. Culturally sanctioned and familially supported, our deal making gives us the false impression that we are in control and yet our thinking has stopped and our brains have ceased to do any processing or looking for a batch of fresh solutions.
We are simply reacting and devising solutions that will get us “liked” by whoever is in charge this week.