From the monthly archives:

October 2009

My defining traits

by Henk ter Heide on Sunday October 18, 2009

in Personal

I came across a post by Steve Pavlina about this guy who has a site about deprogramming limiting beliefs in about 20 minutes.
Normally I wouldn’t have given much stock to somebody with such a claim. But coming from Steve Pavlina there must be something to it. So I went to have a look.

In his first video he talks about his defining trait. Perseverance. His ability to overcome all sorts of obstacles.
He found that the problem with perseverance was that he needed obstacles to show his perseverance. So he was always looking for them.

That made me think about my defining trait.
I’m very intelligent. I can solve every problem that you through at me. And people through a lot of problems to me. Actually I spend my life solving problems.
Only thing is that when I looked a little closer it turns out that a lot of the problems I think about aren’t really my problems.

Looking even closer I found that I don’t actually solve anything. I only explain problems. Then a fantasize about telling people about my solution and then I move on to the next problem.
That’s why this website is much more about what I want to do and what I’m thinking about then about what I’m actually doing.

In the next video Morty Lefkoe examines the history of your beliefs and has you thinking back about what it was that people actually said that gave you this belief and whether your interpretation of what they said was correct.
So what did people say?
My parents, teachers and counselor at my boardinghouse all gave me the impression that there must be something special about me that was the cause of the fact that I couldn’t do certain things. The only thing was that they didn’t belief me. They made me feel that if I could only explain the difference they would belief me.

At least that was my interpretation back then.
But thinking about it a bit more I remember a teacher who told me that I could do things my own way but he wouldn´t not help me because he didn´t understand what I was doing.

I´ve always been very strong willed and prone to do things my own way. Partly out of necessity. Being autistic and gay there are some things I can´t do the way you do them. But also out of fun. What is the fun in doing things the same way everybody else does them?
So of course I’ve been criticized a lot. But not by ill willed people trying the spite me but by helpful people who just didn’t understand what I was doing.

I think it’s only in the last ten years or so that I learned to belief that explaining a problem is the same as solving it.
I’m not yet quite sure how I got this belief but I’m glad I disproved it. Because it frees up a lot of energy I can use to do a lot of things I’ve been planning for ages but never got around to.


Here and now

by Henk ter Heide on Wednesday October 14, 2009

in Personal

Sometimes it helps to look at something from a different perspective.

For the last 30 odd years I’ve been trying to get rid of my (at times) very annoying habit of talking to myself.
Not only by will power but also by trying to figure out why I did it and what the purpose might be.
At times I succeeded to not talk to my self for a few hours. But it always came back.

A few weeks ago my manager called me stubborn behind my back. Very loudly behind my back.
I didn’t mined that much because being called stubborn is only one mans judgment.
Being strong willed and being stubborn is actually the same thing. Both means that you have the power to overcome obstacles you find on your way. In the case of stubborn the person setting those obstacles will call you stubborn. (Usually because he doesn’t agree with the way you live your life.)

But thinking about it a little longer I realized that there is a difference in being strong willed and being stubborn. But the difference isn’t in your actions but in the way you present yourself.
A strong willed person will be very calm and composed. Where as a stubborn person is loud and argumentative.

I act stubborn. And I do that because I always are afraid because of all those people criticizing me.
That is.
When I thought about it I realized that there is actually nobody criticizing me. Except in my mind.

A few days ago I realized that I am constantly imagining people who are criticizing me. And I’m constantly defending myself from those imaginable people.
All those imaginable people who are criticizing me frighten me a lot. So why would I do that?

This morning I finally figured it out.
Because of my visual thinking process I can imagine myself somewhere else then I’m right now. That other place feels very real. Actually far more real then the place where I am right now.

So for instance, at the moment bicycling is fairly frightening because of the fact that I fell and broke my hip last year. At the moment I’m again learning how to keep balance.
When I cycling to work I feel very scared. So I imagine that I’m in the office of my manager being chewed out for something I did wrong.
That feels so real that I don’t feel the fear from cycling anymore.
But of course I have to imagine something my manager could be angry about and get frightened of that imaginary problem.
In the end that gets me more frightened that just concentrating on cycling.

So you might ask why did I ever learn a trick that made me more frightened then I would have been just going about my way.
And the answer is that I didn’t.
Originally I would imagine someplace nice I could visit if I wanted to flee reality. That worked perfectly for years. It only had one big drawback namely that it was very distracting.
I remember days passing without me. At 10 AM I would flee reality and next it would be 11 PM and apparently I just sat there for hours on end.

So about 20 years ago I tried to loose that habit but because I didn’t understand why I did it I only replaced it by an other habit that wasn’t as distracting but far more annoying.

So now I know.

This morning I realized that I should concentrate on reality. On living in the here and the now.
Today, for the first time in my life, I had a day without talking to myself and without fleeing reality.
It felt both very nice and as though I was doing some very heavy lifting.

Clearly this isn’t something that will just go on it’s own. I’ll have to fight for it.
But since it’s also clear that fleeing reality causes more fear then it curbs. And not fleeing reality actually helps against the anxiety attics I’m optimistic.