• Dave Hoefer

Stop Beating Yourself Up

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

Quite likely, the most profound aspect of the human condition is that our pre-frontal cortex, as well as the rest of our brain, literally takes twenty-five to thirty years to fully develop. Infants easily assimilate the feelings of a callous adult, they are easily frightened and their interpretations of the world can be fanciful. As we develop, our minds become much more focused, directed and powerfully rational. The irrational beliefs we develop in infancy, “I have no value or substance. “ “I’m unlovable, flawed and defective.” reinforce themselves through-out our lives through our own reactions to avoid these fears. As we mature, we increasingly rely on our logical mind to “re-condition” ourselves, so to speak – to counter our illogical and inhibiting thoughts.

The problem is as we’ve seen – beliefs are self-reinforcing. The more you do to prove, disprove or evade a belief the more you reinforce it. For example: Why would I try to demonstrate that I was worthwhile if I didn’t already believe that I wasn’t?

The other problem is that whatever you do to counter your negative feeling also becomes self-reinforcing. If you believe for example, that buying a latté will alleviate your feeling – it will. If you believe some “bad” action that you felt compelled to do for whatever reason, affirms your basic negativity – it does. So added to the confusion of ever working through your childhood wounding, everything you do to feel better about yourself supports your belief that what you have just done is necessary and even beneficial.

The solution is counter-intuitive – to embrace all of the feelings, beliefs, and reactions that you have been trying to counter-act all of your life, and allow them to lead you back to the original trauma and the formation of your self-defeating, conditioning.

You cannot logic your way out of irrationality, but as you begin observing yourself, doing what you do and seeing why you do it, many things occur:

1. You begin desensitizing to your terrible fear, “I’m unlovable and unworthy.”

2. You stop reinforcing your irrational beliefs with your reactions to them.

3. You gain understanding as to how your dilemma came into being and perpetuates itself.

4. Your self defeating beliefs begin to fade to the point that you cannot re-identify with them – even if you try.

Becoming the observer of your own dynamic is very much like conducting a scientific experiment to discover how a group of compounds interact under different conditions. You have to become impartial as to what you have become and am becoming so that you can understand what has and is affecting you. Once you see how what you have been doing to cope, reinforces the dynamic you are caught in – you stop supporting it. Without reinforcement, the irrational beliefs you formed in infancy, as well as the life-long conditioning associated with them, fade and become irrelevant.

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