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A Stuck Will-Power Gear

Updated on June 25, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

Self-Sabotaging Seems to Be a Widespread Passion
Self-Sabotaging Seems to Be a Widespread Passion

Downplaying Our Good Intentions

In my relatively long life I have met a few individuals with a questionable coherence, however most of those were just alcoholics with their pickled brains. Other than those few, all were more or less capable of putting two and two together - but it's also those that made me question the capacity of humans to do what they know is best for them.

Now, before some of you start looking for symptoms of perfectionism in my article, let me assure you that I have no such tendencies to expect people to act like some geniuses. And yet, without my attempts to sound convincing, you will probably agree that so many folks are acting as if a gear is stuck in their will-power transmission box.

Folks Generally Don't Follow Their Own Wisdom
Folks Generally Don't Follow Their Own Wisdom

Not Really Following a Bliss

Talk with just about anyone these days, and notice a pretty solid understanding of the basics of life in them. Even teenagers may surprise you with an insight that's probably resulting from their attachment to their electronic devices while being exposed to information that we, old-timers didn't have an advantage of.

Many folks will go as far as parade with an impressive level of wisdom or education, and all that may look plausible enough - until you take a peek into their private affairs. That's where you may find this incredible discrepancy between all that smartness and proud looks - and what it has to show for in terms of happiness, relationships, and a sound effectiveness in the way they generally function in life.

Why Are We Prone to Settling for Less?

To drop in just a little example of this dysfunctional reasoning, here we have our strange way of seeing and choosing our leaders. How many of us seem to be "in business" of bitching about our politicians, current leaders, or presidential candidates - only to end up giving our vote to a yo-yo who only seems like the one who may at least do the least damage.

For some strange reason we settle. Why? Why was Bush Junior elected twice, after clearly showing at the middle of his first term that he was not cut to make a speech, let alone lead the country through some hard times?

Think about it. A president that is these days proclaimed as the "worst president in American history" - got elected twice, instead of having been impeached during his first term. Why are people working against themselves?

Catch That Little Demon at Work
Catch That Little Demon at Work

That Little Demon in Us

Indeed, what is it in us that is willing to settle for less?

"I know, I should have married John, not Steve, but don't ask me why I didn't, because I don't know it myself". Sounds familiar? So often, it's like we are under a spell to do exactly the opposite from what was in our best interests.

There seems to be that invisible sabotaging little demon lurking from the dark corners of our soul and throwing sticks into our gears, making us settle for "whatever seems to be a good idea at the time."

Governments, and medical profession, and skilled advertisers, and convincing lovers...everybody can apparently take us for a ride, and for no reason that we could put a finger on - our life sucks one way or another. What's going on?

How About Uniting Inside?
How About Uniting Inside?

Inner Conflict of Tendencies

Maybe it's time for us to ask that uncomfortable question : "What do we really have against ourselves - and who back there inspired us for it". There is obviously an inner "spoiler" hidden in our emotional makeup; so every time "one-in-us" goes hot about something or someone, the "other-in-us" does its very best to thwart it somehow, making us constantly run our life in our low gear.

Now, now, it's only a figure of speech, and I didn't really mean anything like a "split personality". And neither was I suggesting that you seek services of an exorcist to kick some demons' asses out of you.

It's all just an inner conflict of tendencies caused by an early childhood bug implanted into our little impressionable heads with those words : "You are good for nothing" - or anything along those lines. You pick the version that rings the bell for you.

Inner Conflicts Regularly Compute a Crappy Result
Inner Conflicts Regularly Compute a Crappy Result

What a Silly Unconscious Computation

So we want to lose weight, and we are doing great the first couple of days, maybe even longer - only to slip back in a miserable defeat. Then we may be wondering - how could we mobilize all that will-power for those initial few days, and where did it suddenly go?

After all, we are still of the same opinion that we want to lose weight. Well, believe it or not, we are actually scared of success, and that's why we are bound to "abort the mission". You see, to the reasoning of our subconscious mind, the prophecy of that sabotaging voice has to be fulfilled.

It's that voice echoing our parents' verdict about our being "good for nothing". Let us not forget, that voice belongs to someone on whom our life used to depend, and so it got to become an important component of our very survival arsenal. In effect, it's telling us : "It's wrong for your survival to succeed". Can you see the (silly) connection?

Braking while up the Steep of Success---a Bad Idea
Braking while up the Steep of Success---a Bad Idea

Scared of Success

I am not kidding you, folks, we are scared to anger that authority in us by acting opposite from its prediction, so we are taking a "low profile in life". The science of hypnotism, with conditioning being its important part is telling us that we may be programmed to do things that are contrary to our beliefs and our best interests.

Somewhat similar mechanism is at work at compulsive behavior, when we wash our hands hundred times a day, or we step over every crack on the sidewalk, or we re-check, and re-check if the door is properly locked while leaving the house.

That's how we unconsciously block that gear in our mind that's supposed to take us from here to there in our good intentions. It seems to be stronger than us, and after a while we even don't try to go beyond the authority of that misleading voice.

Getting Unstuck

Now, is it possible to get unstuck from that childhood spell? Of course it is, and it's definitely much easier than our shrink would want us to believe. Indeed, if it was up to him, we would be stuck re-examining our age of pre-toilet training to find out why we peed into diapers.

Some things we simply outgrow, and so we can outgrow those counterproductive remarks from our parents about our value. Some ninety percent of success in yanking ourselves out of that spell is in the simple realization about the true nature of their prediction.

We have to start seeing it as nothing more than our diapers that we outgrew. There is no need to "struggle" with a tendency to wear diapers. It's all nonsensical, and in a sense almost silly to prolong obeying our parents' predictions. After all, we don't agree with some other opinions of our aging parents - why would we hold on that one?

Parents Beat on Their Own Inner Child by Being Tough on Their Chilldren
Parents Beat on Their Own Inner Child by Being Tough on Their Chilldren

The Truth Behind Those Belittling Remarks

This could be a good time to learn something about our parents' belittling remarks. Did you know that we generally treat out children, even our pets the same way that we are treating our inner child?

When we act over-demanding and critical towards that kid in us, we tend to project that treatment onto those who by their appearance remind us the most of him or her. Look how many parents are pushing their kids into some exhaustive training, or playing an instrument, or qualifying for a beauty pageant, or excelling in education - just to fulfill their own missed ambitions.

Thus, when our parents were being too critical, or "mean", or ridiculing towards us, that didn't mean that we were the ones who "deserved" it - but they were mistreating their own inner child and only projecting it on us.

Of course, they didn't know what they were doing, it all came so spontaneous and somehow "necessary" and unconsciously generated, that they were not aware about their doing it to us while doing it to themselves.

We Can Snap Out of It
We Can Snap Out of It

Breaking the Spell

It often helps using some simple metaphoric illustrations of what we do to ourselves unconsciously, in order to drop it once and for all. Namely, it's necessary to make a sharp distinction between our actual abilities and our subconscious blockages of those abilities which are trying to suggest "dis-abilities".

You know that you are perfectly capable of drinking a glass of water or whatever. Now, if someone succeeded to persuade you to spill it just before the glass reaches your lips, you might obey that for a while, all along knowing that you can do it.

It's the same with being functional and successful in life and not settling for less than you deserve. So, the whole trick of blasting that childhood spell is in two parts ; one in realizing that parents were doing it to themselves, not to you; and the other in seeing through the nonsense of believing in an inability to do something that is humanly possible and probably doesn't even take any effort.

Move On

Indeed, what is more natural than just shake it off from our emotionality and move on in life, not wasting any more time on the nonsense. Remember the time when you misplaced your car keys, frantically searching and cursing your "being insane" for misplacing them?

Then you found them, and what did you mentally do right after? Did you take the "trauma of the experience" into everything that you did for the rest of that day? Of course not. You just moved on, doing your best to leave the whole nonsense behind.

Likewise, don't "honor" those childhood incidents any longer by giving them any importance in your life. Move on. It's such a relief going wisely about it and ignoring it together with your toilet training. We just can't afford to stay emotionally stuck in the past.

Let Us Pay Our Dues to Our Life

There is so much fun that we owe to our life!

So much gutsy exploring of opportunities which will all become obvious once that we are willing to see them. So, let's dress up for success, go places, surprise everybody who knows us with a brand new-ourselves!

Let's enjoy this new-found freedom and tear down the cobweb of reluctance and self-doubt! Let's blow the dust of our self-esteem and polish it until it shines! Of course, you can choose to see all this as a pep-talk, but really, how does a genuine encouragement and support look different, if it has to use the same words.

The moment you start doubting, ask yourself "what in you" is doing that doubting, and grow beyond it. You may be one of those many who owe it to their life - to once and for all break loose from that inner spell. And if you are - you are not alone.

Can you imagine how different the whole world would be if everybody was content with themselves? Well, we don't have to wait until this personal liberation becomes a trend. It's too sweet to be left for tomorrow.


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    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      John - In my opinion, the craze of the electronic devices is a matter of de-personalization of socializing and generally human contacts. I-pod and cell phone are "friends and teachers without faces", which allow us to feel relaxed and safe and powerful with that one finger which can remove them any time we wish.

      And we don't have to act, speak, show any emotion, because texting is so impersonal and robotic. You may see two kids sitting beside each other and text, instead of talking.

      Is it "bad"? We don't know, John. Humans are evolving rapidly these last decades, and maybe our kind of communicating, using handwriting, being more emotional over our games and interacting has to change.

      Maybe people of new generations will be less emotional, or reduce emotionalism to only some forms of interacting. I don't know, but I am not willing to jump the gun and call it "bad". After all, we were quite different than our old folks, weren't we?

      As for politicians, maybe newer generations will also outgrow these animalistic tendencies of greed for power - as a part of this reduced emotionalism which is to keep our brain's amygdala "cooler" and less in use. Maybe some day they will have only something like "public officials" doing their job, who will get fired like anyone else if they are not working for the benefit of everyone.

      Who knows, but I do have such feeling that our grandkids, or their kids will be too "cool" to bother with the crazy power-race what we are having today, plus this neurotic retaliationism dragging its tail since before WW2. Who knows, John. If you ask me, yes, these kids look strange, but maybe they are announcing a new era and we can't recognize it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 15 months ago from Queensland Australia

      So many truths within your words, Val. Why can't more of us see the truth? We do seem to find every obstacle possible to help us in our striving to fail. Where do we lay the blame on our young people today, is it us, the parents and grandparents who allow them to spend all their time using electronic gadgets, smartphones, games machines etc. In fact, many of the older generation are now embracing those things themselves. Or is it the fault of our leaders and politicians who shape our values and societies?

      I know my own grandchildren are given iPads etc at around three years of age to entertain them and act as almost robot babysitters. The parents argument is that they are educational. In my childhood going outside, exploring, interacting with other children, using your imagination to play physical games, etc was educational.

      Yes, why do we continually complain about the politicians and political parties in power, and the majority of us vote for them, again? I don't trust any political party to do the right thing by the majority of the people. Sometimes an individual politician may have good morals and an intent to make the world a better place, but as soon as they become part of a party they need to toe the line, and their ethics and morals fade into the background if not disappearing altogether.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Reynold - I was born and raised in a communist regime, and that's where I developed my political cynicism - I don't trust politicians. To me they are a bunch of careerists catering to those richest and most influential. Governments lie, or they keep most of their secret works "classified" - under one or another excuse. I have no education to understand economy, and I am only economizing with my own vital and nervous energy, meaning that - what I can't change - I won't lose a nerve over it.

      Kids are still having a royal life comparing to us baby-boomers, especially us who had to emigrate and adjust to a whole different world. I wish the world was less greedy and arrogant, but again, my love for mankind doesn't go that far that I would suffer because of human stupidity.

      I certainly agree with your thoughts, Reynold. Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do about it but be upset.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 15 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Yes-to all you say above!!!! The kids have little understanding of the world they are born into. For example tuition was $45 per semester:"Take all the classes you wish" and used textbooks were $10. The government got involved and offered the 1.1 Trillion in loans and now the poor kids start $100, 000 or so in the hole and can't find a job. It need not be that way with proper leaders. All the colleges around here love the money and are busy building $6 million dollar buildings every year.

      My thought is that politian's should be required to take a curse in economics!

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Reynold - I absolutely agree. Would you also contend that these are the times of different family values, with parents being too busy with their lives and letting the kids find their own world in these electronic gadgets?

      After all, we know that kids are not "born" this or that way - we make them as they are, or we allow the street to make them that way. When we fail to be the first and most trusted friends to our kids, they don't bother looking further for "parental figures" in political leaders, they just don't care, as long as someone is providing for them.

      Then that attitude stretches into their thirties, as they never learned to cut that umbilical cord.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Lela - You got it. The question remains whether we should hold responsible all those who are selling us snake oil, or ourselves for buying the crap. As long as there is a market, there will be an ample supply of crap in all garden varieties, from religious to political to family, feel welcome to name any others.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 15 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Lots of good rational thoughts in this one. I ( a senior) calculate that the younger individuals are born into a world with all these gadgets, poor economy etc. and simply do not understand that it could be very different with proper leaders. It never occurs to them that they could do well without cell phones, etc. Now the norm is to live with parents well into their 30's ...Yep--that is how it is done... Oh well!!!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 15 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

      My theory is that not only are we scared of success, we feel like we don't deserve success because most of us are programmed (indoctrinated) from birth to believe we are born sinners and we must atone for these alleged sins for our entire life.

      Guess where this notion comes from?

      Once a person throws off the yoke of self punishment or religion, they can accomplish anything!