I like Miley Cyrus’s stance on taking charge of her own sexuality, of who she is. You can read her own words here. She’s talking about defining herself and yes it’s true that teenagers and twenty somethings naturally do this but it’s also true that many 30, 40, 50, and 60 somethings are still trying to do this. So who are you really?
You are someone who needs to do the work to both define and design who you want to be becoming.
It’s about working on what I call your Inner Architecture™ the structure of who you are.
Because when people really start being honest with themselves they realise that the quick fix promises of NLP, coaching and most therapy that “you have all the resources you need” just isn’t true. It may be comforting to be told that, it may make you feel good as a temporary bolster to your self esteem but when you’ve done the NLP training or coaching or therapy and while you have gained some skills you are still fundamentally you. And because you are fundamentally you, you have the problems YOU have.
It’s the same idea that was prevalent in the 1960’s where people went to India to “find themselves”. Of course the realisation most had was they still had the problems they had hoped to leave behind because they had taken themselves with them. The value of going to a radically different culture is it makes visible your culture to you that’s normally invisible. There’s a Zen cartoon that I’ve always loved of two fishes swimming along side by side and one fish is saying to the other fish: “What’s this thing called water then?” This is what the experience of being in a radically different culture does to you it makes visible all the invisible things in your life - so why is this valuable to you?
You live in an Internal Architecture that you have partially constructed but that’s also been constructed or co-constructed by your family, your friends, people you went to school, college, university with, the people you’ve worked with. You’ve taken on their ideas and built your reality or the internal architecture of that reality with those ideas.
This is so normal that we don’t know we’re doing this.
We’re naturally biologically wired as tribal people. And from our first tribe of our family we learn who we are and what to believe and this is how we wire our brains - literally the neurogenesis the physical rewiring of our brains.
So Mummy or Daddy says: “If you want the cookie, the toy, the sweets you’ll need to be a good little boy/girl”. So you learn to do what you are told to get the result you want. You learn to be dependent on someone else telling you what to do.
And of course this continues at school with the teacher in the same role as tribal leader.
Then as a teenager we form our own tribes of social acceptance, even if you don’t fit in that’s still its own tribe.
Then college/university, then going to work, it’s all about doing what you are told by the tribal leader. You fit in at work or get fired.
It’s the same in relationships because you are a boy you need to find a girl, or because you are a girl you need to find a boy. Even if you don’t particularly want to be with that boy or girl. Everyone else is doing it so you know you should to.
And later on you might find you prefer to be different. As a boy you might prefer boys or as a girl you might prefer girls. Or you might just go it’s too confusing…
Because of course the answer is never in anyone else it’s always all about you. But many people end up not just as a teenager working out who they are but it’s also true that many 30, 40, 50, and 60 somethings are still trying to do this.
Often the figuring yourself out bit gets put on pause when our focus gets on work. And doesn’t change till 10, 20, 30 or more years later when something changes and we get reminded that while we think we knew where we were - because we had defined ourselves by our work. We don’t really know who WE are.
So how do you get past all the layers of cultural conditioning down to what you really want rather that what other people want for you and of you?
Mostly it’s a process of not doing. Because all the things we learnt growing up in our dependent relationships have wired our brain so we just run on automatic, we just do things how we do them.
This isn’t a process of learning something new, it’s more unlearning the limitations we have placed on ourselves.
From a Shamanic perspective it’s walking a path of power.
You became a shaman by dying to your former life, sometimes you were cast out from the tribe. Or you never fit in the first place. Or you found the courage to follow your calling and left.
For most people there is too much fear to do this.
Most people get though not necessarily at a conscious level that they HAVE to fit in with their tribe because they literally can’t survive without them.
They’d lose their job and not be able to get another one, they’d not be able to pay the rent/mortgage and end up homeless and living in a cardboard box.
And they know they wouldn’t survive that.
They’d be attacked and robbed of what little they still had.
They’d be beaten and violated, and eventually if they weren’t killed they’d kill themselves because they know that they couldn’t live like that.
But many people live with that fear now - they haven’t been kicked our of the tribe yet. They still have their job even though they secretly hate it. Or they have their business even though it is day by day sucking the life out of them.