Move Beyond Fixing into Transformation
As young children we are very dependent on love and approval from parents and caretakers. We also tend to internalize others disapproval or what we interpret as disapproval, anger or blame. We take it in, blame ourselves and form a negative opinion about our worth, our ability to be loved and our value. These negative beliefs stay as an emotional imprint of pain and self-doubt within our Emotional Self.
Another part of us, which I call the Defensive Self, watches fiercely over our survival. This part moves into intense efforts to make sure we get the love and approval we feel we must have in order to survive. That is how and when we form our defensive structure. Our strong suit starts formulating at a young age of four or five years old.
The defensive structure is different for different people. Some choose to get approval by being “nice,” “appeasing,” and “helpful.” Some create a defensive structure that is aggressive, attempting to dominate and control situations and other people. Some become high achievers and perfectionists. Yet others choose to shine as charmers, jokesters and the life of every party. There are others that hide, isolate themselves and avoid others. These are just a few examples. Most of us have a combination of a few tactics woven together into a sophisticated, defensive structure.
The root of the problem is that at a young age, we reject and repress our authentic, Emotional Self. Since we experience or interpret criticism and rejection, we choose to identify with our Defensive Self as our identity. It feels protective to do so. The mask becomes the self. From then on, all our efforts to “self-improve,” “self-fix” or “self-develop” come from this defensive place of compensation. It is a place rooted in the belief that “there is something wrong with me.” The belief that “I am not enough, not acceptable and I must do everything to ensure getting approval, being valued and somehow appreciated.”
When you operate from the belief that you must fix yourself, all your efforts of self-growth, self-development, and even self-healing fall short. Since your basic acceptance of yourself is not there, all your efforts attempt to coverup a deep wound. Coverups no matter how extensive are only coverups. They are not a transformation. Coverups are energy draining efforts. They meet internal resistance and originate from our resistance to accepting ourselves.
What I see over and over is people trying very hard to fix themselves. To tweak themselves. It is all skin deep. Look at your own efforts and how far they have taken you. I look at mine as a young person. I was trying to fix myself by being an excellent student. Later, the best performer.
I was always trying to be the “best” at everything. I was the high-achiever, perfectionist type. All my achievements did not help me heal. What did was my ability to accept my emotions and my authentic self.
How do you try to fix your hurting sense of self? Are you trying to look good? Be the best? Get the status symbols? Read self-help books? Achieve all the list of goals? Are you trying to be better, do more? All these unhealthy efforts when done in the pursuit of covering up your lack of acceptance of yourself are a compensation, not a transformation. So, the question is, where does transformation come from? How do I transform, not just fix?