Each and every one of us has desires. From getting in shape to saving up for a house, from working on our traumas to learning a new language. Desire is at the core of our drive.
However, is having a desire alone enough when it comes to committing to our goals and achieving them? I believe the answer to sustainable and consistent results lies in finding out where our drive comes from.
Where Does Our Drive Come From?
For a lot of us, our drive comes from our fears and “should’s”. This type of drive might seem powerful or even needed in the beginning, yet it never truly works. Additionally, the more pressure we feel either from people around us, from society’s standards, or from within, the more strongly a younger part of us is going to rebel against this pressure.
Think teenagers and how they revolt against parental rigidity.
Action Through Pressure
Action through pressure can have catastrophic consequences in our lives. Moreover, the two parts in us (the rigid one who brings down the “should’s” and the rebellious teenager) are in constant conflict with each other.
Let’s look at the inner talk below:
“You should go to the gym!”
“But I just went 3 days ago.”
“You can’t sit on the couch and watch TV all the time!”
“But I’m tired after a day of work.”
“No one will like you if you stay ‘fat’ !”
“Leave me alone, I don’t care…”
This cycle of control and shaming continues alongside the exhausting inner talk. Some days, the rigid part wins and gets its way, other days it’s the child within who gets to do what he or she wants.
What happened to the adult that we are? Where is the authentic self who has the capacity to bring about real change in a committed and self-compassionate way?
Staying True to Our Authentic Self
The authentic self is offline, and as long as this is the case, we are never going to be able to stay with our commitments and achieve what we want in a sane and healthy way. We will only be sabotaging and torturing ourselves instead of actually doing what’s good for us.
So, what to do? Get to know the two sides of this internal dynamic. Get to know your inner dictator very, very well. Lastly, get to know the younger part of you who rebels against inner demands too.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- The rigid parental voice in me, who does it sound like from my life? Is it a parent, a mean teacher I had in school, or an overly judgmental friend I used to have?
- The younger part of me that gets bullied in this dynamic, how old does that part feel? How old do I feel when I “rebel” against internal pressure?
After asking yourself these questions, try the following exercise. Put two chairs facing each other and play out this internal battle back and forth between the two parts. Go back and forth at least a few times and exaggerate what they think and feel about the other side.
Now, sit at another chair and look at these two parts from a distance. What do you see? What’s happening here? Examine and feel what each part is doing and now focus on the younger part and feel what he or she actually needs – maybe support, love, space, guidance, etc.
Connect with that need, with that vulnerability and protect this younger part against the bully who shames you and keeps telling you what you “should!” do.
This is how we end self-abuse.