10 Delusions of Personal Growth: Part IDecember 2, 2010
10 Delusions of Personal Growth: Part IIIDecember 2, 2010
10 Delusions of Personal Growth: Part II (Delusions 4-7)
by Carl Buchheit
First published in 2008
1. That you can get somewhere positive by defeating something negative.
2. That people who take the “path of least resistance” in life are weak.
3. That fighting ourselves shows strength and builds character.
4. That denying and disrespecting our parents is a good idea.
Almost all of western psychotherapy seeks, in one way or another, to separate clients from their parents. This movement is in exactly the wrong direction. If we want to know what would come out of the mix if we put our parents into a giant blender and then hit the frappè button, the answer is—we would exist. We are exactly, precisely that combination.
Our broadband connection to the flow of life—the cable sockets themselves, so to speak—happens to be them. Not personally, necessarily, but certainly energetically, the sockets are where they are. We can deny this, but then we have to live on dial-up. When we deny parents, we deny ourselves and cut ourselves off from the sources of strength in life. This never has a good effect. If our parents are dangerous, crazy, or lethally boring, it is probably a good idea to stay away from them physically, but this is not the same as disrespecting them.
5. That you as an intelligent adult would never, ever mess your life up in order to prevent something really bad from happening to someone else 100 years ago (just to cite a round number).
As it turns out, this seems to be exactly what all of us humans value doing more than anything else. We are—all of us—driven to make sure that we experience some version of the tragedies and unresolved losses of the family members who came before us. As long as we experience their pain, or something closely like it, we have hope to provide our families with a better past, which, it follows very [il]logically, will allow us to experience a better present and future for ourselves. This is complicated business, and highly seductive. When our pain now signals us that we are on track toward past and future happiness, we go into a deep, deep trance of secure and loving family salvation. As crazy as this sounds, this is what we do, and are pretty much screwed until we start to catch on. Messing up our own life is never a good way to show respect for anyone.
6. That the past is a failed version of a better future.
The future is not a perfected or improved past. Our experiences as human beings, whatever this involves in the moment, always represent the very best life solutions that our systems have been able to achieve. We all deal with utterly mysterious and painful inherited patterns, which we then combine with the bafflingly elusive meanings and beliefs we invent for ourselves. However huge the resulting mess might seem to be, it is truly the most creative, positive, and loving solution we could find for ourselves (and for everyone else who was involved) at the time that the unwanted patterning became hyper-stabilized and hard to change. Truly, we are all doing the best we can with what we have, and with what we had.
7. That now is the only time there is.
Being present in the present is wonderful and useful. It’s an indispensable art, an essential part of changing our relationship with ourselves and with life itself. However, for humans who live in time/space, the future and past are real too. Properly created, a good future activates our choosing of it, so that it comes into manifestation against a supportive backdrop called the past. There is no substitute for having a good relationship with our future and our past. After all now, we are now our future’s past, are we not?