A cage is anything that confines, reduces, inhibits or limits us. This includes our distorted ideas about ourselves.
In Meet Your True Self, my previous post, Brad woke up to the fact that his inner roommate, also known as an inner critic, was a liar. In that mere flash of an instant, Brad freed himself from a cage.
Brad didn’t stop with that single insight. In fact, on that day, he was on a roll and I wasn’t about to stop him. I just sat back with a big grin on my face.
He said he realizes that his inner roommate is a product of his conditioning and that it operates automatically “just like breathing . . . most of the time we’re not even aware of it.”
Nor are we aware of the constant stream of dialogue swirling around in our head. “My brain just keeps playing the same tape over and over,” Brad said. “What I have to do now is reprogram myself.”
Brad also had a good idea about how to do that: “Since we get programmed through repetition, we can also get re-programmed through repetition.”
In other words, instead of telling himself over and over again how worthless he is, his plan is to start telling himself the truth about himself . . . over and over again. In effect, he’ll be arguing with his inner roommate . . . and winning.
Unfortunately, inner roommates don’t simply go “poof” and disappear when we get wise to them. Conditioning, by definition, sticks. Brad calls it a “default setting”—something our brain automatically goes back to. Inner roommates may fade through disuse and neglect, but in all likelihood they will reactivate when life throws us some curve balls or when we hit a low point. So patience is called for.
I told Brad to expect setbacks, but to view them as temporary. Serious backsliding is impossible at this point because he’s too aware to stay lost. He has taken a huge step with his epiphany about his inner roommate being a liar. That’s a game changer. It’s like trying to unripple the pond—it can’t happen. Like returning to a cage after getting a taste of freedom—it won’t happen.
Clear-eyed reflection—seeing something for what it is—makes it impossible to return to our delusions on a permanent basis.
I’d like your comments. Do you agree with that last statement? And what are your insights on reprogramming and cages? Thanks!
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.
(c) 2014 Salee Reese