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
11 responses to “Leaving Your Cage”
I have lately noticed some people in my life who are quite frequently saying negative things about themselves and I can’t help but cringe inside. It doesn’t seem that important at first, on the surface. “I’m such a dummy, etc” But I’m thinking be careful, don’t say that about yourself, do you really believe that? Who is really saying that about you?” I haven’t made the move to comment out loud,, yet 🙂 I am open to any suggestions for what I could say that would be helpful.
I like your own words: “Do you really believe that?” The question makes one stop and think. It invites thinking outside their programmed box.
By the way, thanks for that.
How about this: “I don’t agree with your self-evaluation. I know in my heart that’s not who or what you are.”
Reprogramming is a matter of claiming the innocence and truth of our birthright.
So true and so well said! Thanks, Don
Salee, I agree with your last statement. It also gives hope that we won’t ever stay stuck when we truly “get-it”. When you see a bright light in a dark room, you just cannot, not see the light. The bright rays of light or rays of sunshine will lead you out of a myriad of delusions.
I have a lot of experience with my roommate, like Brad. Brad illuminated the way for me, in many ways. How can I expect my roommate to be gone in a second when it has taken years of conditioning. I have to reverse the conditioning, and it takes time. This blog as the saying goes, ‘is just what the doctor ordered’. 🙂 Thanks, Salee and Brad!!
Thanks for sharing that, Rachel! I love your depth.
These negative beliefs about ourselves stop us from reaching our true potential. Pushing past the fear can take tremendous courage and brain reprograming. I love the statement “I don’t believe that truth about you. I know in my heart that isn’t who you are.” When others see our potential, it invites us to do the same. The rewards of letting go of past beliefs are so awesome!!!
Isn’t that the truth! Thanks Tina.
A long time ago I knew someone who inherited her grandmother’s piano that had sat unused for many years and was terribly out of tune. She wanted to learn to play it and hired a piano tuner to tune it for her. He told her that he would need many visits in order to get the piano to stay in tune because over time it had becomed conditioned to stay where it was. The wires needed to relearn the correct place to be. Since they were bent in the wrong place for so long getting them to stay bent in the right place was going to take lots of patience and effort. But it would happen and the piano would stay properly tuned for a long time.
I think we’re a lot like instruments in that respect. The longer we beat ourselves up with negative thinking the longer it takes to unlearn that habit and the easier it is to return to it simply because that’s what we’re used to. With patience and effort we can train ourselves to avoid the roommate. Like the piano, it won’t happen quickly. But the change will be lasting.
That earns a ‘wow!’ Marty, I just love that! And, I plan to use it in my book if you don’t mind—giving you full credit, of course.