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Automatic Ways-of-Being

Have you ever noticed what it's taken for you to create one of your automatic ways-of-being? No, I don't mean the initial conversation that began the way-of-being, but the actual grounding of the evidence you have put into place over time that keeps it together even when it doesn't work for you?

Let me explain with an example of one of my own. My dear dad who sometimes frustrated the you-know-what out of me, who I loved immensely and who I just lost this year, used to say to me,

"What?! Are you stupid?!"

Now, let me say that I was (am) complete with my dad when he died, and by that I mean that I said everything I needed to say to let him know that I loved and appreciated the life he provided for me to become the person I am. I also allowed him to say everything he was willing to say to me, yes in his own manner, such that I know that he loved and respected me. I miss him terribly and yet nothing else needed to be said to each other. We were complete.

By the way, in later years I was also able to complete with my mom who had died when I was 19 and we were not in a good place with each other. But completion is another conversation and what I'd like to bring you back to is the automatic way-of-being that I adopted out of my dad occasionally saying to me,

"What?! Are you stupid?!"

Now realizing that his style of making remarks such as the one above was out of his love and concern for me to do the best I could in my life, the way I listened to it as a child provided a structure for me to create an automatic way-of-being that I've been driven by in my life.

[Note that my siblings have created their own automatic ways-of-being from their own versions of how my dad showed up to them.]

Rather than allowing myself to be proud of my accomplishments, most of my life I lived into the conversation of "I am stupid," and therefore had to prove that I am intelligent. This automatic way-of-being has cropped up again and again and again throughout my life. If you look back on my accolades, you may wonder is there anything else she is going to do? Does she ever rest and relax? Does she know how? Until I realized that I was living from this automatic way-of-being that I had put together, it just all seemed normal to me. I had to be the best and prove I was the smartest in many different arenas. I had to be the best nurse, I had to be the best black jack dealer, I had to be the best female sailor, I had to be … on and on and on and on … until I revealed to myself that I was not living from possibility but from automaticity.

It was with a coach who simply provided me with that perspective outside of my automatic way of looking at myself before I could even "observe myself as that observer."

Okay, this is going to sound funny and you may have to read it a couple of times, but here goes. The 'observer I am' based in that automatic way-of-being is that "I am stupid." Having become the 'observer of that observer' I am able to notice when I get hooked by that conversation "I am stupid" and then I am able to choose another way-of-being.

Get it? The conversation "I am stupid" still shows up but the work I've done with a coach allows me to recognize it and not get hooked by it any longer. Now I get to just enjoy the fruits of my labors and live in pride of what I've accomplished in my life.

One more thing - unlearning an automatic way-of- being is a process. I like to say that there are four steps to transforming, or unlearning, a way-of-being:

  1. begin to observe that you are the observer you are in that way-of-being
  2. stop yourself in the middle of it
  3. stop yourself before it happens
  4. realize that you used to be that way

It's a simple process; however, one in which you have to create as an automatic way-of-being.

Happiest of holidays to you! Come back from them with wonderful stories of the people you love and appreciate. Perhaps consider getting out of the way of an automatic way-of-being that you may have with someone during the holidays. Or begin to observe the observer you are in an automatic way-of-being around the holidays. I promise, an indication for you will be you are not living in affinity (kinship, attraction, having fun, etc.).

As always, please share with me what you have noticed out of this perspective.

With love and respect for who you are in your life!

~ Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach