“Tell me something you don’t like”, I
asked my student.
“I don’t like when things are messy.”
responded, “why? “
“Okay, well, what does it make you feel?”
“You just don’t like it. You prefer when things are
in their place, organized, structured?”
“Yes, let’s say I arrive at someone’s house and it’s
a mess. I feel like taking a huge garbage bag and shoving it all in! “
really surprised. She works in administration. It’s her job. But also, I surmised,
a part of her personality. Someone who likes everything in their right place.
place. What a concept! Is it possible we polarize things right down to our
on ideas I’ve been reading from Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Tsoknyi Rinpoche
and from my Authentic Leadership course at university, I mused on that right
and wrong reflex we develop from such a young age.
what I’ve gleaned, our polarization is a prehistoric reflex we develop to
ensure our safety and security; once we learn to distinguish the presence of
objects outside of ourselves, we start categorizing them into good and bad,
nice and mean, right and wrong.
we need to differentiate if something is good for us or not, however when it
starts influencing our inner states of well-being or ‘rightness’, it may have
become a little excessive.
share one of my own typical personal default settings. When I get up in the
morning, the first thing I do when arriving in the kitchen is to scan for
orderliness and cleanliness. If it doesn’t meet my standards, I start putting
Otherwise I just can’t relax.
so you’re saying you’re the same as your student?
You may now well ask: what can you do about it?
admit it’s not an easy reconfiguration to make. However, my university class is
challenging me: what belief does that discomfort stem from? What is the deep-down
need that is being jeopardized?
For me, I realized that I was taught: work, before play; you can go out once
you’ve done your chores; you have to clean your room before you can go and play.
of these sound familiar to you?
ethic, but is it always realistic, to keep everything in order, structured,
under control? No, it would perhaps be healthier to learn to accept that I can’t
always be in control, that there’s a time for everything.
Upon deeper thought, I realized that that work ethic was instilled in me at a time that it equated acceptance and love, and a sense of security.
Does that mean my OCD could stem from that?
Perhaps yes, perhaps not. I’m just saying our behaviors sometimes stem from a deeper belief that may not be entirely appropriate now that you’re an adult.
that mean anyone’s OCD stems from that?
they know that! Maslow’s pyramid of needs refer to physiological, security,
love & belonging, self-esteem, fulfillment, and transcendence. Only they
can know what need was at stake when they developed the automatic behavior, which
instilled a foundational belief that would guide future action.
thought: when you’re getting all worked up from the visual chaos, you might
want to ask yourself:
Why am I getting so worked up? When did I start reacting like that? What is the underlying belief?
it’s time to let it go and be a little more realistic – and at the same time become
a little easier to live or work with!
Does your inner level of stress grow in proportion to the outer mess? How do you deal with it?
forward to hearing from you!
Cheers, and keep learning!