Depending on how we grew up, we may not be very good at appreciating our own achievements. We may need external recognition, or we may be shy to express our sense of achievement. We may have learned, possibly young enough for it to be a pre-conscious-memory, to self-soothe or seek external soothing. Neither of these things is necessarily bad but can mean we are not good at sharing our experiences, either negative or positive, with others. It may mean we embellish these things, embellishment that can be construed by others as lying. We may embellish because we are ashamed or are shy of seeking support which can look like lying to others, it may be an unconscious expression but perceived by others as intentional. Embellishment can be either understating or overstating a situation or experience. Many times we do this to avoid shame in either direction. It may be we have done something poorly and we want to justify why it didn’t go the way we wanted, or, understating how it went which could be seen as humbleness, but also denies oneself the pleasure of sharing the joy of the experience with ourselves and others. Those who learned to self-soothe will likely underplay, and those that did not, will likely seek greater approval than is justified. It is important in both cases to appreciate the situation as it is and feel the joy of success without over or under embellishment.
You see, there are things we do that are unconscious, and things that even if we become aware of them we are not sure why we do them. This is where pre-conscious memory comes into play, there are things we learned from our primary caregivers, when we had no one else to rely on to survive, that taught us many instinctual behaviours. Our parents may have been taught to ignore a babies cry, or to attend to a babies cry… there have been many schools of thought over the years and, likely, trusting in parental instinct meant relying, at least partially, on the learned behaviours of the parent. As you can see, this can be complicated. But, there is hope as it all really relies on consciousness. How conscious are you of your responses at any given time? Are there times where you wished you said more? Then practice saying more. Are there times where you wished you had just stopped talking and listened? Then practice listening. Are there things you wished you had shouted out to all of those who would listen? Then do so! Are there times where you have felt you shouted too much? Next time keep it closer to yourself and quietly savour it for yourself. This may sound ridiculously simple. Try it though, you will find it takes many attempts to say what you want or hold your tongue… making what is unconscious conscious feels awkward, uncomfortable even but the experience of opening and understanding that comes with this process is worth it.
Warning, seeking to understand your unconscious responses you may find the following side effects: You may find you stop blaming others for their responses to you. You may find people responding to you more honestly than you have experienced before. You may find yourself feeling vulnerable. You may find others respond to you in a vulnerable way. You may find people are willing to support you. You may find that others behave in a loving manner toward you. Proceed with appropriate caution and self-moderation.
Featured image: ‘illusion of consciousness’ by AudreyBobir on Deviantart
secondary image: ‘Soar’ by Forgottenex on Deviantart