In the last two posts I’ve investigated two ‘extremes’, radical self-unschooling on one hand and the word ‘must’ on the other. Now – these two can represent polarized extremes where one is a total abnegation of rules and the other is an enforcement of rules, but they can also be redefined as commonsensical self-expressions lived based on the principled of what is best for all in self-honesty.
In this post I am investigating another dimension at first glance associated with ‘raising a child’ but that one can also mirror back to oneself and look at one’s own self-directed ‘coming of age’ process. What I mean is that, all of the considerations for how to best raise a child to be a responsible, self-directed and expressive human being can be brought back to self as well, exactly as we too as adults are coming from the extremes of polarization – and require redefining the way we direct ourselves in our world and reality.
An example from my own life is how I have had a tendency to either give in completely to any urge or preference I might have without any consideration for the consequences of my actions, such as eating a bag of candy and getting a stomach ache OR to be extremely hard and brutal on myself and constantly judge myself based on a moral belief that “I should do/be better”.
So it is interesting to see how, while it is important to explore and expand how we raise our children, it is even more important to start investigating how we are ‘raising/educating’ and standing as examples for ourselves, literally like there is a part of us that can function as our own parent – through which we assist and support ourselves to change destructive behavioral patterns and start living in a way that is the most supportive to us and those around us.
Unlike a child that comes into the world with a relatively clean slate and an open mind, we are however already filled with beliefs and judgments and fears and desires and polarizations. This is why I in the previous blog-post on radical self-unschooling mentioned how we have to ‘deschool’ ourselves BEFORE we can unschool ourselves. As an example of why this is necessary, we can look at behavioral patterns we have wanted to change, that we saw were destructive and that we failed at over and over again as we tried to implement a new behavior. Many times, it is because we haven’t actually investigated what old ‘program’ is interfering with the installment of a new program. As such the old patterns will continue to influence and direct us as long as we haven’t taken directive responsibility for them, which we can only do if we understand them and thereby know what to change and how to change it.
So a particular pattern that I have seen many parents act out with their children is the act of ‘letting it slide’, where one will rather comply than risk a conflict. Similarly it is something I have seen in myself – and you can say that ‘letting it slide’ in this context is the reverse of ‘standing up’. If we see ‘raising’ a child literally as assisting and supporting them to stand up – in a literal and figurative sense, letting them slide is the same as letting them fall. And so letting myself slide is the same as letting myself fall.
Some things in our lives require us as adults to stand up, to push through, to ‘rise above’ – exactly as in the process of raising a child. Often it will be when we are still governed by behavioral patterns of the past, where we are for example so engulfed in fear that we’d rather limit and diminish ourselves than dare to push through and expand ourselves. Or we have created certain comfort zones or preferences (again based on limitations) that we fear losing, where we then do what feels comfortable in spite of potential consequences and compromises in ourselves and our world. An example of this can be when we eat an entire bag of candy despite knowing from experience that we will most likely get a stomachache. The program of mental stimulation through an enforced sugar rush on the body overrides the common sense program of caring for the body.
When I ’let it slide’ I am thus in a belief that I am being ’good’ and ’nice’ to myself which is in itself a state of self-deception and denial, because otherwise it wouldn’t be necessary to ’let it slide’ – meaning: I know what I am doing yet I do it anyway. Otherwise there wouldn’t be an ‘it’ to let slide.
The ‘it’ in this context is doing what I know is best for me even though it might not be my preferred course of action. A prominent example from my life is eating things that I know aren’t good for my body. Throughout my life I’ve had sensitivities to certain foods that I like the taste of, but that my body clearly isn’t supported by. Sugar is one example, milk products is another. So if I for example eat a piece of cheese despite knowing from experience the cheese has on my body, it is because I am allowing a mental taste-preference program to override common sense. This is symptomatic for our entire society and the way we live on this planet where we are literally destroying our habitat to be able to consume more of it, faster and more efficient – it is instant gratification with long term consequences.
When I was a child and I thought about growing up and becoming an adult, all I could think about is how free I would be and how I could finally do what I wanted. Not once did I ever consider that I have a responsibility to myself, to do what is best for me – even though I knew this to be true in the back of my mind.
I also remember seeing adults who, looked the most happy when they were indulging in various forms of stimuli, whether it was red whine or food or entertainment. So from that perspective, this was my reference of what it means to be happy as an adult. All I knew was that I didn’t liked to be forced to eat my vegetables as a child, so hell if I were going to eat them as an adult. I didn’t consider that eating vegetables might be what was best for me or even question the belief that I didn’t like vegetables. To me vegetables equaled being forced to do something I didn’t want to do.
Being that I am no longer a child and no longer have parents or guardians showing me the ropes (whether the ones I had were effective at that or not), it means that I have to stand in the position of being a parent to myself, to be my own guardian and example. This also means that I have a responsibility to myself, to directively use the part of me that sees common sense and that is self-honest to assist and support myself to hack the parts of myself that are still running on old programming from the past that I realize is not best for me.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create a pattern of ‘letting it slide’ where I allow myself to compromise doing that which is best for me
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create the belief within me that living based on preferences is the same as being free and I forgive myself that I, based on that have accepted and allowed myself to create an experience of feeling free when I live according to my preferences, especially if these preferences are in opposition to something an authority has told me – without any consideration or regard for the potential consequences of my actions
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to value my personal preferences over all other factors when it comes to making decisions, not realizing that my preferences are in most cases not based on a practical, physical assessment of what I enjoy combined with what is best for me – but on preconditions and indoctrination, which means that my preferences are not actually mine, because it is not decisions I have made in common sense self-honesty as to deciding and finding out what I enjoy and what is best for me
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to protect and defend my preferences, specifically within having polarized my preferences in my mind as being inherently positive and ‘good’ because I have associated preferences with freedom from oppression, where as I a child made decisions that went against authorities commands and so felt and believed that I was empowering myself and freeing myself by insisting on living according to my preferences, not realizing how I was creating my preferences as a reaction to and rebellion towards being disempowered as a child
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to protect and defend my preferences because I have channeled myself into them, identified with them made them an extension of ’who I am’ – specifically as the self-empowerment of standing up against authority that I believed I was doing through being defiant and oppositional – not realizing how I was never in fact empowering myself, but was merely going into the opposite polarity, creating a new authority to have power over me, this time from within my own mind
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize how I through living based on preferences as ‘what I want’ have taken myself hostage and have made it impossible for me to even see, let alone make decisions based on what is in fact best for me – as I have equated ‘best for me’ with what I was being told by authorities as a child, that I then associated with being restricted and not allowed to express myself – thus creating a resistance towards doing what is best for me because I have created an automated reaction towards equating ‘what is best for me’ with ‘not what I want’.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to judge and attach a negative energetic association to the words ‘what is best for me’ because I associate these words with being restricted as a child, where authority figures either told me that I couldn’t do something or that I should do something because it was best for me but where I didn’t fully understand it from the perspective of it truly being BEST as I within the moment felt an URGE/DESIRE for something else and thereby in that moment considered that to be best, thus splitting and separating ‘best’ into two different ‘compartments’ in my mind: the ‘best’ according to my mind which is the freedom to do what I want and follow my urges and preferences and ‘best’ as the restriction of having to do something that’s boring and where I’d miss out on fun because someone else told me to
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to separate myself from that which is best for me in a physical and practical sense, within and as perceiving that as belonging to someone else that makes decisions for me where I am disempowered and disenfranchised to make decisions for myself and as such that I have come to resent and resist doing what is best for me for this reason
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to deceive myself into believing that that which I prefer and want to do is automatically what is best for me, simply because I prefer and want it and thereby believe that I’ve made a free and empowered decisions, not realizing how many if not most of my wants are based in fear, in desire, in ideas, in beliefs, as preconditioned and indoctrinated preferences.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to make it virtually impossible for myself to decide to do what is best for myself in fact, because I have created an automatic association with that which is best for me as being negative and something I resist.
For the first time in my life, I have started making decisions based on what is best for me in fact and not based on what I’d prefer/want. An example is that I no longer consume milk products although I enjoy the taste of milk in my coffee and cheese as well. I wrote a blog about that transition here if you are interested.
However I do also see that this association with ‘best’ as being split into a negative and positive polarity still exists within me and here also how I’ve separated myself from taking responsibility for doing what is best for me in fact.
I realize that what often happens with parents and children is that the parents tell children that they must do something or that it is best for them to do something, but without considering the child in it all. Maybe the parent is making decisions for the child based on their own beliefs about what is best or based on fear of failing as a parent – but the result is that sometimes we are told that things are best for us that we know are not. Sometimes it would be better to stay up than go to sleep, or it at least wouldn’t be consequential to do so. This is something the child might ‘intuitively’ be aware of in the moment, but might not have the vocabulary to express. When the adult then exerts power and authority over the child and says: “do it because I said so, I know what is best for you, I’m the adult.” It creates this split inside the child, where ‘best’ becomes associated with something negative and a polarity is formed where the child defines ‘best’ as positive equated with rebelling against the parent and thus standing up for itself. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it requires that parents become self-honest and humble with their children and dare to question and challenge their own fears and beliefs and make decisions based on what is best in the moment where also the child’s wishes are taken into consideration.
I realize that this process starts with myself from here as an adult. In my life, the damage is already done, because I grew up with adults who didn’t know what I am sharing here. As such, I have a responsibility to myself to change what is ‘best’ from a polarization of extremes as positive and negative associations – to decisions I make for myself that support me to grow and develop and expand and that doesn’t create adverse consequences for me, my body or others in my world.
I realize how I have to start over in terms of determining what is best for me. Because if I look for example at that which was defined by adults as best for me as a child, it wasn’t always commonsensical. An example is bedtimes where many times the adults just wants some private time in the evening and then they say to the child that it is best for them, but where it might not actually be. My mom was actually cool with this, because she was very straight with me that she needed some time to herself in the evening and so she made the rule that if I wanted to stay up late, I had to stay in my room. Because I didn’t want to miss out of the ‘adult fun’ that I thought was happening at night but was allowed to be awake, I didn’t create a polarized relationship to this point and eventually just went to bed by myself.
So I have to start over with figuring out what is best for me. Some things like food I might have to cross-reference by testing it and see how my body does. Other things will be commonsensical from the get-go and so more require me to let go of my polarized relationship to preferences, where I have believed that letting go of preferences is some form of ‘loss of freedom’ or ‘empowerment’.
I realize that doing what is best for me – through having investigated on a real and practical level what best actually means, is real empowerment and freedom. Getting to know and understand myself, my body, my mind and this world is the most empowering and freeing thing there is – because based on that I can make real directive decisions that aren’t based on indoctrination or preprogramming.
It also means that I have to identify and investigate where I still have beliefs about what is best, like ideas about certain foods I should/shouldn’t eat that I’ve actually never cross-referenced for myself before.
I realize that the joy/enjoyment that I create based on making principled decisions is substantial in nature as I through that create real tangible results in a long term scale where the expression of enjoyment might not always be immediate or intense, but will instead be a consistent expression of who I am because I know that I am living a life of self-integrity and self-love – rather than joy being an energetic state of intense and instant gratification that has potential long term consequences for me, my body and this world.
If we want to change this world – if we truly care about our planet and the life that is on it, this is something that we all have to do. Because at the moment, all of humanity is living what I have described here, a life of preference over principle, where live is used and consumed, but not nurtured in respect and consideration to grow and flourish.
When and as I stand before a decision, however big or small, and I see that I am starting to ‘let it slide’ in the context of using thoughts/backchat/experiences to manipulate myself into NOT doing what I know to be best, I stop and I breathe. I commit myself to in that moment push myself to do what is best and I remind myself that my preference is not based on a real assessment of enjoyment or a consideration for the potential consequences. I commit myself to stop letting points slide where I know I am doing what is not best for myself – because I know understand and realize how I have created this pattern.
I commit myself to stop and let go of the positive and negative associations I have created towards what is ‘best’ for me as two separate points. I realize that what is best is that which supports me to flourish and grow and live – and it is really as simple as that. I commit myself to embrace myself and to stand responsible for guiding and directing myself to live that which is best for me – and so best for all. I commit myself to let go of the belief that doing what I want/prefer is automatically also what is best for me. I commit myself to empower myself through getting to know myself and through understanding how my body and mind works and how this world work – so that I can make directive decisions in full awareness.
Freedom is not doing what you want when you want it. Freedom is knowing and understanding yourself and the world you live in to such an absolute extent that you can make the choices that are best for you and so best for all life as a whole to thrive, without any restrictions or limitations.
Blog-posts related to what I’ve walked here:
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