In my experience, most of our self-sabotaging behaviors and blocks come from a few jarring moments in our life.🤷
I’ve written before about how I was teased as a kid for being fat.🧑💻
That sucked, and I was teased pretty regularly…😞
But two events stand out more than others:👇
- When I got invited to jump down this grassy hill with a bunch of other classmates, and then everyone pretended there was an earthquake after I landed. (5th Grade) 🤦♂️
- When someone put a sign on my back that said “caution wide load,” and I walked around for an hour or so before some other kid finally felt bad for me and told me. (5th or 6th Grade)What do those two things have in common?
In both cases, I was the butt of the joke. And there was also this coordination aspect. The idea that people were banding together in a coordinated way to make me feel bad.
That stuff was jarring and got seared into my brain:
People don’t like me, people are secretly laughing at me, I’m not good enough, don’t trust people, I'm ugly, don’t let yourself be vulnerable.
I carried those beliefs with me for a long time, and they occasionally still creep into my head (mostly in social situations where I’m meeting a bunch of new people)…
But here’s what’s weird:
I was mostly teased between the ages of 7 and 13.
That’s 6 years.
And, as many of us know from the musical Rent, there are 525,600 minutes in each year.
So that’s 3,153,600 minutes.
And the two events I just mentioned probably lasted about 75 minutes total.
Mathematically that’s essentially 0% of the time…
And yet, those things had a long-lasting and brutal effect on my confidence, self-esteem, and psyche.
Eventually, as I grew older, though, here’s what I finally understood:
While I couldn’t go back in time and make those things not happen…
And while it’s not unhealthy to just suppress or hide from hurt or pain…
There has to come a point where you face those painful moments head-on, acknowledge them, and then move on.
It becomes a choice.
For me, I had to decide:
Of the nearly 20 million minutes that I’ve been alive…
Do I want to let 75 painful minutes define me?
And hell, let’s acknowledge that there were several other moments that were also painful (and there were)…
So, suppose I’ve experienced 20,000 painful minutes in my life.
That would still be 1% of all the minutes I’ve been alive.
Do I want to focus on the 1% of moments that were painful?
Or the other 99% that were not?
For me, when I break it down that way…
Letting those painful moments define me, and having them dictate the man I am today, seems absurd.
And I wanted to share that with you…
Because maybe thinking about it this way can help you too.
P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link