Monday, August 10, 2009

Are You Walking Through Life in Shoes Too Small?


Have you ever wondered if there are unconscious factors (apart from your will, needs, wants, passions, goals and choices) that are affecting your level of happiness or satisfaction?


Is there some part of you that denies yourself permission to change, grow, learn, evolve?


Do you perhaps unconsciously deny yourself permission to surpass your parents' level of income, education, success, contentment?


How much do your family's beliefs and values still govern your own?  Is that what you want?  If so, fine.  If not, how does it affect you to live according to values that are not truly your own?


Did you consciously choose the values and beliefs to which you devote your life energy?


Have you stuck with the same heirarchy of values throughout all the changing needs of your ages and developmental stages?  Is what you valued and believed at 30 still valide for you at 45?


Where did you acquire the criteria with which you measure and judge yourself? Are they yours? Are they still valid for you? Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not. If your sources of self-evalution are truly yours, how great, after examination, to be able to claim that. If they are not, then you have made yourself aware and can now do something about it.


This sort of values clarification is a good thing to do every decade or so. Sometimes the values by which we are living our life are no longer applicable to our current age or situation. This does not mean we have to jettison out-dated values, we may simply want to change where they appear in our personal heirarchy of values - or do a little tweeking here and there.
Sometimes when we experience malaise, discomfort, itchy feet, depression, etc. it is because we have not examined or re-examined the inner rules, the unconscious mandates by which we govern and limit our life. Could you, perhaps, be walking in shoes too small?


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32 comments:

  1. WOW! This is real food for thought! Great post!

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  2. Hi Bonnie

    this is a good metaphor and a very good question to ask ourselves at different periods over our lives...when we are young I don't think we consider how these parameters may be set for us in default. Some hard honest appraisal in needed...

    Happy days

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  3. Asking myself these questions years ago, when I was stuck in a very unhappy place, certainly helped to find some clarity. BUT, we are all formed to a greater or lesser extent by what has gone before, to repeat or discard what has gone before. How could it be otherwise. What has gone before influences everything we are and do ourselves.

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  4. hi bonnie - a great post. i'll dive in face first and say that i was thirty two years old when i woke up inside my life one morning with some profound physical and mental health problems. on the outside a well-functioning happy person. on the inside a knot. after medical interventions determined that my issues were psychological i was very fortunate to have the support of a therapist who saw me for a year and unpacked the "heritage" of a lifetime of being stuck in my family's knots. my moving on precipitated a complete life-change. then my family was also able to change. hmmmmm. have a peaceful day and thanks for this thoughtful posting. steven

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  5. I am only just realising how much I've limited myself in regard to my dreams. As a result, I've closed myself off to some great opportunities, because I've deemed myself unworthy.
    Trying to break free now, and hoping I haven't left it all too late.

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  6. wow...I'm stepping into larger shoes right now...thank you for the perfect post at the perfect time!

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  7. Luksky: Great, that's what it was intended to be. Glad you dropped by.

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  8. Delwyn: Yes, this is not always an easy task - but if we deny the callings of our psyche, it clamors for attention in ways that can be just as disruptive to our life.

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  9. Friko: Yes, we can never escape, nor would we want to, all influences that came before. However, must we be formed or ruled by what does not, or no longer fits? Are we truly exercising our right to determine the "how" of our life?

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  10. Steven: Thank YOU for being so open. I love how you describe what you did: "unpacked the heritage of a lifetime of being stuck in my family's knots . . .". And the possible side benefit, of paving the way for others in the family to do the same.

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  11. One Little Simitopian: From your heart's perspective, it is never too late. It is possible it is too late for certain goals. For example, if I wanted to be a ballerina, but did not give myself permission until it was not possible for my body . . . perhaps with my newfound permission I can "tweek" my dream, and find a way to work or play within the realm of dance - as a dresser, or in the offices of a dance company, etc. I may not be the ballerina, but I will be working within the realm of my original, now unattainable, dream.

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  12. For Socrates, the unexamined life was not worth living. In fact, at his trial, he was more willing to give up life itself than the right to examine it.

    The rest of us aren't faced with the same challenge, but too seldom exercise the freedom to just stop and think about our lives, our values, our goals our directions.

    We come here only once and to pass through life without giving it a thought, seems next to sacrilege. Not to mention, as you so rightly point out, burdening ourselves with unnecessary pain.

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  13. I_Am_Tulsa: Maybe we'll bump into each other today, as many of us shop for shoes that are not too small!!!

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  14. Barry: That's it . . . just a little reflection can help remove a lot of pain. It is very painful to walk in shoes too small (especially if they are high heels!!) as I can personally attest.

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  15. I think that this happens to many people and they don’t realize it. I have not had the problem but have seen it in my husband’s family where one of the parents was overpowering.

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  16. Bonnie, wonderful post!!! Yes I agree we do this so often. My parents had sadly both passed on by the time I was 32 and still their thoughts and expectations followed me. I was in my forties before my artwork broke free and began to fly. That I was able to stop hearing (listening) to those voices in my head.
    I was also the mental duck in the family..I repeated 2nd grade and was labled for years as the stupid one in the family. Uhmmm well..turns out I have normal smarts and found that when I went back to school in my 40's..other people thought so too - shock to me!!! So..truly it changed my life in huge ways. This is where the mental duck/mental swan thing came from - lol. Sarah

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  17. Very thought provoking. It worked a bit in reverse for me. I longed for less limits. I worked hard to fight against the confines and trappings of what I grew up with. I also married someone who doesn't allow me to slip into these patterns as often as I have a tendency to do so as of late, when I've grown more content. He still nudges me to stave off complacency which is a true gift these days. Great post :)

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  18. Bonnie, than you for another thought provoking post! I hope by now, at 39, I am finally walking in larger shoes, but it's a daily struggle! It's probably time to take a look at my values and see what's going on! I love your blog!

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  19. Vagabonde: It happens to us all. Not that this is about blaming our parents - it's just that we need to figure out what our path, what our calling is - separate from our parents beliefs, wounds, goals . . . it is called the "Hero's Journey" - and when we don't respond the psyche exacts its toll.

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  20. Sarah: Thanks for sharing a bit of your story. Imagine someone like you thinking for all those years that you were "less than . . .". I am so happy to hear that you figured out who you are, who you have always been, and what you are called to do. Bravo!

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  21. Vicky: So glad to hear it. That's one of the wonderful things partners can help us with - remembering who we really are.

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  22. JBeaudet: Yes, this is something we all should do from time to time . . . check our shoes!!

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  23. You've brought up something very near to me. I grew up in a family that told me I was never going to move beyond my place. Although I bridled at this, it was within me as I struggled to move forward, making the journey very difficult. I hold some of the same values as my parents, but some of those values I hold for different reasons.

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  24. Sandra: What an important point. When we do this work - we may very well retain the same values, but it will be for our reasons - a more conscious choice. Thank you.

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  25. Brilliant! It is great advice to reevaluate one's direction at least once a decade. Thanks!

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  26. Interesting points you have made here. I guess art has away of pushing is to test ourselves and helping us to find out if our shoes fit!

    Thanks for your visit!

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  27. Bonnie, Thanks for allowing me to visit. Your musings today strike a chord with me, as I've been thinking and worrying about someone very dear to me who has an addiction to alcohol and personal perfection and trying to be better than her parents told her she would. I see how her childhood still rules her psyche, and I am so saddened for her. Through an accident of birth alone much of her destiny was determined. Yes, I know we control our lives, but the past has a very strong hold.

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  28. I love that analogy Bonnie... living in shoes too small. :c) Indeed, we all have those subconscious beliefs that fully affect the choices we make for ourselves. I have to remind myself of my potential each day by looking at the paperweight in front of me... "what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

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  29. Karen: Such a good point. We cannot divest ourselves of our past, nor, usually, would we want to. But if all our actions are in opposition to our past, then as you say, we are still driven by it. Being oppositional is being reactive. We all need to step back make our own choices, rather than blindly repeat or react.

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  30. Jayne: Yes, hard to take risks, to leap, to run, when our shoes are too small.

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