The box you create for yourself

A while ago I started working with a lady in her mid fifties who believed she was a failure. Her mindset determined that if you are in your fifties and single, which she was, you are unsuccessful and to be really happy in life she needed to be with a man. While this was her underlying belief she had also concluded that when you got to her age all the good men were taken so the only ones left were duds. It was due to this thinking she resolved that she would continue to be a failure for the rest of her life.

Everything about this woman’s life justified her thinking, she’d see how society’s social settings were set up primarily for couples or she felt judged by those in her neighbourhood when they saw her doing ‘man’s work’ around her house. These thoughts were creating a life that was removing her from healthy activities and making her feel more isolated, which deepened her fundamental belief. It was pretty clear that the big shift in her life would come when she was able to change this thinking and start to live in a way that was about her developing herself in healthy ways. 

Over the following months we worked together and she started to make progress, gradually the idea that she needed a man to be happy was disappearing and she was creating a life where she was developing esteem and opening up to healthy activities that she had previously held herself back from. The shift was amazing to see.  

It was around this time we had a conversation where we talked about how her world saw her. Over the years she had constantly expressed to those around her how hard life was when you were single at her age, she had done this so much that it was defining her and it was the ‘go to’ conversation that people started when they caught up. It was like she had programmed the people in her life to ask her how hard life was when you are single in your fifties. 

While she was making progress and shifting her fundamental beliefs, her world still had it’s old programming. She would go out with friends and they would ask questions that would be directed towards her old limiting thoughts. Through our work together she realised that she had a job to do, she had to re-programme the way people saw her and create a new light for them to see her in. 

After working at this for a few weeks she told me how so many people started their conversations with asking her about the ‘being single’ problem. With the new-found awareness she would close that conversation down and direct it towards where she currently was, she was shifting how her world was seeing her. 

We often put people in boxes. There’s the ‘go to’ conversation starters that people use based on the box they have us in. Think about three people from different parts of your life, when you start a conversation with them do you often lead with similar topics based on this box? If we understand how people see us in a certain light it’s a good idea to think about what light this is, if they see you in a way you are happy with - great, but what if the light they see you in is in an area that reinforces things you don’t like about yourself?

If you have an area in your life that is holding you back you need to start working on it. Create steps that move you towards a healthier place, be aware of how your world is programmed around you and keep focused on improving that area. You can then start to re-programme your world, build a box that focuses on where you are heading and how you are getting there. 

Overcoming any big struggle in life can be tough, for this reason we want to do our best to remove things that make it harder for us. By consciously understanding the box your world puts you in and then gradually shifting that perspective - you are making it easier for yourself to get to your healthier place. 

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Bevan Eyles