It’s Not Your Mother’s Fault
Vol. I Issue #1
This is the first is a series of columns that will appear on Alan’s Blog about the self-limiting beliefs we consciously and unconsciously allow to undermine our lives and success. I will reproduce this elsewhere, but the original columns will begin their lives here on contrarianconsulting.com.
Think of Cher in “Moonstruck” slapping Nicholas Cage twice, shouting, “Get over it!” or Bob Newhart in his famous skit as a therapist advising his patient, “Stop it!”
We spend inordinate amounts of money on problematic therapy sessions trying to eradicate “baggage” that we believe is affecting our ability to perform, to maintain relationships, to deal effectively with life’s vicissitudes. But we might as well hire an exorcist. (I asked the then-president of the American Psychological Association, who was on my advisory board at a former company, why there was such a high incidence of suicide among psychologists. “Because,” he replied without hesitation, “we attract many troubled people who are trying to work out their own issues.”)
In other words, their mothers were also wreaking havoc with them.
But it’s not your mother’s fault.
My observations of successful people and struggling people feature this omnipresent distinction: Successful people help themselves. They are not professional victims; they don’t present themselves as hopelessly entrapped by their nurturing; they create positive change for themselves.
Some people can stop smoking, some can’t. Some people can lose weight, some can’t. Some people comfortably address audiences, some can’t. Some people can control their nerves and fears, some can’t. The distinction isn’t in one’s DNA, or toilet training, or being part of a village to raise the child. (It takes loving parents or even a single parent to raise a child, not a village or other municipality.)
The distinction is in one’s self-discipline, organization, and resolve; in one’s self-accountability. Support systems are wonderful, as are loving families, but the primary support system is between your ears. To claim that you were scarred early, or can’t work in certain environments, or need special attention to get by, is usually just an excuse not to change, grow, or mature. You might as well say, “The devil makes me do it.”
Once you reach adulthood, with a basic education, an ability to examine the environment around you, and the advantage of witnessing what works for others (hard work, learning new skills, forging relationships, etc.), you should be able to “get over it” and “stop” whatever it is that’s impeding you. If others have, you can. If you don’t and won’t, then you have only yourself to blame.
It’s not your mother’s fault.
© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.