THE LOVELY YOUNG MAN

young man 2

A lovely young man
came to see me.
A good looking
young man,
28 years old,
with a good job,
and his own flat.
I was
a mentor
in a
mental health charity.
HE WAS TROUBLED.

depression

Recently, his
ANXIETIES
had spiralled into
DEPRESSION.
He didn’t understand
what was wrong.
He’d always found
relationships
difficult, he said,
even with family.
But lately his friendships
had become increasingly
strained.
Then his girlfriend
had left him
and now he was
on medication.

help_pills_c
He said,

“It isn’t that life is hard, it’s that I FIND LIFE HARD!
And I don’t know why”.

Early on
In our sessions
I asked him
a question –

WHAT IS YOUR BOTTOM LINE?

I explained
I wasn’t talking about
the Visible Panty Line
that expensive underwear adverts
promise to eradicate.

NO!

In this instance –

The BOTTOM LINE is the description of yourself that you believe to be 100%
TRUE.

It is indicated in how
you complete the sentence –
I AM…….
when no one is listening.
When its
just you
in
quiet solitude,
being brutally honest
with yourself.

who am i

The lovely young man
thought about it
a while,
then
admitted to me
his
BOTTOM LINE
was
I AM … NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
I AM … TO BLAME.

Peoples underlying beliefs about themselves will always impact their thinking and then their behaviour.

I explained this to him and that his BOTTOM LINE was influencing everything in his life, including his relationships, and that only when he changed his beliefs about himself would “living life” become easier for him.

“But how do I do THAT?” He gasped

I said,
“It is possible.
I know because I have done it,
and I will show you how”.

I told him –
Your BOTTOM LINE is a label you wear.
A label you have allowed to define you because you believe it to be true.

So we talked about labels and how we acquire them.
How when we come into this world our label is blank –
blank labels
we have no opinion of who we are – not good or bad.
And that the opinion we will eventually have of ourselves,
our BOTTOM LINE,
will develop over time –
AS OTHER PEOPLE WRITE ON OUR LABEL.

handwriting

What people write on a child’s label varies.
It depends on the environment in which they are raised.

A healthy environment label will most likely say –
“you are lovable,
interesting,
fun to be with,
and you can do anything you put your mind to”

An unhealthy environment label will most likely say –
“you are a nuisance,
stupid,
in the way,
and you will never amount to anything.”

dysfunctional

Yes, it’s a genetic lottery.
We have no say about
the families
we are born into.
And the kids in
unhealthy families
have an
uphill battle.
But even kids
in nurturing families
are spoken to
carelessly
or unkindly
at times.

NO ONE IS IMMUNE.

I explained that children have what child psychologist’s call
CONCRETE THINKING.
This means that children (up to 14 or15) take personally everything that is said to them,
and believe it to be FACT.

They don’t have the capacity, as adults do, to take into consideration the
circumstances or the mood of the person speaking.
Adults can differentiate between the truth and an opinion.
They know that an opinion is often rooted in some issue that the person voicing it is having, and can, therefore, disregard it.

Children can’t do that.
To a child
ugly things aren’t said because –

“mum is having a bad day”,

mum pulling her hair out

or “dad has money worries and is short-tempered”.

finances

NO

To a child –
Ugly things are said
Because
THEY ARE TRUE.

BUT,
I explained to him
WHAT IS ACTUALLY TRUE
is that the ugly things
that are said to us
as children
are NOT facts
but
OPINIONS.

OPINIONS VOICED OUT OF ISSUES THAT THE PERSON SPEAKING IS HAVING AT THE TIME.

The lovely young man
suddenly
straightened up
in his chair.
There was a
light in his eyes.
He had heard
something
that
resonated.

He recounted that one night
when he was
seven years old
he’d been put to bed
by his mother.
She then went downstairs
and soon he could hear
her and his father arguing
in the lounge below his bedroom.

bth_couple-fighting_zpsaf14a3e4

This was nothing new – they argued quite a lot.
But this one escalated
to such decibels
and went on for so long
that he became alarmed –
and then frightened.
He crept downstairs in his pyjamas
and stood in the hall next to the
closed living room door.
SUDDENLY
his mother burst out of the room.
She saw him,
pointed her finger at him
and said,

pointing

“ITS YOUR FAULT I’M STUCK IN THIS GOD-AWFUL MARRIAGE.
IF IT WASN’T FOR YOU I COULD LEAVE AND HAVE A BETTER LIFE.
ITS YOUR FAULT I’M STUCK HERE AND UNHAPPY”

She then stormed upstairs
leaving him standing alone
UNDER THE WEIGHT OF HER WORDS.

The lovely young man
then told me
that from that moment on
he felt responsible
for his mother’s
happiness.
He tried hard
to be good,
to be funny,
to be there
for her.
And felt guilty
when she was unhappy.
It was his fault.
SHE HAD SAID SO.

He said that with every relationship that mattered to him from then on
he felt he had to make sure the other person was always alright.
Their happiness
was his responsibility.
It was a joke at first.
They teased him a bit,
said he should “chill”.
He tried to stop
trying so hard.
But lately things only got worse.
And one by one
his friends fell away.
Then his girlfriend
said she felt smothered
and walked away too.

girlfreind leaving

“BUT IF WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS TRUE” he said excitedly,
“Then my mother wasn’t speaking A FACT ABOUT ME! Was she?
She was just VOICING AN OPINION out of the anger she was feeling!”

He took a deep breath as the reality sank in,

“And so THE TRUTH IS “ he continued,
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for other people’s happiness – am I !!”

I smiled, and said, “THAT’S RIGHT”.

And he smiled too.

smile

Over the weeks we worked on erasing the opinions he had worn as the truth.
He gradually wrote his own label.
Redefining himself
and learning to
live his life FREE from
THE WEIGHT OF HIS MOTHER’S WORDS.

It wasn’t easy,
but with hard work
and perseverance
he began
breaking the habits
of thinking
and behaviour
that had caused
him to
“find life hard.”

The lovely young man,
a couple of years
after our sessions had ended,
spotted me in a restaurant.
He came over.
He was smiling.
He told me how well his life was going
Then took me to his table
and introduced me to his girlfriend.

I must say –
they both looked
VERY HAPPY INDEED.

_smitten__couple_in_love_figurative__figurative__08959ab3929e456a74457a4d6210735a

Have any of the labels you have been given created problems for you?

If you look back with an adults eye can you see that most likely they were not facts but opinions?

what are some of the opinions you have believed to be facts?

I will discuss in more depth some of the techniques for working yourself free from damaging opinions in my next post.

Do you have any questions you would like me to try and answer?

I would be happy to give it my best shot !

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5 Responses to “THE LOVELY YOUNG MAN”

  1. I had a great childhood, but still have to work through some little things that were repeated to me over and over again. In my early 20s I moved from my country and have travelled a lot since and have found out a lot about myself and it has allowed me to change who I am through practice and meeting new and amazing people. Nice post!

    • thank you – it would appear that no matter how wonderful it might have been – no one comes through a childhood unscathed – and thats ok cos we are strengthened as we grow and become insightful about ourselves and others.
      Its only the disney channel that makes us think life is a playpen where we get to play with Pluto all day lol

  2. He sounds so much like me. I keep battling with words that were said to me in the past and the effect they’ve had in my life. I struggle so much to free my mind of some of the negative thoughts and emotions. I am excitedly awaiting your follow up post.

    • I think its true of all us to different degrees – I work in mental health and give workshops and trainings in building self-esteem, anxiety management etc.
      I do it because its my own journey and you know what they call those of us who go into mental health work who have had issues ourselves – experts by experience !!!!
      Now I dont know about the expert bit lol – but experience – yes!
      we all have a tape that plays in our head – now lovers give each others (or used to) mixed tapes of all their favourite tunes – but there are those in our past who have – unintentionally or otherwise – given us a mixed tape of all the negative things they have said
      A lover’s tape will eventually wear out from over use BUT that negative tape just seems to play on and on and never wears out.
      we hear it in our heads at the most inopportune times and it tries to shut us down at the happiest of times.
      It can be managed though, turned down and ignored.
      takes time
      takes effort and practice
      but eventually it will be as easy to ignore as elevator music.
      I will definitely begin to share how in my next post.
      you are soooo not alone in this.
      It is possible, in time, to hear only the music you want to play!!!!

  3. An inspiring read. So glad the young man was able to create his own label with your help.

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