I had mentioned that I would chronicle some of my experiences with counseling using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Process). Although my counselor has decided to use a modified method, not focused on eye movement rather tapping pencils, it seems the process is similar. The objective, transform a negative emotion/experience into a positive emotion/experience. In other words, an event that stimulated certain negative thoughts is now reprogrammed to emit positive emotions. Of course, that’s more than I have any qualification to speak to, but it gives you some sense.
For me, my main issue translates to getting my self-worth or self esteem from what others think of me rather from what I think about myself. That has always been difficult for me. I suspect I know the reasons why, but that is not as important as knowing the problem so that it can be addressed appropriately. For example, it was really difficult for me to do “anything right” when I was growing up. Even though I did some things, a lot of things well, it never seemed to be good enough to gain the acknowledgment of my step father. What I did well were things that held no interest for him, the areas that he had interest in were areas in which I did not excel. So there was always tension.
A good deal of that translated to my work life. When I did well, it seemed that it was always shadowed by doubt and the feeling that I’m going to get canned tomorrow because what I did today was not good enough. The result of that was always pushing myself to the maximum each day and I pushed those who worked for me as well. Fact of the matter is, you can’t perform at that level everyday. Not only that, even in non-work areas I found myself second guessing and shying away from activities or projects that I felt I could not do perfectly. Fearing what others would think if I did not perform perfectly. Consequently, well I don’t need to tell you the “consequently.”
Now I’m not certain tapping pencils on the backside of my hand will transform all of this magically. But it is giving me a glimpse of what I may need to do in order to transform the image of self and balance that with a sense of self-less.
On the Jesus Creed blog, there was a short discussion of “the end times” and how we approach that topic from various points of view. The topic started with a letter from a fellow blogger who had grown up in a fairly conservative environment where “fear” was the pivot point of understanding eschatology. It’s a nice discussion with some good resources listed.
Fear is a silly motivator. Yet, it’s one of the most common motivators in many churches. You’ve heard…”Where would you go if you died today?” “If Jesus came back today, would you be ready?” “Would you hear ‘Well done good and faithful servant’ or ‘depart from me I never knew you'” And on and on it goes. Now I’m not a big fan of fear motivation. Some of the reason was indicated in Part 1. But also, there is a silliness that goes with fear motivation. Once the fear subsides, whatever it was motivating us to do subsides. Whether its our role as followers/learners of Christ or the chance of his second coming, wanting to do the right thing is more important than fearing what happens if we do the wrong thing.
It’s true, there is some value in fear. It can keep us alive in some circumstances. However, it is not a pure motivator and one that Jesus seldom, if ever used. True, he was matter-of-fact about circumstances, as those he described to his intimate followers in Matthew 10. However, his primary motivator was love and acceptance. Honest love and unconditional acceptance.
Father, let me seek your love and respond accordingly. Allow me to shun those who would seek to motivate me beyond anything but love. Help me to see my worth as created in your image and live to fulfill that with integrity.