Sunday, 27 September 2020

Cancel the Ten Causes of Needless Heartaches

I couldn't control whether someone gave me a job, but I focused on finding a way to be myself and do what I loved. I knew I could build confidence around that. BUILD CONFIDENCE, NOT EGO Here's the irony: If you've ever pretended you know something, you probably discovered that it often takes the same amount of energy to feign confidence and feed vanity as it takes to work, practice, and achieve true confidence. Humility allows you to see your own strengths and weaknesses clearly, so you can work, learn, and grow. Minna Ruckenstein's research suggests nursery-school-aged children know the former, but not the latter. The kids she studied all knew the total amount of money they had and were very keen to tell her, even though she didn't ask them. What they couldn't work out was how their cash converted into spending power. When one child said they had $200, the others all agreed that this was a lot, but none of them knew what that sum might buy. It is as children that we learn about the maths of money. There is evidence that a good conceptual grasp of maths leads to better financial management in adult life, and in the American study of families referred to above, children who were not good at maths were more likely to exhibit financial anxiety. By contrast, those who were best at calculation were more likely to donate to charity and to save for the future. It all means that just as parents should talk about money more with their children, so they should also encourage them to master maths. It will help their children grow into adults who know how to handle money more wisely and to have a healthier relationship with it. What it won't do is allow them to enjoy total control over money. This part did not ascribe to the misguided, negative beliefs of her family either. This part was just tired and wanted Kirby to give up--to rest. This part could acknowledge the progress, but it wasn't enough. It was always pointing out how far there was yet to go, and that in spite of all the progress life was still very difficult. Kirby described this part as a constant pain in the butt, and she found it very interesting that her cancer had originally shown up as a chronic, intense pain in her lower back.

I thought of this part as a brilliant attorney with an endless supply of evidence to support its argument--specifically seeking a death sentence. In short, this part of Kirby could really bring a party to a screeching halt. That is why Kirby named this part Party Pooper. Some days we just talked, going wherever the conversation would take us. Other days, Kirby would faithfully move from one chair to the other, inviting the conversation within her to play out. My mother has used these phrases for years, and I hear them over and over from the people I counsel. It never fails to amaze me. These expressions must always be interpreted because what narcissists say and what they mean are very different. Not only are the phrases meant to clue us in, but the inflections and tones are as well. The better you know your narcissist the more easily you can interpret what he says. His phrases are lost on strangers or those who have yet to catch on to his pathology. Following are some common examples: When narcissists say, I love you, it means one of three things: they have heard those words used by others and it seems to be an endearing way of manipulating you into loving them; When narcissists say, I never said that, it means that they are either trying to manipulate you, throw you off balance and make you feel crazy, or that you caught them in a lie and they don't want to admit that they said what they said. They play the role of the perpetual innocent. Confidence and high self-esteem help you accept yourself as you are, humble, imperfect, and striving. Let's not confuse an inflated ego with healthy self-esteem. The ego wants everyone to like you. High self-esteem is just fine if they don't. The ego thinks it knows everything.

Self-esteem thinks it can learn from anyone. The ego wants to prove itself. Self-esteem wants to express itself. The table above doesn't just show the difference between an inflated ego and a healthy self-worth. It can be used as a guide to grow your confidence. Mind over money is always a matter of degree. We've seen where our relationship with money starts. But where does it end? Money is more tied up with our thoughts about death than you might ever imagine. THE ANTI-DEATH DRUG Here's a statement: `I am very much afraid to die. Here's another: `The thought of death seldom enters my mind. If you were to take part in one of the experiments run by psychologist Tomasz Zaleskiewicz in the Polish capital Warsaw, a further ten questions measuring your anxiety about death would follow. But Zaleskiewicz is not really interested in your attitudes to death. He's interested in your attachment to money. Then one day (I don't even remember who caught on first), we got it. The lightbulb switched on above both of our heads. We had been missing a very significant point: both parts of Kirby wanted to live. Yes, essentially they wanted the exact same thing. The problem was not one of life or death.

The problem was that there existed in Kirby's consciousness two completely different definitions of life. That was a very productive day in class. Kirby felt a new hope with our discovery. After all, Kirby said, they say that accurately defining the problem is three-fourths of the solution, right? Right, I answered, certain that somebody must have said that somewhere, sometime. When narcissists say, I only want you to be happy, it means I only want me to be happy. If that means you remain miserable, so be it. When narcissists say, You are too sensitive it means that you won't tip toe on egg shells around them like they want you to, or you won't let them assault and abuse you the way they want to. When narcissists say, You never do anything for me it means that whatever you have done for them in the past doesn't count. What have you done for them today? When narcissists say, You aren't remembering correctly, it means that they like their version of the story better than yours because their version portrays them in a better light. When narcissists say, You have no respect for me it means they are angry because you have boundaries and won't let them abuse you. When narcissists say, Think about what you are doing to your family/children/parents, etc it means I want you to feel very guilty about what you are doing to me. When narcissists say, Look how much I have sacrificed for you it means I own you and I want you to feel guilty. When narcissists say, Why do you always bring up the past, it means that they can bring up your past anytime they want to, but you have no right to call them on anything they ever did. If you look closely, you will see that all of the self-awareness that we have been developing serves to build the interwoven qualities of humility and self-worth. Instead of worrying what people will say, we filter what people will say. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we cleanse our minds and look to improve ourselves. Instead of wanting to prove ourselves, we want to be ourselves, meaning we aren't distracted by external wants. We live with intention in our dharma.

Accumulating small wins builds confidence. Olympic swimming gold medalist Jessica Hardy says, My long-term goals are what I would consider to be my `dreams,' and my short-term goals are obtainable on a daily or monthly basis. I like to make my short-term goals something that makes me feel better and sets me up to better prepare for the long-term goals. TRY THIS: WRITE DOWN THE AREAS IN WHICH YOU REALLY WANT TO BE CONFIDENT Health, career, relationship--pick one of these three. Before he starts quizzing people on their mortality, he sets them an exercise. Half the participants are given a stack of banknotes to count, while the other half get a pile of pieces of paper of the same dimensions as the banknotes, with numbers printed on them. The task is the same for both groups: to add up all the numbers. The result: people who count the money are less afraid of death. This isn't what Victorian morality tales teach us, is it? In those stories, the old miser counting his piles of dusty coins is usually portrayed as wracked with mortal terror. It is the hero living in poverty who cares nothing for worldly goods who has no fear of the end. Hanging in the National Gallery in Washington, DC, there's a gruesome painting by Hieronymus Bosch in which a miser on his death bed reaches for a bag of gold proffered by a demon, even as death - in the form of a shrouded skeleton - appears at his door. Meanwhile an angel puts a hand on the miser's shoulder, hoping to lead him down the route to salvation instead. To the medieval mind, this painting was not suggesting that counting money was a way to ward off fear of death. If not, we had said it now. And we believed it. You see, the part of Kirby that so effectively represented death as the only good option was actually very spiritually oriented. This so-called Party Pooper not only did not fear death, but literally did not believe in death. Ironically, this part had developed from Kirby's years of meditation training and spiritual exploration.

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