I want to go to the ‘C’ side.
From reading Lindsey Agness’ book, I am learning so much about myself. So much of it rings true, it’s almost a little embarrassing to admit that I have been stuck in the same negative cycles as everyone else. She identifies two ways of living life – ‘at cause’ or ‘at effect’.
I’m definitely someone who lives life at effect. this type of person sees the problems in a situation, never the opportunity. We blame others for whatever happens to us. We call ourselves unlucky, victims of circumstance, disempowered, disenfranchised and buffeted by external events.
It is the language we use that is at fault too – we almost trick ourselves into believing that we are but mere passive receptacles of others’ whims, moods and behaviours. Agness gives the example of a patient that comes to her saying ‘he makes me sad’ – a comment which to the untrained ear may sound totally valid. Wrong. The NLP approach would be to ask ‘how is his behaviour causing you to choose to be sad?’ When it’s put like that, in terms that put the patient back at cause, it seems so obvious that yes, we do choose our emotions, we have power over our conscious minds.
I hardly dare read over my past diary entries, as I know what cringeworthy blame-placing I will find. I have been keeping a personal diary since I was thirteen and I think I have always to greater or lesser extent been of the opinion that it’s the rest of the world that’s the problem. Even as recently as a few months ago, I would blame my bad behaviour/ feelings/ moods on my partner, J or even on myself!
It was cold comfort (but a comfort nonetheless) to put it all down to my being f***ed up, being a bitch, being depressed. It’s incredible that I need to read a book to learn the error of my ways, to realise the simplest thing which is that I have choice in what I do and how I react to people and events. I’m not saying that I could have picked up this book when I was at my lowest and instantly have realised what I was doing wrong; god no. Times like that I actually was powerless. But with mental stability and moral support I realised recently I am ready. And promise to myself not to sink so low into the pit of despair where depression lies. The rot that had taken root and perpetuated over many years is being expunged, never to recrudesce.
People at cause empower themselves because they keep hold of the problem. They don’t give away the opportunity to find a solution by blaming others. Keeping the problem inside yourself means you along have the opportunity to find a solution.
The challenge set by Agness is to live at cause for a month. Take responsibility. Create situations and understand their purpose. Find out what there is to learn from each situation. There is no failure, only feedback. Instead of beating myself up every time I mess up or slip into my old ways, I should ask what I could do differently next time. If I am not sure what to do, I’ll just pretend – act ‘as if’.