DID A CAVEMAN KNOW WHAT HE LOOKED LIKE?

narcissusI have chosen to bare my soul a little and write about some of the conditioning I have had in my past that has led me personally to drink to excess. 

Before I get into this post, I just want to say that writing these next three blogs has been one of the hardest, soul bearing things I have ever had to do. Especially because I know so many people are going to read it. This really puts the spotlight on my psychological dysfunctionality (both past and present) but it is something that I need to get out. I’m doing this as a commitment to the process of this year and also as a commitment to myself. I have set the intention to not have any psychological conditioning holding me back by the end of this year, so I guess now is as good a time as any to purge that which is holding me back.

This series of posts is on some of the insane belief systems I have picked up over time, how they have came about and what I am going to do this next six months to change them. I want to own all the things that I believe are dysfunctional in my life, not from a place of a victim but from one of a seeker of freedom from them. I own and take responsibility for every aspect to my life – past, present and future.

I feel like, I’ve already got rid of about 50% of these belief systems over the past three years, but I hope that over the next six months I can begin a process of completely undoing the remnants that are still there. I’m doing this so that hopefully I can help other young people who also drink to escape the same shitty conditioning as I have had in the past.

Belief system #1 – The way I look is a measurement of my social value.

This belief system has plagued me for a long time. Between the ages of about 9 and 15 I was fat. Not obesely fat, but quite fat. In fact it was during this period that I picked up the nick name ‘Nugget’ which has stuck with me ever since (those that still call me that – please know that it is no longer offensive to me and I now like the name!).

But before I go into how I built a complex around that, I firstly want to share with you the kind of person I was as a child. From the age of 8, I was absolutely obsessed with tennis. It was my entire world. While the other kids from my home-town (Caloundra) were all into their Billabong and Rip Curl in the playground, there I ever was, in a Nike headband. If you have ever seen the Royal Tennenbaums.. I was that guy.

I was so obsessed with it that all through primary school, every single lunch hour was spent down on the tennis court, by myself, trying to hit one solitary brick as many times in a row as I could. Obsessed in a good way because I absolutely loved it. So at that age my weight, never really mattered to me at all. All I cared about was the next tennis tournament and my serving style. Simple. Then things changed dramatically.

In grade 9, I was severely, physically bullied by some older boys about my weight. Each week, my whole body would be covered in bruised from being punched, slapped and grabbed in the hallways of the dorms at school. Just for being fat. (In retrospect, I can see it was part of the horrible, cyclical nature violence often prevalent in boarding school – I don’t blame the perpetrators at all.) However, it was at that point in my life that I became cripplingly self-conscious. The way I looked to others began to matter greatly to me. I started to believe that because I looked a certain way, I then had lower social value. What’s worse is, I shut down emotionally and it was at this point that I started to live in my head, through the heads of others.

With that self-consciousness came this pedantic necessity to loose weight and in grade 10 I did everything I possibly could to get rid of it – including throwing up and running laps around the oval at midnight. Thus the belief system that I (and I presume many others) have carried to this day, was deeply entrenched in my every day existence. It became my reality.

Although I am no longer fat, I still am, to varying extents, greatly concerned by how I think other people think I look (even now in some way, I am trying to think about what you, the reader, are thinking of me for saying this stuff. It’s a trip!)  Even last night for example, I went to a party and I chose to stay outside talking to people out there because inside was really well lit and I was concerned that people would think less of me because they could see the couple of pimples that had broken out on my face. AAARGH! The truth is – I’m bloody sick of it controlling even the smallest part of my life and I’m going to remove it completely over the next 6 months.

As part of this belief system, I have also believed that looks actually mattered when attracting women. For all these years, I have thought that beautiful people had it easy, and that all the women that had selected me previously, selected me primarily on how I look, not for who I am. Well, that I have discovered over the past three weeks that this is F’N BULLSHIT!

Attraction, I have found, is all in the energy – the core essence of a person. And that essence is always coming through. I could be the ugliest person in the world, but if I believe that I am ‘the man’, I act like ‘the man’, I talk like ‘the man’ and the reality I believe is one in which I am ‘the man’, that is exactly who I am. The only way a typically beautiful person is successful at attraction is because their reality has been referenced time and time again by themselves and others, not because they were born with it.

So what do I need to do to build a new belief system that says ‘How I look has nothing to do with my social value’

      1)    Everyday, I’m going to dress how I want, when I want. 

      2)    Radically reset myself social/personal goals that I previously thought impossible because of the way I look, especially when it comes to women.

      3)    Immerse myself in books, audiotapes and workshops on how to create great energy.

      4)    Every time that self-conscious voice comes into my head that spirals me into this victim mode, I am going to scream out something to jolt it.

      5) I’m going to do what I want, when I want and throw myself and my identity into situations that I have previously been shit scared to be in. 

I’m really excited at the possibilities! If anyone else has any suggestions, or has some personal experience of ridding themselves of this social conditioning – I would love to hear your ideas!

9 thoughts on “DID A CAVEMAN KNOW WHAT HE LOOKED LIKE?

  1. It’s interesting to hear that men suffer this kind of self consciousness too. It’s well known and documented that women suffer from body image issues, but to hear a man confess it as well reminds me that it’s not JUST a women’s issue.

    I am a fat woman. Have been since puberty hit at 11. I’ve hated myself my whole life because of my looks, only to hit rock bottom as far as self esteem related issues are concerned. But with some excellent cognitive therapy, lots of support from some great friends and a hell of a lot of intestinal fortitude on my part, I’ve got past that and learnt that I am pretty awesome (though in no way perfect!) and that anyone can’t accept me for my fat but awesome status isn’t the kind of person I want in my life.

    Good on you for speaking up, digging deep and being brave. Love your work.

  2. Hi Chris
    Have been reading your blogs for sometime and really enjoy your growth as a writer. This last piece is especially poignant and is very like the speech you made in Year 12 that I felt was incredible brave considering you were only 16 and speaking to the very boys who caused your grief.
    I think your introspection and ability to analyze and verbalize your grief at being bullied and the consequence of this time is admirable and insightful but I am having a little difficulty with some of your conclusions/solutions.

    1) Everyday, I’m going to dress how I want, when I want.

    – Seriously, Chris, is this not a little petulant? How, now or ever, do you dress differently from how you want to dress– except perhaps when you wore a uniform at school. And on a personal level, I like uniforms in many situations. They are a great leveler, reducing the competition between the haves and the have nots, the satorially gifted and the not so.

    2) Radically reset myself social/personal goals that I previously thought impossible because of the way I look, especially when it comes to women.

    Perhaps a good idea is for all of us to review, on a regular basis, our social and personal views particularly those that are not working for us – but be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Are you addressing the same issue that you addressed more specifically in Point (4)? Then, yes, I agree those dysfunctional, aspects of your belief system should be GONE.

    3) Immerse myself in books, audiotapes and workshops on how to create great energy.

    Great idea – go for it. But do so with an open and questioning mind remembering that today’s dogma is often tomorrow’s bullshit. Try to see the point of view of the other even if only to discount it after careful reflection.

    4) Every time that self-conscious voice comes into my head that spirals me into this victim mode, I am going to scream out something to jolt it.

    Fantastic. I recall reading a saying somewhere – “This too will pass” – What a great philosophy. Unfortunately, I guess, it speaks to the good times as well as the bad times but often because of the bad times we really appreciate the good times.

    5) I’m going to do what I want, when I want and throw myself and my identity into situations that I have previously been shit scared to be in.

    Anarchy at last! Me too – drink more piss, do more drugs, turn up the volume, stuff the neighbours, wear a toga to work! Who care about the rules. Who cares about what anyone else thinks? Why not drink what you want to drink when you want to drink? Do what you want to do Yeah!
    Seriously, I wonder if what you are really saying is that you are going to take up challenges that you previously thought impossible – if so GO FOR IT.

    May I presume and add a few thoughts of my own – perhaps some things to think about. I think that you have certainly put your finger on something that should be addressed. We need to look at solutions long before the drinking starts.
    Bullying – an age old problem – happens across the board and is a very important issue to deal with. Often, sadly, the bully is the victim of a dysfunctional home environment. Unfortunately, in many cases nowadays, the family is not the place where guidance and moral attitudes can be presumed to be reliably instituted.
    Many families are fractured, disenfranchised and overwhelmed by circumstance and many parents are isolated and have had little guidance or mentoring in childrearing.
    Consequently it seems that the only place where you have a captive audience is within the school system and I believe that a considerable amount of funding and human resources (i.e. psychologists, behavioral therapists, meditation teachers, etc) should be allocated to both identifying young children with difficulties and personality traits that make them vulnerable and potentially aggressive or isolated and work to help strengthen their coping skills. It would be of great value to teach appropriate skills to ALL children so that we are not dealing with issues of violence, binge drinking, drug taking, self-harm at stage in life when these young people can see no reason to change their behaviour. Matt Sanders at the University of Queensland may be a person who could speak with more authority on these issues. I believe there are schools in Brisbane where programs have successfully been instituted to start to deal with bullying. Would there be an opportunity for you to talk with these forward thinkers about their methods of addressing this problem.
    I would like to throw one last comment into the mix. Contrary to your final solution, I believe that boundaries and self discipline are important principles to aid in child development.
    I think that in these troubled times, National Service is an option that should be considered seriously. Oops – heresy from a child of the sixties – but I am typical of our baby boomer generation, it is all about us and we can and do change our belief system radically to suit our new purpose.
    Certainly I am not advocating war but, on the other hand, I do not underestimate the importance of our defense force. I would suggest two streams of National Service – Military and Civil. Each individual (both male and female) could be given the choice of two years in either stream. There is so much that can be done to help people at home or abroad in a peaceful civil service.
    And of course the clever, lateral thinkers who manage to escape the tyrany of these two years of “Nasho” – well perhaps they will be your new leaders!

    1. Haha – I love that song!

      You are right, especially about ‘today’s dogma..’ I think its good to try a few different paths but know that there is no one better path!

      Thank you for the comments, some really good ideas!

  3. Hey…

    I don’t know what your name is or who you are… But it’s so amazing to have come accross this post of Yours. I have been working thriugh a lot of Stuff in my Life, with the Grace of God… And everytime I think I’m sorted out, new rhings will come to the surface. My story almost sounds the same, with a few details being changed. In my case, I started becoming obsessed with myself. I recently started gyming & lost about 15kg… Enough to make me look in the mirror more often. I started to build muscle, even more reason to love myself. I came to a Breaking Point where God gave me a Scripture in the Bible which states that man will be the Lover of Himself. I didn’t change my routine and jabit until tecentlt. Something happened where I had to speak to my Fiance… She was so supportive. I’m just thankful for her Grace as well. I’m still Gyming and Continue my lifestyle as alwaus, but with the new Revelation, i’m in Love with God all over Again. Practical things that I’m doing at this stage is that I took out the mirror in my room and try to avoid my Reflection… I’m feeling so much more confident & actually get my approval from God, not myself! The Victory is Awesome!

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