Last week, I paused our conversation on the concept of coping mechanisms. Sarah was speaking about how our system doesn’t self-audit and self-update. She elaborated on this by noting if you don’t work with someone and do that work in your adult years, then you are basically applying a bunch of coping mechanisms that you used to navigate and survive elementary school, and you’re trying to apply that to your adult relationships and your adult business.
So let’s continue, by talking about coping mechanisms, I think a lot of times in the mental health world or coaching and therapy, coping mechanisms such as addiction get a lot of play. Coping strategies can be alcohol; it can be drugs; it can be gambling or sex. But there’s other, more subtle coping mechanisms that keep us stuck as well.
I asked Sarah to speak to that.
Sarah continues: I did a coaching call this morning where we identified a primary coping mechanism of apathy. This person is incredibly healthy, makes great money, loves their career, works out every morning, journals, sees a coach, is doing everything right. Until we start looking at okay, so let’s move into the next phase of your dreams. And we start talking about the fact that this person is incapable of daydreaming. Which is interesting, given that daydreaming is a phenomenal way to activate emotional content for manifestations.
And then we find out that based on stuff that happened when this person was three or four years old, their primary coping mechanism is apathy because the underlying survival meaning is there isn’t any point in getting excited about or invested in what you want. Because even if you get it, it’ll be taken away immediately.
So, while addiction gets most of the airtime, and most of the drama and all the exciting stuff, to be honest, based on who I’ve coached over the last few years, I would say apathy is probably just as damaging. Because if you can’t emotionally engage in what you want, you can’t bring it into this reality.
Sarah’s thoughts had me thinking about how we feed all these terrible thoughts and self-judgment. And in the moment of course, when you’re going through it, it seems completely logical. We can rationalize it, and we can make that real and argue on its behalf. We know, whether or not you’re as deep into the personal development world as Sarah and I are, that that voice is not you. And this concept is great in theory; how do you apply it in practice? How do we overcome the voices in our head, that are not are own, but look and feel like they are?
So before I pause a for this week, I want to share with you Sarah’s thoughts on this, as our point of reflection: I think understanding the biology of it helps. The way that I like to explain it, the way that gives me the clearest mental picture around it is if you recognize that the ego’s a protective layer, it kicks in when it’s first needed when you’re young. And it’s there to save you. It’s just that it’s operating off really out of date data.
The way I like to fixate on it is to say it’s a quirk of our biology. We have an ego the same way we have a liver. They both serve purposes, and they’re both related to our survival. And they both need to be handled with care. So the ego’s not going away. The ego dies many deaths in various forms. But it exists for a reason. The key is not to get all obsessive about trying to kill it off, which I see a lot of. But rather to recognize that it’s a quirk of your biology and it is not, repeat not, a business mentor.