Escaping the Prison of Painful Negative Programming


I’ve often said, and I very often hear my clients say, “I have too much to do! I can’t do it all!”

Think about the feelings those two statements project, not to mention the negative message. How motivating is that? Bottom line, you’ve failed before you even started and you might as well lock yourself up for life, because “I can’t” statements do just that. Certain thoughts and beliefs are just like a life sentence with no retrial.

Refuse to say “I can’t” and replace the statement with, “Maybe I can!”

Many people think they’re the only one who is experiencing problems. They think they’re all alone. They often think there is something “wrong with them” or that “nobody cares” about them. They often are afraid to allow others to see who they really are, because if they did, they would not be liked, or they would be an outcast. This is “The Big Lie.”

At the root of most conflict, most illness, most personal and environmental destruction, even social injustice, is the manifestation of the mindset that you are unable to do what you want to do because there is something wrong with you or with others. Thinking that we are separate from each other, we focus inward, and the self sets up standards of who we should be and who we are not – seldom who we really are and what we “can do.” And then when we fall short, being afraid to be who we really are, the shame, guilt, sometimes blame and problematic thinking takes shape. This ill-shaped and, at times, unforgiving attitude can shatter the spirit and stifle even the most talented of individuals.

You are not your thoughts. However, you become the thoughts that you focus on and give your emotional attention to. That is why thoughts become your reality, and rule your life. Make sure your reality is the one you want.

Appreciating life
For most people, life is full of so much to do that they wonder if they are even enjoying their experiences to appreciate life. Many people I know, who are either entrepreneurs, business owners or ambitious professionals, are chasing around from one obligation to another with a ton of responsibilities they imagine they “have to” do. This overloads a busy brain already in overdrive, overwhelmed with self-doubt, thinking there is never enough time to get everything done. Then the shaping of negative self-talk begins. Before you know it you’re feeling bad and incapable all the time.

Certainly there is good reason for feeling this way, having to take care of a home, run a business or manage a career, and care for children, grand kids or elderly parents each week. Making time for a social life or personal interests can seem impossible.

And how on earth is a person supposed to pay attention to stress reduction, healthy eating or exercising when you barely have time to sleep?

It’s easy to see how things can pile up, especially if you have a busy mind that keeps on creating, thinking, going! Eventually, you can feel like a stressed-out slave to your desires.

People can be prisoners of their own concepts, choices and ideas. We’re all prisoners, in one way or another; whether it’s self-sabotaging habits like craving addictive drugs, food, sugar, alcohol, money, power, technology, religion, and anything else that can hold you captive in its temptations, lies and false promises. Whether we admit it or not, we all need to be set free from the things that trap us! That is the battle that stands before all of us.

Our giftedness
From childhood to our teenage years, when we trust that what other people say is true, we seek an emotional outlet from feeling bad. Sometimes parents deemed us lazy, or teachers told us we are not smart, and our peers maybe rejected us for not fitting in or measuring up. We spend so much time trying to be accepted, to please, to be successful, that we become stuck in a rut as enough-aholics and should-aholics. We never quite got to know our true self. We never allowed our self to understand and accept our deep inner desires and authenticity. Sometimes it takes us many years before we realize how unique and gifted we truly are.

An African proverb states that “It’s not what you call me but what I answer to that matters.”

There are no limitations of the self other than those you believe in.

Yet, the more you worry about all the tasks and feel overwhelmed, the worse it gets. And then you want to run or just become paralyzed, right? And worse yet, you can get sick like I did years ago. I was losing my vision, driving off the road because stress was causing my equilibrium to be off. Some days I struggled to get up out of bed, exhausted before I even did a thing.

Self-sabotage cycle
The biggest problem with a busy brain is that all the tasks are shouting, “Pick me! Pick me!” And they are all demanding our attention at the same time. This is a cycle for some; anxiety leads to depression, to fears, to a lack of confidence and self-esteem, to being unproductive, and that leads to a life that is no longer fulfilling. And before you know it, you’re consumed with negative programming that I call “stinkin’ thinkin” and the self-sabotaging self-talk sucks the energy and motivation right out of you.

It’s no wonder people with busy minds are distracted, tired and overwhelmed. Their thoughts have developed into a destructive pattern, a prison, and they have no idea that it has happened; most are clueless of the extent to which it rules their beliefs and affects their body and behavior.

If you’re in this stressed-out rut, you might need help beyond this one tip, yet I’m sure it will still be a beneficial place to start.

“Things that matter most, must never be at the mercy of things that matter the least.” ~ Goethe

Just because it’s a good idea, it doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to take action on. Ideas, innovation and dreaming are limitless. Yet, if you have too many broad exciting goals, few goals ever get fully completed and your potential is choked out of your plans.

Know your priorities, your dreams and desires, and do all you can to assure that what you really, really, really want, becomes a reality. You can leave life to chance or direct it in a methodical method toward the pathway of your highest self and ideals.

All you need to do is pick one goal and take one step at a time. Soon, and maybe sooner than you think, you will be living a life you truly love.

As Lao-tzu, the 6th Century B.C. Chinese philosopher, famously said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Listen to “Edge Empowering You” hosted by Lori Bestler at 6 p.m. Central on the third Thursday of each month, July 19, by calling 1.714.364.4750 or go to Listen to all archives at



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