"What Runs Your Life?"

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What Runs Your Life?
by Fred Zurofsky

Most people run their lives out of the experiences and decisions from their past. They can only make decisions based on what they know so the way their lives unfold is just "more of the same!" This condition and way of operating has its' impact on marriages.

A lot of what upsets you today has nothing to do with that event, but what the event reminds you of. You may not even be consciously aware of what is really upsetting you and you may even ask yourself "what's going on? Why did I act so strongly?

Let me explain. You may have been chased down by what appeared to be a huge dog when you were 4 or 6 years old. He was barking and coming at you and you were really scared. So even today as an adult, your body and emotions may respond to a barking dog even though you know intellectually that the dog is not going to attack you.

A more serious situation is about those people who were abused as children. As terrible as that experience was, most of them grow up to be child abusers themselves. Perhaps as a young girl, you had an upsetting experience with an older male that left its' mark on you and effects your adult male relationships in a way that you're not aware of.

Most young boys fall into one of two camps; Bully or Bullied. There seems to be no way of escaping this scenario and there are probably 10 - 20 boys bullied to every bully. I know from my own experience as a bullied boy that it's scary. You're afraid that if you tell someone, the bully will just get even so you "suck it up." I have no knowledge or sense of how these experiences have impacted my life except to know that they have.

Some boys survive the experience and others become afraid to speak out and express themselves. So it's not the bullying event so much as it is about your reactions and the decisions you made regarding what the event meant that have shaped your life.

If you dig deep enough and hard enough, you may find a number of "former similars" that had an impact on your personality and character. I say "former similars" because you may see the same event/response in your relationship with you husband. You may find that your husband is not the real "bad guy" you made him out to be.

A Personal Inventory Project
I was involved with a personal development workshop that spanned 11 months. Part of this workshop was to create a year by year autobiography of my life. One page per year with a listing of the principle people in your life during that year and anything that happened in that "Originating Circle." If you could find pictures for each year, they should be glued on the page.

The beauty of this project was that I was forced to emotionally place myself back into each year and relive it again. It was difficult to remember the specifics of some years so I had to ask parents, siblings and relatives for particulars so I could write them on the page for that year.

The end result was that I had a complete record of what happened to me as I was growing up. I uncovered many things that were always there but not so I could see their effect on me.

One particular event that had a huge impact on the way my life developed was being dropped by a good, trusted family friend who was teaching me to swim at the age of 4. As I slipped under the water which was filling and burning my nose, I remember saying to myself that I would "never trust adults again." This was a nice guy and a good family friend but none the less, "not to be trusted!" I knew it was an accident and didn't really blame him but it did have an impact on my ability to trust others.

I had created the autobiography (story) of my life from which I could learn more about what makes me tick.

As I looked back over my life, I could now see how that the decision not to trust played a roll in my relationships and even what people were telling me to believe.

What's running your life? Do you know? Want to try and find out so you can be freed up to more fully express yourself? Then get out a 3" ring binder, re-enforced, lined filler paper, a pen and a glue stick. You should buy a package (two or three as needed) of numbered dividers, one for each year.

This autobiography is principally for your eyes only, but can shared it with others if it can help them in understanding you.

Create each page in the same format. List the year, your age and the principle people in your life that year. Mom, Dad, brother(s), sister(s), aunts, uncles, grand parents and anyone you were in contact with on a regular basis. Attach any photos you can obtain of yourself or family members. Whether you're aware of it or not, these people had an impact on your life.

Then starting with the earliest year where you can remember any specific events, start to write what you can remember initially about the way life was for you. As you write, more and more memories will come to the surface.

I found that I had a lot to write about so I did this initial writing on separate pages and then summarized them to the page in my autobiography for that year. I found there was much I wanted to discover about myself and the events that helped to shape my emotional development and reactions and things that helped me form my values.

So much was uncovered and I had a clearer view of what makes me tick. What events and situations cause me to act and be the way I am today. For example. Because there was an older, "fair haired" first born brother, he was the beneficiary of all the new things that came into the family. I was "second best" when it came to new things and got mostly hand-me-downs. To me this was very unfair. For the longest time in my life, I played out the, "it isn't fair" routine and would rail against most situations, even those that did not effect me personally, that I considered to be unfair.

I wasn't wrong, but when I finally came to appreciate the distinction that "the world's not fair," I could move off of my reactions to events and just let things be and tend to getting what I wanted for my life. Undistinguished, I still might be wasting time and energy trying to right wrongs. I'm not wasting my energy on things I can't change anymore.

Once you distinguish and acknowledge a force or event that you sense or know is impacting you, you're in a position to be able to manage and handle your automatic reactions to it. This is the first step in furthering the development of your personality and character. You could spend $1,000's at a psychiatrist and get similar results. Undistinguished, there's no chance for change.

So do this exercise for fun and to help you understand how you got this way. Use separate pages for each year and as many work pages for each year as needed.

If you get stuck on any year, move on. Sometimes by doing a different year, your mind will be stimulated and deliver more details for nearby years. Keep adding to the work pages and summarize them in the autobiography only when you feel a page is complete. HINT: Leave a little space on each page for late additions.

About the author
Fred Zurofsky is an author and internet business strategist. He writes ebooks covering topics ranging from investing strategies, self help, personal transformation and internet business development at his soon to be launched web site: www.divorce-survival.com

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