THE TRAP OF TRYING TO PROVE

Panagiota Kontoléon • 16 June 2019
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Our society is rooted in the construct of what is right and wrong. 

I remember that the times my parents were arguing, it was a battle over who said what and who was right and who was wrong.  None of them was actively listening and in mundane battle of trying to be right and win an argument they damaged their relationship.  Our educational system is also based on the right and wrong answers and the right answers result in higher grades which then would result in a more successful life.  Consequently, we are socially conditioned to want to be right as the mere thought of being wrong or criticized is interpreted as being unworthy.  The irony here is that the more we depend on external validation the more unworthy we feel.

I spent most of my life trying to prove I am important, which was rooted in my mother’s focus of attention to my brother.  I am saying this with no bitterness at all at this point and I am hugely grateful for my parents and all that they taught me (the easy or the hard way).  But, as a child I was doing anything I could to prove to my mother that I was worthy of her attention.  For many years I was hooked to her approval, even when I was an adult and had my own family, LOL!

After 10 years of working with myself I realized that I had put myself in the precarious position of wanting to prove myself to others because my behavior was centered on living up to their expectations, demands and opinions, all of which had little to do with my interests and NEEDS.  Granted, in this process I acquired a lot of experience and learned skills otherwise I would not have learned, but I reached a point where I saw all that and then I needed to make a decision; live the rest of my life like that, or change course and do something completely different?  I chose the latter and now I am in a path with heart which inspires me and makes me smile every day.

Trying to prove is a trap! 

It is curious how furiously our thoughts defend their territory.  When we try to prove we are right, if we are not successful and we in the end are wrong, being wrong is socially conditioned to be linked to humiliation and failure.  Therefore, in order to avoid that we end up rationalizing our predicament and justifying our actions to keep our self-image intact.  The trap is exactly there: the more hooked we are to the external opinions and expectations, the more blind we become to our own abilities and strengths.  We waste all this energy to keep an ideal self-image while instead we could channel this energy to self-actualization and discovering our true calling.

The key for me to start moving away from trying to prove myself towards finding my true calling was first to start catching myself doing it and then asking myself “do I want to win an argument and be right or do I want to win self-respect and be joyous?”