06.10.13 Truth & Wisdom
BY M. Juliana
Throughout my life I’ve dealt with a lot: cheating boyfriends, an alcoholic parent, friends who’ve stabbed me in the back, I’ve been stolen from, and I’ve been lied about. After going through all of those experiences, I had one question.
Why do people do the things that they do?
This has been the impetus for my work, and what I’ve found to be true is that it’s never about the people on the receiving end of pain and sorrow. We’ve all heard the cheesy saying, hurting people hurt people. As played out as it is, it’s true.
How many times have you found yourself guilty of, or been witness to someone, doing something that made absolutely no logical sense? Like the spouse that has a happy marriage cheating on his, or her, partner. Or the person that’s making a great income is also embezzling from their employer.
People that seemingly have it all together do things that have these explosive repercussions attached. Why would they do that?
You Just Might Have an Upper Limit Problem
As Gay Hendricks suggests in The Big Leap, they have an Upper Limit Problem. An Upper Limit Problem is essentially when someone has met their self-prescribed limit of happiness, money, love, success, etc. Most of us have acquired a ceiling for our expectations over the course of our lives. Even though our logical mind says we want something, say a happy romantic relationship, our subconscious beliefs are what determine if we allow ourselves to have it.
Let’s say you grew up in a household where you’re parents are married, but you never saw them be affectionate with each other. You rarely saw them happy together. Logically, you know that’s not what you want in your version of a happy relationship, but in your subconscious mind you’ve got a belief system that says relationships lack affection due to witnessing your parents’ relationship as a child.
Now as an adult, you notice that you have trouble being intimate with your partner. As badly as you may want a very close, affectionate relationship with your partner, you act in contradictory ways. It leads to fighting, and perhaps other communication problems…..then, the eventual end of the relationship. You’re left wondering what the heck happened! You really cared for this person and wanted it to work.
That’s just one example of how we can act out in self-sabotage, not knowing that we are re-enacting our parents’ relationship because that’s our subconscious barometer for happiness. It’s our Upper Limit Problem.
When we are in situations that exceed our upper limit, we then act out to make our reality conform to our expectations and engineer circumstances to bring us back to the comfort zone our subconscious has imposed on us. So, how do you know if you’re doing that? If what you want is in conflict with what you’re actually experiencing, and you’ve noticed a pattern in your experiences, then you have an Upper Limit Problem.
If you recognize yourself doing this, here are a few things you can do to break through your Upper Limit Problem:
Talk About It.
Admitting to yourself that you’re acting in self-sabotaging ways can be a very empowering moment in your life. But so is sharing that with the people closest to you. If your behavior includes harming yourself in any way, it’s a definite must to share it with someone you trust. And, if your behavior is affecting someone else, it’s really important to begin healthy communication with them. Letting them in on your Upper Limit Problem can be the beginning of a brand new, and much more fulfilling experience for everyone involved. Not to mention, they can call you out when they recognize you’re sabotaging yourself.
Create A Plan of Alternate Behavior.
Now that you’re aware you’re acting in response to an Upper Limit Problem, you can design an alternate behavior- a behavior that supports what you want. Using my previous example of someone that has issues being affectionate in relationships, you could decide to ‘practice’ being affectionate. I like to guide my clients to visualize their new behavior, and when they feel comfortable, they introduce it into their real life.
Get Professional Help.
With certain forms of self-sabotage it is necessary to get help overcoming your Upper Limit Problem. This would include anything involving violence, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and other forms of addiction. You might want to seek professional help in other instances as well. If using your willpower is not your strong suit, you may want to look into traditional therapy, or alternative therapies, such as hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming.
No matter what you choose to do, know that your life circumstances are within your power to change, and improve. You don’t have to continue to hurt the people you love, or allow yourself to be on the receiving end.